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About the Director

Jesse Siragan Arlen was appointed Interim Director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center in February 2021. Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was raised in San Luis Obispo, California. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011, earning a B.A. in Linguistics, summa cum laude, where he took Western Armenian classes for two years with Dr. Hagop Gulludjian.

Thereafter, he moved to the midwest for four years, where he undertook his initial graduate studies and began attending Armenian churches. He and his wife, Meghan (née Hazlett), were received into the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church on March 15, 2013 at St. James Armenian Church in Evanston, IL. He earned an M.A. in Historical Theology from Wheaton College (Illinois) in 2013 and an M.A. in Early Christian Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 2015.

He then returned to UCLA, where he is currently completing a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages & Cultures with a focus in Armenian studies, writing his dissertation, entitled “A Window into the Tenth Century: The Life and Literary Works of Anania of Narek,” under the supervision of Prof. S. Peter Cowe. He has been a recipient of the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund Fellowship from 2018–2021 and has taught Classical Armenian at the Dumbarton Oaks/HMML summer language program to doctoral students and early career scholars.

He has also taught contemporary Western Armenian literature and led creative writing workshops at the immersive Zarmanazan summer language program in France, as well as elementary language classes at St. James Armenian Church in Los Angeles. 

Jesse Arlen’s academic research pertains to literature and intellectual history, with attention to education, asceticism, and mysticism in Eastern Christianity and Islam. His studies have appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Viator, Manuscripta, Hugoye, and the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, and he has contributed chapters to several edited volumes.

Jesse Arlen is also a writer of poetry and creative and critical prose in Western Armenian. His works have appeared in literary journals both in Armenia and the Diaspora, such as Inknagir, Hayeren Blog, and Pakine. 

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