On the heels of the American University of Armenia (AUA) alumni reunion in Yerevan on September 20, 2017, AUA graduates gathered for reunions in Los Angeles on October 28th and in Washington, DC on October 30th. Surrounded by classmates, the gatherings served as excellent opportunities for alumni living and working in LA and DC to meet, network, and discuss ways of staying connected among themselves and with their alma mater.
The alumni reunion in LA, the first of its kind to be held, was generously hosted by AUA President Emeritus, Dr. Haroutune Armenian, and his wife, Sona Armenian. It brought together 50 alumni from different programs and graduating years to share memories and experiences from their time during and after AUA. Vazgen Manouk Hakobian (MBA, ’93) remarked, “Our time at AUA was very special. After those years, the green light was secured for our professional careers.” Another attendee, Hripsime Martirosyan (MPH, ‘05), commented, “AUA gave me a great opportunity to get introduced to Western educational standards and requirements [and]gain profound knowledge and skills, which allowed me to become competitive in the US labor market.”
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Armenian emphasized the importance of staying connected, even long after graduation. “With all its technological advancements, the world has become smaller, and distance is just relative. With concentrated efforts you can effectively contribute to Armenia’s, or in general the Armenian community’s, development” he said.
AUA Vice President of Operations, Ashot Ghazaryan, and Assistant Vice President, Anahit Ordyan, were also present at the event and provided alumni with updates on AUA’s achievements and recent developments, introduced various ways of staying in touch with the University, and discussed mutual benefits from alumni-university collaboration. Talking points included the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund, which has provided scholarships to seven AUA students, continuing traditions of annual homecoming reunions, possibilities for mentoring students, taking part in university committees and task forces, becoming part of the 100 Pillars program, and more. Reunion participants welcomed the idea of alumni annual giving.
To activate the LA alumni community, seven alumni expressed readiness to establish an organizing committee that would plan social and professional activities and coordinate alumni engagement with the University. Marianna Achemian, the AUA Assistant Director of Development Events, Alumni Relations & Research and one of the organizers of the LA reunion, appreciated the opportunity to meet the LA alumni in person and begin strengthening their ties with the community.
The alumni reunion in Washington, DC took place two days later at the Armenian Embassy and was kindly hosted by H.E. Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian and Mrs. Victoria Hovhannissian. Ambassador Hovhannisian recognized AUA as a flagship of higher education in the Republic of Armenia and an essential bridge for US-Armenia cooperation. Though smaller in size, this reunion was not less in excitement, as participants had the opportunity to reconnect and discuss ways for engagement with their alma mater. Lana Yeganova (ME IESM ‘97) stated, “AUA has a very special place in my heart. We are so grateful to the founders for the vision they had for our alma mater.” Another reunion participant, Sevak Amalyan (MBA ’00), said, “Whatever I have achieved in my life is because of my experience at AUA – my job, my family and my peace of mind.”
The successful organization of both events was made possible by the joint efforts of the AUA’s Alumni Relations and Development Offices. The University is exploring the idea of reunions in Moscow and San Francisco for 2018.
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.