Alumni Webinar Series

Alumni Engagement Events Kick Off with Webinar Series

4 min read

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is the gateway to AUA’s larger community wherever they may be in the world. 

The AUA Alumni Club and the Office of Alumni Relations organized a series of webinars to help AUA alumni better understand and cope with the reality imposed by the global pandemic. The first event in this series of virtual discussions dealt with “Managing Your Social Life and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” a topic of concern to many alumni. The event was moderated by AUA alumna and staff member Varduhi Movsisyan (MA TEFL ‘15). The discussants were Yelena Sardaryan (MPH‘13 and AUA Senior Counselor, Coordinator of Counseling and Disability Support Services) and Harut Manukyan (Yoga Instructor at Gold’s Gym Armenia) who shared with the participants practical advice and professional expertise in managing anxiety and living a more productive life.

The second webinar was devoted to a discussion of ”The Changes and New Trends in the Job Market as a Result of COVID-19. Skills and Technologies for Effective Remote Management.” As the title suggests, the dialogue reviewed current trends in the changing job market and introduced digital tools for managing remote work more effectively. This very informative session was moderated by Armenuhi Arakelyan (MBA’12, Analyst at EBRD), with invited speakers Ani Meruzhan Margaryan (MBA ‘19, Magnus CEO and HR lead at Joomag), Vaspur Grigoryan (MBA ’05, CEO and Founder at Global Software Corp), and Sirarpi Sahakyan (Freelancer and YouTube Blogger).

Considering the current economic challenges caused by the global pandemic, the next webinar brought together experts for a constructive discussion of approaches to enduring the hardships and overcoming the adverse consequences of COVID-19.   Leading this third webinar were Naira Margaryan (Deputy Minister of Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia) and AUA alumnus Samvel Gevorgyan (MBA ’94, Founder at BSC Business Support Center). The discussants shared their thoughts and expertise on the economic difficulties Armenia is currently facing, as well as how businesses can “land on both feet” when the pandemic subsides. The event was titled “Economic Implications of COVID in Armenia – Where We are and What’s to Come, Survival and Development Prospects.” The discussion was moderated by AUA alumna Lilt Hovhannisyan (MBA ’12, Investment Manager at Granatus Ventures).

The fourth and the last event in this webinar series, titled “Armenia in the Changing World: Challenges and Opportunities” was moderated by AUA Alumni Club leader Nvard Chalikyan (PSIA ‘07, International Relations Analyst). The guest speaker of the event was Avetik Chalabyan (Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm). The central theme of his message was for alumni to stay connected and use their creativity to launch projects that would empower and develop the AUA community, thereby positively impacting the diverse infrastructures of Armenian economy.

Feedback from the participants in this webinar series was very positive. There was an expressed need for human connections in these difficult times. The Office of Alumni Relations will continue to organize other events that aim at sharing experiences, connecting alumni, and providing them with the unique resources available among alumni and in the larger AUA community.

Below are several of the post-event reflections the participants have shared with the organizing team. 

“AUA is unique in that apart from a quality education, it has given us a sense of belonging to the AUA community, as well as increased our commitment and responsibility towards Armenia. We believe it is important to strengthen this bond among all members of our community, especially in these critical times. This series of virtual discussions with AUA Alumni brought us all together to discuss what is happening in the world around us and to search for solutions to challenges we are facing on personal, professional and state levels. We are thankful to all participating alumni and speakers, among them experts as well as former and current government officials, for sharing their professional viewpoints with our community.”

Nvard Chalikyan (PSIA ‘07)

“The contribution of alumni is the best reflection of the value that the University brings to the world. By keeping the lines of communication between alumni and the University stronger and stronger, we are learning more about the new generation of AUA, and getting even more motivated to make our little contribution to the development of our University.”

Ani Meruzhan Margaryan (MBA ‘19)

“Please convey my thanks to Dr. Markides for supporting this series and promoting the importance of “giving back to the community” among our alumni. As she and Avetik mentioned, AUA graduates have a lot to give back, and we need to find our place beyond individual success stories within a larger role of building for the common good of Armenia. These days I am looking for opportunities to give back. One of the ways I would like to contribute is with my time, skills, and knowledge. I think that our society has greater needs than the government can realize. I wish AUA alumni would consider adopting one or two public projects and implementing them free of charge. I think if only 1% of alumni (which will be about 50 people) would volunteer their time, some more than the others, we could accomplish a lot.”

Magda Aghababyan (MBA ‘95)

“As someone exclusively participating in the audience I should say that all the webinars were done really well. I think you guys can run a competitive analytical news channel in Armenia. One thing to figure out going forward is what would be the right mix of webinars that target specific needs of alumni vs. more general informational events, to maximize alumni participation. And how to get participants to engage more actively in the discussion with questions and ideas. For me that’s what makes these really different from watching news shows on Youtube. Excellent start!”

Armen Hovakimyan (MBA ‘93) 

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.