YEREVAN, Armenia – On September 19, 2017, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a delegation from the United States Congress. The delegation was composed of Congressman Frank Pallone from New Jersey, Congresswomen Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier and Congressman David Valadao from California, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. The goal of the visit was to get familiarized with the potential and achievements of Armenia in the IT sector, as well as to outline the possibilities of future cooperation between Armenia and the US.
The Members of Congress were led on a tour by AUA president, Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian. During the tour, the Members were shown the spaces within the university financed by the United States Aid and International Development (USAID) agency’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program, including the Student Union and the Faculty Center that are currently being constructed.
In a meeting held at AUA’s Akian Art Gallery, Deputy Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Armenia,Mr. Boris Demirkhanyan, welcomed the delegation. He mentioned that both the Armenian and the US governments have the will to develop the information technologies sector and to do business together. Mr. Demirkhanyan felt assured that if the two governments collaborate for IT development, both countries will benefit.
Dr. Der Kiureghian then gave an outline of STEM education in Armenia. He introduced the guests to the programs and research centers at AUA related to STEM education, such as Computer Science and Engineering Sciences programs, Acopian Center for the Environment, and the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC). Dr. Der Kiureghian also focused on the problems in the sphere, mentioning that only 12.9% of students in primary and secondary schools choose to continue their education in STEM, which is a result of a lack of qualified teachers. “One of AUA’s strategic plans is to strengthen STEM education in the country. This is an area that needs attention,” summed up Dr. Der Kiureghian.
During the meeting, presentations were also made by representatives of IT companies and industry associations in Armenia, including Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), UCom, Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE), Synopsys Armenia, Viasphere International and Mentor Graphics. Each of them gave a general overview of their companies, their mission and achievements. All the speakers mentioned that Armenia has great engineering traditions coming still from the Soviet Union years and now it is trying to dramatically improve the IT sector.
During the presentations, the Members of Congress continually expressed their admiration for Armenia’s achievements in the IT sector.
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.