Gulbenkian Biographer to Speak at Columbia, Watertown


WATERTOWN — Author Jonathan Conlin will present his newly published biography of Calouste Gulbenkian, Mr. Five Per Cent: The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, the World’s Richest Man, in talks on April 10, at 7 p.m. at Columbia University (venue to be announced) and on April 11 at the AGBU New England Center, 247 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown, at 7.30 p.m.

The Columbia program, titled “Calouste Gulbenkian: Nowhere Man,” is co-sponsored by Columbia University Armenian Center, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.  The Watertown talk, “Calouste Gulbenkian and the ‘Basturma Problem,’” is presented by NAASR with the co-sponsorship of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Published to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, Mr. Five Per Cent reveals Gulbenkian’s complex and many-sided life. Written with full access to the Gulbenkian Foundation’s archives, as well as many other archives in multiple languages around the world, this is the fascinating story of the man who more than anyone else helped shape the modern oil industry.

Conlin was born in New York and later moved to Britain, where he studied history at Oxford. He went on to do graduate work at the Courtauld Institute and Cambridge. Since his appointment to the University of Southampton in 2006, he has taught courses on a wide range of topics, from the moral philosophy of Adam Smith through the history of cemeteries to the impact of evolution on Victorian society. He regularly comments on museums, heritage and television history for History Today, Museums Journal and R4’s “Today” program.

Both events are free and open to the public.

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