Memorial Event Honoring Fallen AUA Students Hakob Hakobyan and Erik Hajikyan
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Memorial Event Honoring Fallen AUA Students Hakob Hakobyan and Erik Hajikyan

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On January 24, 2022, the American University of Armenia (AUA) community assembled to honor AUA fallen soldier Hakob Hakobyan in a collaborative workshop with the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) on one of his favorite topics — crypto and digital currencies. The event was jointly organized by the AUA Master of Science in Economics (MSE) program and CBA, where Hakob worked as an analyst in the Analytics Division of the Financial Monitoring Center of CBA.

A second-year graduate student majoring in economics, Hakob was one of the brightest AUA students with a wide range of interests and a special passion for data analysis. Tragically, Hakob fell on the battlefield during the 2020 Artsakh War, not managing to complete his degree in economics at AUA. However, having accomplished a series of courses in data analytics, he has become the first graduate of the Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics program, earning a Certificate in Data Analytics, albeit posthumously. The certificate was presented to Hakob’s family by AUA Provost Dr. Brian Ellison.

“We are grateful to you for the opportunity to get to know your son and enjoy his company as a member of our community,” Dr. Ellison addressed Hakob’s parents. “On this solemn occasion, I would like to present you with this certificate that reflects his time at AUA and his achievements. AUA could not be more grateful.”

Vahe Avetisyan, one of Hakob’s colleagues at CBA, recalled their experience of working together for over two and a half years. He brought vivid examples of the exceptional qualities Hakob had both personally and professionally: punctuality, honesty, decency, modesty, and a high sense of responsibility, along with good analytical skills.

In 2017, Hokob joined the Enlight Public Research Center NGO, writing, translating, and editing texts in the field of economics, later coordinating the division of economists and mentorship programs, and becoming a board member at Enlight. Anna Khachian, editor-in-chief at Enlight, shared her memories of Hakob and the incentives behind the idea of publishing a selection of Hakob’s analyses on economic and financial matters and translations of articles in his field. Khachian cited one of Hakob’s poems depicted in the epigraph of the book, several copies of which were donated to the AUA AGBU Papazian Library and the Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE).

Before proceeding to the lecture on crypto and digital currencies by Hayk Tarverdyan, Dr. Gurgen Aslanyan, MSE program chair and CBE assistant professor, invited Satenik Mnatsakanyan, chair of the AUA BS in Engineering Sciences (BSES) program, to take the floor. She shared a few words about Erik Hajikyan, another AUA student who, like thousands of other young men, did not get to return from the war. Erik was conscripted after completing his sophomore year.

“Erik was one of the most brilliant students in our program. He had major accomplishments in sports and in life in general, but was so humble,” recalled Mnatsakanyan. She urged every one of the attendees to think of how each of them could take responsibility for ensuring a strong homeland, for earning the right to live. “Erik fell on the battlefield trying to save a fellow soldier’s life. He served as a role model for so many young men. We should be worthy of his sacrifice. Now with the educational award in his name, another AUA student will take social responsibility for building a sustainable future.” 

The winner of the “Golden Seeds” educational award in memory of Erik Hajikyan was announced by Armine Petrosyan, director of “Hay Santa” (“Hye Dzmer Pap”) Charitable Foundation, and handed to AUA BS in Engineering Sciences (BSES) student Artur Sargsyan. He is enrolled in the “I have the honor” military program, offered by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia, and will be granted the rank of an army officer upon graduation.

The educational award in memory of Erik Hajikyan was jointly initiated by the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) and “Hay Santa” to support an undergraduate student of the BSES program at AUA. With the generous support of “Hay Santa” benefactors, “Golden Seeds” educational awards have also been awarded to high-performing students studying in other universities.

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.