United Arab Emirates
As early as the 16th century, Armenian merchants were the main organizers of trade between the East and the West in the Gulf region. Armenians have recently settled in the United Arab Emirates in the 1960s predominantly as migrant workers, emigrating from Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Armenia, Russia, countries throughout Europe, the United States and Canada.
The flow of Armenians to the UAE gradually increased, and since the 1980s have developed characteristic features. Initially, two Armenian communities were established in the UAE: Sharjah - Dubai (more than 80% of the population lived in the UAE) and Abu Dhabi (20%). Currently, a number of Armenians also live in the Northern Emirates (al-Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Quwain).
Today, the number of Armenians living in the UAE is estimated to be around 8,000 -10,000 people, the vast majority of whom hold high-ranking positions in various institutions. About 10% of Armenians are businessmen and private traders. There are also architects, economists, high-tech specialists, doctors, and teachers. Despite not being able to acquire citizenship Armenians in UAE are considered by the state to be a religious community (al-jaliya al-armaniya). Acting within the framework of the historical national constitution, the community is represented and governed by the religious authority within the state. The supreme and legislative body of the community is the diocesan assembly, and the executive bodies are the national departments formed locally.
Armenian organizations in UAE currently include the Abu Dhabi National Board, Dubai and the Northern Emirates National Division, the ARS, the AGBU, and the UAE Regional Division of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Association.
There are two churches in the UAE: St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Sharjah (1998) and the Holy Martyrs Church in Abu Dhabi (2012), which are under the jurisdiction of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia. There are also followers of the Armenian Catholic and Armenian Evangelical Churches. As they do not have their own churches, they mainly visit the Armenian Apostolic Church.
There are two Sunday schools in the community: the Sharjah Ohanesian Day School and the Ara Khanoyan National Day School in Abu Dhabi.