AUA Alumnus David Akopyan Appointed as UNDP Country Director in Syria

YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA) is proud to share that one of its first graduates, David Akopyan (MBA ’93), has been appointed United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director in Syria and will assume his duties in early November 2017. He will be leading the UNDP programme and operations teams at one of the most critical junctions of the UNDP’s history in Syria. After six years of devastating war, the country has entered into advanced peace talks and political negotiations between main conflicting parties. Under the current circumstances, additional stabilization, recovery and reconstruction efforts are to be implemented, with UNDP acting as one of the key players. The UNDP program in Syria is considered one of the most significant project portfolios that UNDP has globally, and Mr. Akopyan’s appointment comes as recognition of his dedicated service to the organization for the last 23 years, including in many hardship duty stations.

Mr. Akopyan has almost 25 years of experience in global development. After completing his MBA at AUA in 1993, he joined UNDP Armenia the following year. From 1991-1993 he also served as Senior Research Associate with the Center for Business Research and Development at AUA.

From 1994-2001, he was the Assistant Resident Representative with UNDP in Armenia and was actively involved in national development policy formulation.

From 2006-2009, he worked at the UNDP headquarters in New York as a Planning Advisor. Before that, Mr. Akopyan served five years at the Central Asia with the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO as a Chief Technical Adviser of Regional Trade Program in Central Asia, and earlier as the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Kyrgyzstan. For his work there, the president awarded him a “Dank” medal in 2005, one of the most prestigious national awards.

From 2010-2012 Mr. Akopyan was UNDP Deputy Country Director in Afghanistan. He managed the UNDP’s largest program globally in Afghanistan with a total delivery of 750 million USD annually. Together with a number of other portfolios Mr. Akopyan and the UNDP successfully provided support in the 2010 parliamentary election in Afghanistan (a large scale internationally supported effort with more than 100 international staff and a massive operation all around the country), which was recognized by the UN Security Council as one of the best election operations supported by the UN.

From 2012-2013, Mr. Akopyan was the Chief of Operations in New York for the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which led to the formulation of the new Sustainable Development Goals-Global 2030 Agenda.

Mr. Akopyan has 10 years of experience in Research & Development (R&D) and analysis of complex non-linear systems. He has led teams of researchers for the preparation of five National Human Development Reports.

Mr. Akopyan has served on assignments and missions in Latvia, Tajikistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kazakhstan and in New York.

He has spent the last four years as the Senior UNDP Deputy Country Director/Programme Director in Somalia. His time in Mogadishu was marked by major progress on peace and statebuilding goals where the UNDP and his programme team were the most potent forces in supporting the nation’s recovery after 25 years of war and progress.

Mr. Akopyan holds an MBA from the American University of Armenia and a PhD in laser physics and MA in theoretical physics from Yerevan State University.

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.