AUA Hosts the First TEDxAUA Event

YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ On March 3, 2018, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted its very first TEDx event in Manoogian Hall. Themed “Think Forward”, the event featured talks on a variety of topics ranging from technology to art and from marketing to education and youth empowerment. Using the TED conference format of short, powerful presentations designed to spark conversation, the speakers shared their ideas that informed and inspired the audience to be more forward thinking both in their personal and professional lives.

Among TEDxAUA speakers were Dr. Randall Rhodes, art historian and AUA Provost; Richard Giragosian, political analyst and director of the Regional Studies Center; Grace Bardakjian, interpreter, English teacher and AUA alumni; Hrachuhi Barseghyan, CEO of ArPR Holding and adjunct faculty at AUA; Ruben Malayan, art director, visual artist, calligrapher and adjunct faculty at AUA; Luiza Avetisyan, Co-founder and VP Product & Marketing at; Matt Bartelsian, Director of Global Business Development and Partnerships at Volo; and Nanar Avedissian, a third-year Syrian-Armenian student studying English & Communications at AUA.

The event was entirely organized by a group of AUA undergraduate students, led by Seda Babayan, a third-year business student, who was granted the license from TED to organize this event.

“We chose the theme “Think Forward” for the first event because we wanted to encourage our community to think about the future without the confinements of old rules and actions, as the moment we start thinking forward, we will see and use every challenge as an opportunity to grow as a person, as a society and as a country.” said Babayan.

The hosts of this TEDx event were AUA undergraduate student Sona Martikyan and a recent AUA graduate Gabriel Hovhannisyan.

During the event, the audience was entertained by magic tricks performed by magician Hayk Janoyan, the musical performance of Suren Yedoyan, who is the winner of various violin competitions, and original song performances from two music groups: TUMO-based electronic band Pyramidz and the AlternatiV rock band, which participated in Armenia’s “X-Factor” and “Depi Evratesil” competitions.

Videos are currently in the process of being edited and will be available online in the upcoming weeks.

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman. Follow TED on Twitter at, on Facebook at or Instagram at

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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