SOAR - Zurich Chapter

Switzerland became part of the SOAR family in September 2013. The first Armenian families settled in Switzerland at the end of the 19th century, fleeing persecution of Sultan Abdul Hamid in the Ottoman Empire. They settled mainly in French-speaking Switzerland. During and immediately after the Armenian Genocide of 1915, other refugees arrived. In the 1920s, Pastor Kraft Bonnard created an orphanage in Begnins where more than 200 orphans and genocide survivors found refuge. After finishing their studies, some remained permanently in Switzerland.

At the end of the Second World War, the community in Switzerland reached approximately 300 people. Since then, the number has continued to grow. The situations in the Middle East, in the former Soviet Union, and in independent Armenia have encouraged many Armenians to immigrate to the West. It is estimated that approximately 5,000 Armenians live in Switzerland today.

The majority of Swiss Armenians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, under the jurisdiction of the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. There are four church regions: Geneva, Zurich, Neuchatel and Lugano. The Saint Hagop Church in Troinex serves mainly the West of the country, while Armenians living in the East conduct their religious services in a number of sister Swiss churches. There are also a smaller number of Armenian Catholics belonging and even a smaller number of Armenian Evangelicals.


Anahit Torosyan

Anahit was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia. She graduated from Yerevan State University as a physicist and did her Master and PhD in the same university with a specialization in biophysics. During her PhD she was a visiting scientist in Leipzig and Osnabrueck Universities, where she was involved in different scientific projects and interdisciplinary collaborations.

From 2016 Anahit is settled in Zurich, Switzerland. Here she worked at ETH Zurich as a postdoctoral researcher in the field of NMR spectroscopy.

Anahit enjoys the curiosity to explore and find solutions to life’s challenges. With an analytical focus and a team minded positive attitude, she is used to multitasking from teaching over conducting experiments to project planning and management with a clear sense for responsibility.

Anahit speaks Armenian, Russian, English and German.

Dr. Nvart Najarian Magdassian

Dr. Nvart Najarian Magdassian was born in Yerevan and raised in Beirut in a ‘mixed’ Armenian family; therefore, she is fluent in both Western and Eastern Armenian.

After schooling in Beirut Dr. N Magdassian received her Primary Medical Qualification from Yerevan State Medical University and continued her specialization in Clinical Oncology in London. She received a Masters’ Degree in Cancer Research from Cancer Institute of University College London. Dr. N. Magdassian gathered her clinical experience in clinical oncology, hematology and tried her hand in transplantational medicine in Kings’ College London and Cambridge University Hospitals before settling in Zürich Switzerland, where she lives and works currently with her family.

Outside of work, Nvart enjoys theatre, books, art and music. She is a keen skier and likes hiking. She is fluent in Armenian, English, German, conversational Russian, French and Arabic.