Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff was born c. 1866 in Armenia of a Greek father and an Armenian mother. In his youth he studied science, medicine and the ministry but found that these disciplines could not answer his questions about the essential nature of humanity and our possibilities. He embarked on a search for ancient wisdom that took him to remote regions of the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. He reappeared in Russia c. 1912 with a distinctive, internally consistent teaching rooted in Asian and Western traditions.
During the Bolshevik Revolution, Gurdjieff and a group of students found their way to Western Europe. Gurdjieff eventually settled near Paris and established the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. He continued to teach in Paris and New York until his death in 1949.
Following his death, a core group of pupils, under the direction of Mme. Jeanne de Salzmann, undertook responsibility for the transmission of the teaching. This group established centers throughout the Western World.