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Erasmus+ Information Day at AUA Offers Tools To “Empower” EU Partner Countries, Including Armenia

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YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA), in partnership with the National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia and with the support of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), organized on November 18 a day-long event, Erasmus+ Information Day. Erasmus+ is the new European Union (EU) program which aims to support actions in the fields of Education, Training, Youth and Sport for the period 2014-2020.

The aim of the event was to inform beneficiaries about Erasmus+, and, in particular, about the Erasmus+ Call for Proposals launched in October 2015. Several other actions relevant to the international dimension of higher education were also discussed, including Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE), Credit Mobility, and Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMDs).

AUA President Armen Der Kiureghian welcomed the guests, who included Mr. Piotr Anthony Switalski, Head of the EU Delegation in Armenia, and noted that, though AUA is an American university that holds American accreditation and maintains affiliation with the University of California, it still seeks integration with European higher education structures.

“We are very much interested in integration into European educational space and we recognize the importance of Erasmus+ in this process. We are eager to build collaboration bridges with European partners and we hope that this meeting and similar meetings in the future will facilitate that process,” President Der Kiureghian said.

AUA has recently become a partner in a number of TEMPUS (past EU grant programs) and Erasmus+ grants. Currently, it has six grants that support experience-sharing, taking part in credit mobility, learning best practices, and modernizing the systems and organizational structures of the university. AUA regularly publishes articles in its monthly e-newsletter, AUA Insider, that share the outcomes of these programs and raise awareness of the substantial role Erasmus + plays in quality assurance and the internationalization of higher educational institutions.

President Der Kiureghian expressed hope that, in addition to learning more about Erasmus+ and its expectations for the new call, the day-long event would also provide opportunities to network and consider new partnerships for capacity-building or mobility projects.

Among the keynote speakers at the event were Mr. José Gutiérrez, Programme Coordinator, and Ms. Almudena Saenz De Miera, Project Officer Responsible for Armenia, both from Unit A4 of the Erasmus+ Programme, managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Lana Karlova, Coordinator of Erasmus Plus in the National Office, presented an Overview of ongoing Projects. 

“These actions are for you. It’s up to organizations and individuals in Armenia to take responsibility, as these actions are designed for the empowerment of partner countries,” Gutiérrez said. He agreed with President Der Kiureghian’s remarks that promoting EU actions at an American university is acceptable and that “competition” does not exclude “cooperation.”

Gutiérrez hoped that Erasmus+ would help provide the necessary tools “to better equip our youth population towards an idea of a world challenged by other forces, as evidenced by the events in Paris.”

Representatives from Eurasia International University and Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University were present and shared their experiences on managing international cooperation projects. The Erasmus+ Information Day brought together other key administrators, academicians, scholars and experts from higher education institutions, students, representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia and the EU Delegation in Armenia, non-governmental organizations, and other interested stakeholders.

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.

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