Raffi Joe Wartanian is a multiplatform storyteller passionate about social justice, creativity, and innovative institutions.
Through writing, musicianship, performance, activism, and beyond, he pursues stories exploring gravity, levity, and hope. A first generation Armenian-American born in Baltimore to parents displaced by the Lebanese Civil War and grandparents who survived the Armenian Genocide, Raffi has encountered numerous social, economic, and political vantage points that inform his perspectives and output. This has led to working in areas of refugee resettlement, civil society development, education, and beyond.
Raffi’s art and activism have been supported by the Fulbright Program (Armenia), Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Gulbenkian Foundation (Istanbul), Humanity in Action (Paris, San Francisco), and the Luys Foundation (NYC). His writing and film work have appeared in venues including Lincoln Center, The Baltimore Sun, and The Huffington Post among others. As a musician, he has performed alongside Grammy Award-winning flutist Mary Youngblood, created music and lyrics for award-winning vocalist Eileen Khatchadourian, and has performed internationally as an oud player and singer-songwriter. He has acted on stages in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Raffi is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University School of the Arts and co-taught a creative writing workshop at Rikers Island Jail Complex. He is also developing new musical compositions, and a feature screenplay about a gun show in Texas (which finished in the top 10% of the 2017 Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship).
Whenever possible, Raffi keeps busy perfecting the art of boiling an egg, hitting a consistent backhand (but don’t mess with his slice), or tuning out the noise of the Internet. He is currently based between NYC, LA, and B4LT1M0RE.
wartanian [dot] raffi [at] gmail [dot] com