Kuwaiti Armenian School recovers from the latest war in the region

Kuwaiti Armenian School recovers from the latest war in the region

Azad-Hye, Dubai, 26 May 2006: After the formation of the United Arab Republic in Egypt and Syria (1958), many Armenians emigrated to the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina and elsewhere. Some of them arrived in Kuwait, then a desert Emirate, with limited modern comforts.

In 1961 priest Barouyr Sarkissian settled down in Kuwait City and served the community for more than thirty years, including 9 years as a Principal of the Armenian School (1961-1970).

The Kuwaiti Armenian community was originally formed by bachelors who were employed in light industries, auto repair shops, electronics, services etc. Eventually they got married and brought to Kuwait their brides from their countries of origin (Syria, Lebanon, Iran, etc.).

As their children reached schooling age, the need for learning the Armenian language, history and religion led to the establishment of a school in the late 1960's.

The new premises of the school was inaugurated in 1972, during the tenure of Principal Manuel Charshafian (1972-1978).

Since then the number of the Armenians in Kuwait expanded and reached a peak of 10000 in the mid 1980's. The number of students enrolled in the Armenian School scored a record 700 pupils. High School section (Jemaran) was introduced, enabling graduates to get enrolled in University studies worldwide. Today the school covers the whole range from kindergarten to the 12th grade.

Asadour Boghosian has been Principal during two different terms (1978-1983) and (2000-2004).

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq caused damage to the State of Kuwait and the Armenian Community. Fortunately the invasion took place in August (1990), during which many Armenian families were already outside the country and did not directly suffer the consequences of the invasion. Only 500 Armenians remained in Kuwait during the six months of the Iraqi invasion, many fled the country through the Saudi border.

After the restoration of national authority in Kuwait, many Armenians returned to their positions in Kuwait, yet a considerable number continued living in new places. The returned ones were compensated by the Kuwaiti government (through special arrangement with the United Nations) with monthly salaries that covered the complete period of invasion.

The present day Principal is Dr. Manoug Manougian, a graduate of Karen Jeppe Armenian High School (Aleppo, 1983) and Dentistry Faculty (Yerevan, 1990). Dr. Manougian gave us the latest statistics concerning the school.

The number of the students in the 2005-2006 school-year has been 373. The breakdown is as follows:

94 students in the Kindergarten
135 students in the Elementary level (1-5 grades)
88 students in the Intermediate level (6-9 grades)
56 students in the Secondary level (10-12 grades)

The number of students just two years ago was 324. Therefore we can say that there is an increase of about 15%. This figure is very close to the 1999-2000 school-year (before the latest war in the region), when the number of students was 376.

Dr. Manougian gave us also the overall number of the educational and auxiliary staff as follows:

Educational staff (teachers): 37 (26 Armenians)
Administrative staff: 4 (all Armenians)
Auxiliary staff (drivers, caretakers, etc.): 10 (3 Armenians)
Total number: 51 (33 Armenians)

The number of the Armenians in Kuwait, according to Dr. Manougian is no more than 3300. More than 70% are Syrian-Armenians and the rest are from Lebanon and other countries. Lebanese Armenians are mainly from Ainjar (Mousalertsi).

Until 1990 (the year of the Iraqi invasion), the percentage of the Iranian Armenians was 30%, but almost all of them emigrated later to Western countries. Currently many Syrian-Armenians use the so-called Armenian passport for Diaspora (special residency status), which is easier for obtaining Kuwaiti residency visa.

The number of graduates from the Secondary level (Jemaran) is 381, although thousands of students have attended the school during different periods of time. The mobile status of the families living in Kuwait has contributed to the fluctuation of the figures.

Azad-Hye had also the opportunity to meet with the newly appointed Deputy Principal Peggy Tokmakjian (graduate of Aleppo College and English Literature Department in the University of Aleppo 1990, former Principal of “Accad” Computer Science Center in Aleppo, Syria). She briefed us on the educational aspects of the Armenian School in Kuwait.

See complete set of photos of the Armenian School in Kuwait here: http://www.azad-hye.net/photos/viewalbumpicture.asp?al=qhsdtrnshy111376a

Below photo is from the 1970's


  1. I happened to bump into your website today and was very glad to find some articles about Armenians in Kuwait.

    I too graduated from the Armenian School in Kuwait some 14 years ago and still have some vivid memories of those wonderful years at school. 

    I very much liked the old class picture from the 70's at the bottom of the article. Which reminds me of a website i once visited of the Melkonian School in Cyprus, where former students send in pictures from their time at school class pictures, graduation pictures, etc. and these are then chronologically listed year wise on the site.

    So I wonder if this could be done here too? A nice site anyways. Keep on the good job. I'll try to visit you guys every now and then to see what's new down there 😕

  2. A friend forwarded your newsletter to me.  I'm glad she did.  I too graduated from The Armenian School in Kuwait.  More specifically, the class of 1984 — the first official graduating class from the Armenian School in Kuwait.  The picture you featured from the 70s was of my class-mates and I, so you imagine my surprise seeing the picture on the web.  This brings fond memories that I will always cherish.  Thank you for posting the article and the pictures.  Keep up the great work.

