Working Paper

CREID Working Paper 21

The Preservation of the Heritage of the Armenian Community in Kurdistan, Iraq Intergenerationally

Published on 6 February 2023

This topic is significant because it considers the language of an ethno-religious group, the Armenian people, in Iraq with non-Arab or Kurdish origins. The Armenian people did not originate from Iraq but from Armenia, one of the smaller countries in the former Soviet Union. Many Armenians were forced to migrate in 1915 to different countries in the Middle East due to ethnic cleansing under the Ottomans. This study explores the different methods by which the Armenian community has maintained its native Armenian language during its history in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

To this end, the study includes a comparison of how the language was viewed and maintained across two successive generations of Armenians in KRI. The findings show that the first generation is divided into those who speak Armenian and those who assimilated and speak Kurdish. Those who no longer speak Armenian prioritised integration and moved away from their mother tongue. This posed a threat to the ongoing maintenance of the language in these communities. However, the younger generation has worked to revive its mother tongue by learning it in schools established in the region approximately 20 years ago.

Cite this publication

Mahdi, J.M.M. and Kerob, Y.A. (2023) The Preservation of the Heritage of the Armenian Community in Kurdistan, Iraq, Intergenerationally, CREID Working Paper 21, Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies DOI: 10.19088/CREID.2023.003

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