Top 5 Famous Armenians

Top 5 Famous Armenians

As Armenia celebrates 24 years of independence, take a look at notable Armenians in the diaspora.

On September 21, 11 million Armenians around the world celebrated Armenian independence day. Situated in the Caucasus region, flanked by Turkey to the west and Azerbaijan to the east, Armenia is a tiny nation with a lengthy history dating back to biblical times — according to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s Ark finally rested on Mount Ararat, the national symbol of Armenia currently located in Turkey. After 600 years of nearly continuous foreign occupation, beginning with the Ottomans in the early 16th century, the Republic of Armenia was finally established in 1991, upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

One of the unique anomalies about the country is the fact that it is home to only a third of the world’s Armenians. That leaves 8 million scattered around the globe, many of whom were forced to leave the region as a result of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Like countless other diaspora communities, Armenians have left their mark in their adoptive homes. In honor of 24 years of independence, I’ve compiled a list of famous Armenians you might not have known were Armenian.

1. Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)

Born near Tiflis, Georgia, Aram Khachaturian became one of the most popular and successful composers to emerge from the Soviet Union. A contemporary of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, he was influenced by traditional Armenian folk music, incorporating oriental elements into his pieces. He is best known for his scores to the ballets Gayaneh and Spartacus, the former which features the famous “Sabre Dance.”

2. Raymond Damadian (1936-present)

The next time you have to undergo an MRI scan (which hopefully is not anytime soon!), you have Armenian-American physician Raymond Damadian to thank. He first performed the procedure in 1977, in order to diagnose cancer in a human being. Damadian was the recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Prize’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, as “the man who invented the MRI scanner.” He was also recognized by the Franklin Institute here in Philadelphia, where he received the Bower Award in Business Leadership.

3. System of a Down

All four of this Grammy Awarding-winning rock band’s members - Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian, John Dolmayan - are descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors. Three of System’s five studio albums have debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and they have been nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning “Best Hard Rock Performance” in 2006 for their song “BYOB.” Earlier this year, System embarked on their “Wake Up the Souls” tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and raise awareness about ongoing genocides worldwide.

4. Charles Aznavour (1924-present)

The French-Armenian singer, affectionately known as France’s very own Frank Sinatra, has written over 1200 songs, sung in eight languages, and sold over 180 million records. He was named “Entertainer of the Century” in 1998 by CNN and readers of Time Online, a title he won against the likes of Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. At 91, he is still going strong, involving himself in French, Armenian, and international politics. He was named French ambassador-at-large to Armenia, and, in 2009, Aznavour agreed to hold the office of Ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland.

5. Andre Agassi (1970-present)

“The Punisher.” Eight-time Grand Slam champion. 1996 Olympic gold medalist. All of these describe retired professional tennis player Andre Agassi, the man the BBC identified as “perhaps the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history.” Agassi, who is of Armenian heritage on his father’s side, was one of the most dominant players on the court from the early-1990’s to the mid-2000’s. Nowadays, he focuses his energy on providing educational opportunities and activities to at-risk children in southern Nevada through the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, founded in 1994.

*6. Kardashian Family (Special Mention)

America’s “royal family.” I don’t think this one needs any explanation. As much as it pains me to associate the Kardashians with the likes of Khachaturian and Damadian, this family has been instrumental in raising awareness about Armenia and Armenian issues among the American public. From Kim and Khloe’s trip to Armenia in April — which premiered this week on E! — to their tweets every April commemorating the Armenian Genocide, the Kardashians have managed, if nothing else, to educate their fans (and critics) about a country which does not get enough media coverage.

Cover Image Credit: City.1-Themes

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Things To Do When You're So Bored All You Want To Do Is Cry

Do something artsy


Everyone has times when they have nothing to do and boredom strikes way too hard. From experience, I have found some top things to do when you literally have nothing else to do!

1. Clean

Not super fun, but will keep you busy.

2. Netflix

Find a new show to binge watch. Watched them all? Rewatch something you haven't seen in a while!

3. Shopping

Retail therapy can always keep you busy.

4. Make a home cooked meal

Spend some time in the kitchen and make something yummy! Even invite some friends.

5. Visit friends/ family

Pop in on some people you care about that you haven't seen in a while!

6. Write

Writing is something we all do and is a great way to express ourselves!

7. Exercise

Hit the gym or go for walk, do something to keep you nice and fit.

8. Volunteer

Go to an animal shelter, food bank, museums, or anywhere in your area that needs help.

9. Look for a job

If you're bored, maybe getting a part time job will keep you a little occupied. Plus it's extra money in your pocket.

10. Draw/ do something artsy

Even if you think you're a bad artist, drawing is something fun to do! You'll get better in time.

11. Join an Odyssey Team!

Writing articles through the Odyssey is an amazing experience and can always keep you busy!

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