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AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian Meets with Students

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YEREVAN, Armenia – On April 19, 2019, students of the American University of Armenia (AUA) had the opportunity to engage in a friendly conversation with AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian. The evening commenced with questions on the University’s establishment, the challenges behind it, and the most rewarding moments throughout the journey.

Dr. Der Kiureghian shared the bittersweet memories he had from the early days of the University. He told the students how the earthquake sparked the idea of establishing a Western-style educational institution in Armenia and how difficult it was to cope with the harsh conditions in the early years of the founding recalling the extreme cold temperatures, lack of transportation and electricity, etc..

“The most important influence that AUA has on the country is projected through the work that our alumni do. Over 70% of them are in Armenia and many of them hold leadership positions, particularly in the current government – there are several Deputy Ministers, Advisors, and Members of the Parliament that are AUA alumni,” said Dr. Der Kiureghian. “AUA also transforms the educational culture in Armenia basically through the collaborative projects and the faculty that teach both at AUA and in other universities in Armenia.”

The students were also enthusiastic about the future of AUA asking questions on Dr. Der Kiureghian’s vision of the University in 10 years, and the possible expansion of the University’s programs and facilities. “The vision I have for the University in 10 years is that we have 4,000 students, at least 10 undergraduate and probably 12 graduate degree programs, a few PhD programs, and that we have sports facilities that we are really lacking now. Of course, everything depends on funding,” envisaged Dr. Der Kiureghian.

Personal questions about the President’s hobbies and interests, his student years and favorite places in Armenia were also asked. The students were positively surprised to learn that Dr. Der Kiureghian paints and that his watercolor paintings can be found in the student lounge, on the first floor of the Paramaz Avedisian Building (PAB).

Dr. Der Kiureghian’s advice to current AUA students was not to let things pile up, to study with the flow of the course completing assignments on time. “Take risks! Try different approaches and different ideas! Explore things! Quite often you’ll hit a concrete wall, you’ll realize that that was not the right plan, but you never know… Sometimes it leads you to something really interesting. If you don’t try, you’ll never get there. But if you try, sometimes you will succeed,” he concluded.

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.