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ERC Securing Europe, Fighting its enemies, 1815-1914


25 March 2021
17:00 - 18:30

Ozan Ozavci to moderate TSN Spring Series seminars ‘Gulbenkian: Refugee, Oil Man or “Citizen of Nowhere”?’

Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955) in his late 20s, i.e. before 1900. Source: Wikimedia

Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955) in his late 20s, i.e. before 1900. Source: Wikimedia

On 25 March the Turkey Studies Network in the Low Countries external linklaunches its Spring Series seminars with a lecture by Dr Jonathan Conlin (University of Southampton) titled ‘Gulbenkian: Refugee, Oil Man or “Citizen of Nowhere”?’ about the extraordinary career of Calouste Gulbenkian.

“Mr Five Per Cent”

In 1955 in Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian died as the world’s richest man. He was widely known as “Mr Five Per Cent” on account of his personal holding of 5% of Middle East oil production. Gulbenkian not only survived the collapse of the Ottoman Empire into genocidal violence as an Ottoman Armenian but managed to establish himself as a key middle-man in the emergence of a modern cartelized oil industry, helping to create the giants we know today as Royal Dutch-Shell and Total.

Versatile career and multiple loyalties

In this lecture, Conlin traces Gulbenkian’s career as “oil man”, art collector and philantrophist, and reflects on his multiple loyalties as refugee, diplomat and rootless “nowhere man”. Conlin teaches history at the University of Southampton an published his award-winning biography of Gulbenkian in 2019. This online event will be coordinated and moderated by Dr Ozan Ozavci external link(History and Art History external link), one of the founders of the TSN.