Razmig Boladian, Karin Markides, Ani Vartanian
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The Bay Area Community Welcomes AUA President Dr. Karin Markides

3 min read

OAKLAND, CA – The American University of Armenia (AUA) kicked off the year 2020 with a festive reception in the Bay Area hosted by Ani Vartanian and Razmig Boladian, both managing partners of Rubicon Point Partners. The event, hosted in their Hillsborough residence, brought together many AUA pillars and supporters from the area to meet the President of the University, Dr. Karin Markides, and to reaffirm their commitment to the University. Attending the event were several members of the AUA Board of Trustees and other prominent individuals.

Welcoming the AUA President and the guests, Razmig Boladian and Ani Vartanian expressed gratitude for being a part of the AUA community of pillars placing emphasis on the important role AUA has played in Armenia in the realm of “youth and education” the key drivers of development. Boladian then introduced Dr. Markides, sketching her profile and notable accomplishments in science and public service.

The gathering was a momentous occasion for Dr. Markides to greet and thank the guests for their belief in the University and for their support to its sustained advancement. More importantly, the event provided her with the opportunity to share her personal observations and attainments in the months since her appointment as President of AUA in July 2019, and to present her vision for shaping a new role for the university in the development of Armenia. She spoke about the capacity to excel and influence in the public sphere, focusing on sustainability. 

“This means that not only do you have to look at the role of the University, as such, but you also have to take a systemic look at the challenges of sustainability. That requires consideration of three dynamics: integration, transformation, and universality. […] These are essential for universities to deliberate in taking their positions in society as crucial actors and stakeholders,” observed President Markides.

Expounding on her vision, she emphasized the value of interaction and collaboration across disciplines, bringing together government, industry, and universities at the meeting point, to build competence, and to treat everyone as equal partners despite unequal possibilities in order to realize greater impact and sustained development in Armenia. 

Recounting her trips to various communities in Armenia and Artsakh, and meetings with regional and national government and business leaders in the past months, she spoke about the importance of advancing rural communities by building upon existing strengths and competencies, furthering technological knowhow, and fostering collaborative projects that enable discovery and advancement through open education. Dr. Markides also spoke about the strategic significance of building stronger international partnerships with universities in the U.S. and elsewhere across borders, to foster relationships that would advance collaboration in research and intellectual exchanges by AUA faculty and students. “Bridging faculty with research elsewhere is essential to serving as a model university in the 21st century and realizing new breakthroughs that increase visibility and capacity.” 

Other guests speaking at the event included AUA alumnus Petros Keshishian (MSc EE ‘93) who reflected on his years at AUA as “the source of light and life in the country” in those difficult times. He concluded adding that “AUA still is the place where ideas are born,” particularly speaking about the thought process at AUA, which makes it stand out among all others, while underscoring the important role AUA alumni play in support of their alma mater.

The formal part of the evening concluded with remarks by Dr. Larry Pitts, Chairman of the AUA Board of Directors, who thanked Ani Vartanian and Razmig Boladian for hosting the evening and the guests for their continued support to the University. He then thanked the trustees for their immense and continued support. “Your support has allowed AUA to have a need-blind admission,” asserting that education is the best investment one can make in the future of a country.  

The kick-off event of 2020 concluded with a renewed spirit of support and marked the beginning of a new decade to advance research, reach new milestones that make a greater impact in Armenia and beyond.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.