BELMONT, Mass. — Arman Manoukian always dreamed about being a diplomat as a child in Soviet Armenia. He achieved that dream, and recently made another one come true – making fresh lavash, the famous Armenian flatbread, available in the Boston area. In 2023, his family bakery, called House of Lavash, in the Boston suburb of Belmont (on Cushing Avenue), opened to the public at the end of March.
From Diplomacy to Business
Manoukian graduated from Yerevan State University and came to Boston University to obtain his master’s degree in international relations from 1993 to 1995. His first job was with USAID (United States Agency for International Development) in Washington, but after two years, he went back to his newly independent homeland to contribute to the development of its foreign service. He worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2000 in charge of security cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States, Europe, the United States and other countries.
He said that he was trying to get Armenian more integrated into NATO, but the country was not ready for that. Secondly, he wanted to increase his income, he said, and he realized that if he stayed there longer switching to other work might become more difficult. He found an opportunity at Marriott, which had a hotel in Yerevan, as director of sales and marketing, and he embraced this, enjoying working with people.
Manoukian by now was married with two young children, aged two and four, and said that he worried that Armenia’s development was not going in the way it should. He wanted his children also to get an American education while they were still young, so he returned to the United States. He said, “I continued what I was doing in Armenia in terms of sales and marketing and was with the Marriott company after moving here initially.” He switched to car sales, and after that, opened his own company, another dream of his, which provided furniture restoration.
Lavash Is the One