PARIS — In 2018, the first edition of Little Armenias was published in French. It’s like a Lonely Planet travel guide book, but for the Armenian Diaspora. One by one, the book presents the Armenian communities in 101 countries, including their history, geography, as well as fun facts. To prepare for one’s trip, readers also can find information about every single Armenian place (churches, cultural centers, restaurants, markets, etc.). It’s exhaustive, every place is in it, and it’s up-to-date, thanks to a large network of collaborators. Also, because the author has visited most of the places himself.
The French edition was presented in more than 20 Armenian cultural centers in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada. After a meeting with the author in Lisbon in 2019, the Director of the Armenian Communities Department at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Dr. Razmik Panossian, suggested to have the book available in English too. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation offered its generous assistance to translate and publish Little Armenias in English. Entirely updated for the 2020 edition, the book is now available in English and a book tour in Europe and the USA will be organized soon.
The mission of the Armenian Communities Department is to create a viable future for the Armenian people in which its culture and language are preserved and valued. Little Armenias is a tool. It can be used to learn about Armenians in other countries, but more than anything, it’s a tool to value our presence in the diaspora with a tourism approach. Our neighborhoods, our monuments, our sub-cultures, our territories all over the world are part of Armenia. Our diaspora is also our land, and it can be visited, as any other travel destination.
Robin Koulaksezian is a French Armenian traveler born in Paris. He graduated from Sorbonne University and ESSEC Business School, and worked for the French government. He notably lived in Syria and Russia, and speaks 8 languages. After visiting more than a hundred countries and collecting information from hundreds of locals, he decided to publish a travel guide dedicated to the Armenian Diaspora.