  3. Nora Soghomonian March 6, 2007, 4:11 pm

    I attended the Armenian School of Kuwait up to the sixth grade.  I have fond memories of Father Barouyr Sarkissian who was not only our religious studies teacher but also our parish priest. A lovely trip down memory lane.  Thank you for publishing the photos.  

  4. Rita Armoudjian March 7, 2007, 10:57 am

    I am very glad to see photo picture from our old school, please post more picturs from year 1986 graduated students, or can I scan it to you?

    We graduated before four years of war in kuwait.

    Thanks a lot

    Rita Kasparian from Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)

  5. Keghouhie (Jamileh) Mouradian April 5, 2007, 8:46 pm

    What a beautiful picture. I was looking for my classroom picture for years and suddenly I saw my classroom picture on the site. Thank you so much for bringing back good memories to us through this picture. I still remember the Kuwait's Armenian community as the most friendly community and I will never forget  Der Barouyr, and baron Kapriel Taslakian. Please keep us updated with our school's news and old pictures. 


    Keghouhie Mouradian Zakarian

  6. I was cruising online tonight and did a search on Google “armenian school in kuwait” and this site poped up, as I started to read thru this news page and was scrolling down, I saw the only pic in here and it happens to be my class in 1974 or 75 if am correct. It was a backflash for a moment! khayel yeghah meg vargian -:)

    From Los Angeles California , Hrayr Khodanian

  7. I was trying to pull up a picture of our Armenian school in Kuwait and I stumbled upon this site. I had no idea that such a forum existed. What a great idea.

    I left Kuwait in 1980. I was in the 10th grade. We did everything in that school. We played, studied, participated in boy scouts and the list goes on and on.

    Throughout the years I have lost touch with most of my classmates. However, I still have lasting memories of them and the school.

    If anybody is out there from that era, please e-mail me here.   

  8. I was surprised when I first heard that there is Armenian minority in Kuwait from an Armenian friend of mine here in Australia, whose father migrated from Kuwait post the Iraqi invasion. I did a little research and found this website.

    Frankly, I am saddened by the fact that many have left Kuwait and there are only 4000 Armenians left in Kuwait.

    But anyway, Kuwait & Armenia friends forever.

  9. Nerses Boyadjian October 4, 2010, 12:30 am

    This morning (October 4, 2010), an unprecedented event took place in Encino, California. A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Armenian School in Kuwait. And there were so many memories rekindled, so many eyes with tears. What an experience! Hope I can get hold of some of the pictures, to send it to this site for an upload. Dear Panos, do you have a picture of the other class? I think this picture you posted is the fourth level class but the second division (4b), I was in 4a. If you post that one, too, would add a tremendous value. Congratulations on this remarkable endeavor. Nerses Boyadjian Pasadena, California

  10. ara arzoumanian April 19, 2011, 9:12 am

    Wow. I can't believe this but here I'm sitting on a computer in Australia googling Armenian school in Kuwait I couldn't believe my eyes. I got goose bump from seeing my picture in the school poster. I wish if I could bring back time. I miss my school friends. I left the country just couple of years before the Iraqi invasion. I really don't know if I was lucky or unlucky to leave Kuwait then but one thing I know: the kids (school friends) that I was brought up with back then there were the ones that I miss the most.


  11. raffi kouyoumgian May 20, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Շատ շնորհակալ եմ այս գեղեցիկ նկարը մեզի յիշեցնողներուն: Զիս հեռու տարաւ յիշեցնելով Քուէյթի հայ ազգային վարժարանէն ներս իմ մանկութիւնը եւ դասարաններէն ներս անցուցած օրերս իմ ընկերներուս հետ: Կը խնդրեմ իմ մանկութեան ընկերներէս հետս կապուին եթէ կարելի է: 

    Ռաֆֆի Գույումճեան (է-հասցէ)

    Shad shenorhagalem as kekhetsig negare mezi hishetsnokhneren. Zis heru darav  hishetsenelov Kuweyti hay azkayin varjaranen ners im mangutyune yev tasaraneren ners antsutsatz oreres im engernerus hed. Ge khentrem im mangutyan engerneres hedes gabvin yete gareli e.                      

  12. Catherina Gharibian August 10, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Hello to my Dear school, school friends, good teachers, staff and priest,

    When I wanted to read about the history of the Armenian school in Kuwait and see some photos, I saw your website. I read the articles written by old students and really became happy, because I was a student of that school too.

    Exciting site and a great idea to gather old students of that school and their old memories .

    You put a very beautiful picture from our old school.

    I left Kuwait in 1990 after the war, now I am in Iran. I was in the 8th grade and prepared myself to inter “jemaran” but unfortunately the war  changed everything and separated us.

    Studied there from kindergarten to the 8th grade. I was a girl scout for 4-5 years and participated in “Giragnoria”?

    I still have good memories from my friends, school, “kermes”, which makes me fill I?m still in Kuwait, in my school with my classmates playing, studying, singing, doing crazy things, drawing and ? and passing good days.

    Good old days, I miss my school friends, I wish if I could bring back good moments, your good website done this for me.

    Please put more pictures from our graduations ceremonies (tsaghig, 8th & 12th grades) and …, if it is possible from every year or put from that group photo the school used to take from us every year in the school yard, from the years 1980 till 1990, like the one you put from the past, if there is other website with these photos please inform me.

    I want to see my photo with my classmates in your website and all the students once where from that school.


    Catherina Gharibian


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