YEREVAN, Armenia – On October 27, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Georgia Mission Director Douglas Ball, accompanied by USAID Georgia Supervisory Program Officer Mark Mitchell, USAID Armenia Program and Project Development Office Director Mervyn Ellis, and USAID Economic Development Program Manager Haikanush Bagratunyan.
The primary goal of the visit, which was Ball’s first to Armenia, was to assess how well the missions in Armenia and Georgia are working together, and also to share best practices and lessons learned.
AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian acquainted the guests with the University’s history and facilities, followed by a tour of the campus where they were able to see the results of projects financed by USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals (ASHA) project, among them the AGBU Papazian Library, Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC), and construction of a new faculty center and student union.
Referring to USAID’s many years of support, Dr. Der Kiureghian said, “We are grateful to USAID because the University would not be what it is without them. We have benefited enormously from USAID projects. Every year when we submit a new proposal, we really think hard about what would be beneficial, and some of the projects you have seen are a result of that exercise. For example, the student union that will be ready next year is a unique concept of students getting together and having the freedom to create something new. There is nothing like it in other CIS countries.”
Ball was very impressed by his visit to AUA. “This has been an extremely informative trip for me to see some of the projects and the successes of USAID Armenia, to witness the investments they have made, to find out a little more about the programs that they are running, and to see the dividends that programs are paying, as well as to find out how US assistance can further the development objectives of both the Americans and the Armenians. Hopefully I will be able to apply these ideas when I get back to Georgia. I’m so impressed with the work that is going on here and the engagement of the American University of Armenia in preparing the youth for a better future,” he stated.
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.