Garnik S. Asatrian was born on the 7th of March 1953 in Tehran. His family repatriated to Armenia in 1967, where he graduated (1976) from the Faculty of Oriental Studies (Department of Kurdology), Yerevan State University. From 1976 to 1980 he was a Doctoral Student at the Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, USSR Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg. In this period, he studied Pre-Islamic Iranian languages, culture and history, predominantly having focused on Middle Iranian texts (Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian), under the guidance of such prominent scholars as Prof. Anahit Perikhanian, Prof. Vladimir Livshits, Prof. Igor Dyakonov, Prof. Mohammad Dandamaev and others. From 1980 to 1983 he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the same Institute.
His PhD dissertation on “Verbal Nouns in Middle Iranian” was defended at the Oriental Faculty of St. Petersburg State University (1984), and the habilitation dissertation on “Armenian and New Iranian Languages (Kurdish, Zaza, Classical Persian)”, at the Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (1991). After returning to Yerevan he was the Head of the Dept. of Oriental Philology, Institute of Oriental Studies, Armenian National Academy of Sciences (1984-1989) and simultaneously taught at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Yerevan State University, where he later headed the Department of Iranian Studies (till 2014). Since 2015, he is Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian-Armenian (State) University (RAU), Yerevan.
Garnik Asatrian founded several academic periodicals on Oriental Studies, including “Acta Kurdica: International Journal of Kurdish & Iranian Studies” (Curzon Press: London, 1994) and the multidisciplinary journal “Iran and the Caucasus” (Brill: Leiden-Boston), the academic annual “Caucaso-Caspica: Transactions of the Institute of Oriental Studies, RAU” (2015), as well as the monograph series “Yerevan Oriental Series” (2010). Among Asatrian’s other initiatives are the foundation of the Caucasian Centre for Iranian Studies, Yerevan (1996) and Institute of the Autochthonous Peoples of the Caucasian-Caspian region, Yerevan (2014).
His main research interests cover Iranian Comparative Linguistics, Iranian Dialectology, Iranian Etymology, Kurdology, Middle Iranian Texts, Iranian Folk Culture, Religions, Ethnic History, Armeno-Iranica, ethno-political and ethno-demographical regional developments, etc. He is the author of numerous works on the ethnic history, language and culture of the Kurds, Bakhtiaries, Lurs, Zorosatrians of Yazd, Talishis, Yezidis, etc., as well as on Persian Etymology and Iranian historical linguistics, Armeno-Iranica, etc.