Brief Biography of
Vahakn N. Dadrian

Revised January 2006


Vahakn N. Dadrian received his undergraduate and graduate education in Europe at the University of Berlin (mathematics), the University of Vienna (history) and the University of Zürich (international law). His training in the United States was in the social sciences, culminating with a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago.

Vahakn N. Dadrian received his undergraduate education in Europe at the University of Berlin (mathematics), the University of Vienna (history) and the University of Zürich (international law). He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago.

His academic background includes affiliations with Harvard University as a Research Fellow, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Guest Professor and Duke University as a Visiting Professor.

In the last twenty years he has lectured extensively in French, English and German in such European institutions as the Free University of Berlin and the Universities of Munich, Parma, Torino, Zürich, Uppsala, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Bochum, Münster, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Geneva, Brussels and UNESCO’s Paris center.
Professor Dadrian was the first Armenian scholar invited in 1995 to the British Parliament, House of Commons, to deliver a lecture commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. In 1998, in a special ceremony, he was inducted into the ranks of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. At the same time, he was decorated by that republic’s president with the Khorenatzi Medal, Armenia’s highest cultural award.

His groundbreaking research has been supported by two large grants from the National Science Foundation, resulting in the publication of two separate monographs by the Yale Journal of International Law.

One of them is a legal analysis of the Armenian genocide from the perspective of international law; the other, published in 1998, examines within the same perspective the comparative aspects of the Armenian and Jewish cases of genocide.

Following a series of specifically arranged lectures in Armenia in April 2005 commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Prof. Dadrian was declared Honorary Professor by four universities in Armenia. Additionally, he received three gold medals, one of which was presented by the Rector of Yerevan State University, and the other by the President of Yerevan’s Law School—both of them being the highest awards of these institutions.

In the United States, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, during its Sixth Biennial Conference, June 4-7, 2005, bestowed on him its Lifetime Achievement Award—the first ever granted. In May 2005, he was chosen as a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

After serving as Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York from 1970 to 1991, Professor Dadrian shifted his academic career to conducting research full-time on the Armenian genocide. For several years he was engaged as Director of a large Genocide Study Project sponsored by the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation. The project’s first major achievement was the publication, now in its seventh printing, of an extensive volume titled The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus (Oxford & Providence, RI, 1995). This work has appeared in French (Paris, 2nd printing), in Italian (Rome), in Russian (Moscow), and in Greek (Athens). Professor Dadrian’s other major work, German Responsibility in the Armenian Genocide: A Review of Historical Evidence of German Complicity, was published in 1996 (Cambridge, MA) and is now in its third edition. His third book, Warrant for Genocide: The Key Elements of the Turko-Armenian Conflict, appeared in 1999 (London and New Brunswick, NJ). His latest work is entitled Key Elements of the Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide (Cambridge, MA, 1999).

Professor Dadrian currently is Director of Genocide Research at the Zoryan Institute.

“In the 1970s, Vahakn N. Dadrian helped to create the field of the Comparative Study of Genocide, bringing to his work an interdisciplinary perspective that joined sociology, history and law, enriched further by his ability to draw upon half a dozen languages. He is also the foremost scholar of the Armenian Genocide, having devoted more than 30 years to research on virtually every aspect of it.

“The culmination of his work is the book published in 1995 on The History of the Armenian Genocide. It is a rare work, over 20 years in the making, that is at once fascinating to read, comprehensive in scope, and unsurpassed in the documentation of the events it describes.”

Roger W. Smith
Professor of Government
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia