Emil Sanamyan was born in Baku, in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. Forced to leave amid anti-Armenian violence, his family eventually ended up in the United States. In 1995 Emil volunteered in Tatev Village as part of the Land and Culture Organization. Mr. Sanamyan was educated at the University of Arizona in Tucson and George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Since 2006 Sanamyan has been the Washington Editor for The Armenian Reporter, a U.S.-based newsweekly. From 2000 until 2006 he was a Research Officer at the Armenian Assembly of America and from 1998 to 2000 he worked in the Office of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the United States. In 2006-7, Sanamyan was a volunteer director for Americans for Artsakh.
Emil was married at Gandzasar in September 2005, he and his wife Oksana have a daughter Ekaterina.