Celebrating the Past With an Eye to the Future: 2021 Alumni Homecoming3 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — On the week of October 18, AUA celebrated the 2021 Alumni Homecoming with a series of events under the theme Celebrating the Past With an Eye to the Future. The week kicked off with a discussion on October 20 on “Entrepreneurship as the Path Forward for our Country.” The keynote speaker of the event, Nazareth Seferian (MPH ‘07), Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship consultant, with AUA deans Dr. Vache Gabrielyan, Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, Dr. Brian Ellison, and Dr. Aram Hajian subsequently discussed entrepreneurial behavior relevant to their respective professional areas.
Day two of the Homecoming featured a panel discussion on University-Public-Private Partnership hosted by AUA MBA Program Chair Dr. Mane Beglaryan. AUA President Dr. Karin Markides and AUA distinguished alumni David Akopyan (MBA ‘93) and Gagik Gyulbudaghyan (MEIESM ‘94) joined the panel addressing key questions on meaningful partnerships with public and the private sector organizations to support universities in addressing complex challenges within society.
The last event on October 22 was the traditional Alumni Homecoming celebration that brought together AUA alumni from different graduation classes, their families and friends, current students, AUA faculty, and staff. This year, the classes of 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, and 1996 were celebrating their fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, and twenty-fifth anniversaries of graduation, respectively. ‘’It really feels like a homecoming, and everyone’s really excited to be back on campus,’’ Liana Sahakyan (MPSIA ‘16), a participating alumna stated.
“Welcome home to your alma mater! Thank you for being great ambassadors of AUA. We are well-positioned to lead and to inspire change, and bring prosperity to Armenia, its provinces, and the larger region. We are constantly inspired by the work that you do to continue cultivating change and making an impact,” remarked AUA President Dr. Markides, encouraging the alumni to stay in touch with AUA, take part in university activities and seminars, become mentors for AUA students, and help the University build capacity in the provinces.
The President’s heartfelt speech was followed by development updates presented by Narek Ghazaryan, chief communications officer of AUA. He shared with the audience the recent advances realized by the University, including the launch of new academic programs, infrastructure expansion projects, completion of the construction and successful opening of the USAID/ASHA-funded AUA Student Residence, as well as ongoing USAID/ASHA-funded projects, including the Triangle Park: A Sustainable, Smart Living Lab project currently in construction, and the newly awarded cutting-edge Media Lab project.
In the tradition of AUA Homecoming events, the announcement of the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award followed. This year, the award went to Artavazd Minasyan (MBA ‘12), a serial tech entrepreneur and the co-founder of Krisp, an AI-powered noise reduction technology, and also co-founder of 10Web, a platform for building, hosting, and managing WordPress. Minasyan has been contributing to the creation of workplaces in Armenia, conducting mentorship and internship programs for students, and never failing to share his knowledge and expertise with the AUA community. In his speech, Minasyan gracefully accepted the award in these words, ‘’When I was studying at AUA around ten years ago, I never thought that I would be presented such a great award!’’ Thanking the University, and his professors for giving him invaluable knowledge and boosting his career, Minasyan added, ‘’AUA gave me the most important thing — the ambition to build a really big company, which would impact the lives of people here in Armenia and abroad.’’
At the end of the ceremony, all the classes celebrating their anniversaries joined the AUA President on stage to present a donation check on behalf of the alumni donations to their alma mater. Through this year’s contribution, $7,700 was added to the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund, which will increase the financial support to qualifying AUA students.
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.