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AUA’s Highlights in 2017

YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA) has had a busy and exciting year. As 2017 draws to an end, we take a look back at some of the highlights we covered in our newsroom over the past twelve months.

One of the University’s biggest achievements this year was the launch of two new degree programs in September, including a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Sciences (ES) and a Master of Science in Strategic Management (SM).

Not long after the start of these two new programs came the announcement that AUA will be adding a Bachelor of Science in Data Science (BSDS), to be officially launched in September 2018.

The past 12 months also saw no shortage of high-level visitors to AUA, including RA Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, who visited in January. Later in the year, AUA hosted a delegation from the United States Congress, which aimed to learn more about STEM education in Armenia, as well as Armenia’s achievements in the IT sector. AUA then hosted an official delegation from Pasadena and a delegation from the California State Legislature paid a visit to AUA. And, finally, in November, the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh, Ashot Ghoulyan, visited AUA to present a lecture on “The State-Building Process in Artsakh: Combining Security and Democracy.”

The University’s close cooperation with the Republic of Artsakh was also marked by the visit of AUA Vice President of Operations Ashot Ghazaryan and AUA President Emeritus and Chair of the Turpanjian Rural Development Program Dr. Haroutune Armenian to Artsakh, where they were received by President Bako Sahakyan.

This year, AUA and Harvard Medical School collaborated in a joint program devoted to the development and implementation of a simplified intramedullary (IM) nail system.

In March, AUA signed an agreement with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative to establish a $1 million scholarship fund for students from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. The collaboration between the institutions was furthered when AUA co-hosted a conversation with the 2017 Aurora Prize Finalists.

This year also saw AUA host the first conference on Empowerment of Girls and Women in Armenia in April. The conference, which was attended by then RA Minister of Justice Arpine Hovhannisyan and San Jose State University President Mary Papazian, among others, addressed the status and role of girls and women in Armenian society.

In April AUA’s Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) hosted its second annual Ecotourism Conference with more than 600 participants across the country. ACE also continued its work to increase transparency in the mining sector through its collaboration with the British Embassy in Armenia.

Several AUA community members were the recipients of awards and medals this year. In April, AUA lecturer Raffi Meneshian received the Boghos Noubar Medal; the Movses Khorentatsi Medal was awarded to Elizabeth Agbabian, a steadfast supporter of the founding and success of AUA, by RA President Serzh Sargsyan. AUA Pillars Ruth Bedevian and Ara Tekian had the honor of receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; and, Dr. Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, an AUA assistant professor was awarded the Golden Commemorative Medal of Fridtjof Nansen.

In June, AUA marked its 25th Commencement and Inaugural Undergraduate Graduation Ceremony with over 2,400 students, parents, faculty, and staff, during which over 400 students received their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

June was also notable for two official ribbon-cutting ceremonies, one for the Zaven and Sonia Akian College of Science and Engineering and the other for the Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health.

AUA’s growing network of alumni also enjoyed an eventful year. In September, AUA hosted its 2017 Alumni Reunion. During the ceremony the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award 2017 was announced as Gagik Gyulbudaghyan. Following the Alumni Reunion in Armenia, in October AUA graduates gathered for reunions in Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

The alumni also celebrated many successes this year, among which was David Akopyan (MBA ’93) being appointed United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director in Syria. Also, Kristina Ter-Kazarian (MBA ‘93) established the first named scholarship by an alumna.

AUA was honored to host the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Armenia in celebrating its 25th anniversary of partnership with Armenia. The many years of AUA’s close collaboration with USAID continued in 2017 as the university received a $999,000 grant from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program. During ASHA’s annual conference, AUA was also chosen as a winner in their annual video and photo contest.

The growing student body also registered many successes in 2017. Among them were three students who received an award from President Serzh Sargsyan for their outstanding academic achievements in the sphere of information technologies.

It was with a sense of relief and gratitude that AUA was able to welcome back 24 of its students from their military service.

And, finally, AUA bid farewell to Dr. Tom Samuelian in 2017 as he announced his retirement. Dr. Samuelian had devoted nearly twenty years of his life to AUA, first as adjunct professor of law, then as dean of the Law Department, and most recently as dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

As we look toward 2018, AUA wishes its students, staff, faculty and entire community a happy, healthy and successful new year.

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.