Living On

Armen is heavily missed. His absence left a hole in independent observation of the political and economic risk situation in Latin America. Beyond the merely analytical though his work was wide-ranging from Armenian philanthropy and social observation of Latin and European lifestyles through to being a "fly on the wall" at the Cannes Film Festival every year and reporting back on the more exotic foibles of the international jet-set.

We miss his wit, his sense of history and his bon mots (in French, Armenian and, even, Turkish). Armen was very much a product of the Levant but then, like so many other Levantines, converted to an international stage where they offer insight into all around them. This record tries to humbly accumulate his collected writings for public consumption so they can be preserved and appreciated for the urgency of the moment in which they were written to the timelessness of the observations.

How best to categorise the uncategorisable? Maybe Armen could be described as an Armenian/Anglo/Franco Samuel Pepys for our times.....

It is ironic that ultimately it was the very mediocrity and self-satisfaction of the Chilean "system", which he documented so thoroughly, that brought about his tragic end.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Armen in Detail

Armen Kouyoumdjian graduated in 1970 from the Sorbonne in Paris where he read Applied Statistics. In 1971, he joined the European Research Department of Vickers da Costa & Co. Ltd, a London brokerage firm (subsequently absorbed into Citicorp), and was promoted to European Research manager in 1974.

In November 1976 he moved to the International Mexican Bank, a London-established institution owned at that time by a number of Mexican and international banks (now totally absorbed into the Banamex-Accival /Citicorp Group), carrying out merchant banking operations in Central and South America. His responsibilities as Resident Economist and Assistant Managing Director included advising the bank on Country Risk and developing new business opportunities.

In February 1991, he moved to Chile. From then onwards he advised financial institutions, business corporations, and diplomatic missions on Chilean & Latin American Country Risk, the Business Environment and Financial Markets. He also writes for specialist business publications in several countries, and his first book, Perspectives Chili, in French, was published in Paris by Le Monde in June 2002.

From 1982 onwards, Armen Kouyoumdjian was European Chairman of the Washington-based Association of Political Risk Analysts (APRA), and subsequently set-up its European successor in London (the Association for Political Risk Management), which was merged into the Society of Business Economists in 1991.

Armen was fluent in English, French and Spanish, also having a good working knowledge of spoken and written Arabic, and spoken Armenian. He was a member of London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, Britain's Institute of Directors, the International Consulting Economists' Association, and the Society of Latin American Studies. He was Economic Adviser to the Chilean-Mexican Integration Chamber in Santiago and lectured on Latin America at Chile's Catholic University and the Navy's Maritime University.