WASHINGTON, DC – In March 2016, a delegation of representatives of the American University of Armenia (AUA) made a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the USAID American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) 2016 Annual Conference. Members of the delegation included AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, Vice President of Operations Ashot Ghazaryan, Assistant Vice President of Operations Anahit Ordyan, and Assistant Director of Development Matt Senekeremian.
The visit to Washington, D.C. launched with a community event at the Armenian Embassy hosted by His Excellency Mr. Grigor Hovhannissian, Armenian Ambassador to the United States. The event was graciously sponsored by Washington, D.C. community member and AUA supporter, Mrs. Annie Totah. The event began with welcoming remarks by Ms. Lilit Shakaryan, Consul at the Armenian Embassy, who welcomed the guests and introduced President Der Kiureghian.
Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian started his remarks by expressing his pride in being introduced by one of AUA’s own alumnae, of the Political Science and International Affairs program, who is now serving as Consul in the Armenian embassy in Washington. He described how the University started in 1991 with three graduate programs and 101 students. Today, AUA has 8 graduate programs, 3 undergraduate programs, 9 research centers, and more than 1,500 students. The University serves not only students from Armenia and Artsakh, but also students from abroad, both diasporan Armenians and non-Armenians. In addition, a growing number of students from the United States are coming to AUA for one or two semesters of study abroad. President Der Kiureghian completed his remarks by describing plans for future growth of the University and its programs.
Other speakers at the event included: ASHA Director Kate Crawford, who praised AUA for its accomplishments and mentioned that she is encouraging her daughter to go to AUA for her study abroad, the event sponsor Mrs. Annie Totah, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, Armenian-American Women’s Wellness Center Founder Mrs. Rita Balian and Honorary Consul of Armenia to Fresno Mr. Berj Apkarian.
Also present at the event were NKR Permanent Representative to the US Mr. Robert Avetisyan, Soorp Khatch Armenian Church Pastor Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavourian, ASHA Senior Program Advisor Gary Barrett, ASHA Coalition Co-Chair Jay Ghazal, AUA Alumni, and Washington area community members.
From March 29th to Match 31st the AUA delegation attended the 2016 Annual ASHA Conference, where they had the opportunity to learn more about working with U.S. missions, gender and environmental considerations in programming, strategic use of social media and performance monitoring, as well as about recent success stories of partner universities. The conference presented excellent opportunities for networking with representatives from other universities and hospitals from around the world, as well as meeting with ASHA staff to discuss management issues related to current ASHA-funded AUA projects.
AUA has been receiving support from ASHA for many years, with past projects including the renovation and expansion of the university library, remodeling of the cafeteria, creation of integrated technology classrooms, and replacement of university windows and elevators in the main Building. Grants issued by ASHA are key to AUA, providing funds for university development, including new construction and renovation and procurement of technology and furnishings. Over the past several years, a total of more than $12 million has been funded. Projects currently underway include the Student Services/Student Excellence Center and the Entrepreneurship & Product Innovation Center (EPIC).
ASHA provides assistance to schools, libraries, and medical centers outside the United States that serve as study and demonstration centers for American ideas and practices. ASHA’s grants help these institutions train future leaders in a wide variety of disciplines, support local and regional infrastructure to foster development and cultivate positive relationships and mutual understanding among citizens of the United States and other nations.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.