AUA and ANCA Roundtable Discussion

AUA and ANCA Host a Roundtable Discussion on Armenia’s Higher Education Future

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — On January 25, 2022, the American University of Armenia (AUA), in collaboration with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) headquarters in Washington, D.C., hosted a roundtable discussion on the future of higher education in Armenia and the role of AUA in boosting support for the country’s development. AUA President Dr. Karin Markides led the conversation on this crucial topic sharing some of AUA’s latest initiatives, including the University’s endeavors to augment the role of AUA Open Education in different provinces of Armenia. This non-academic network of learning/testing centers is now also serving as an infrastructure for building public-private-academic partnerships, where students and faculty integrate with stakeholders to find transformative solutions to complex challenges relevant for prosperity in the provinces. These collaborative environments, called  Reality Labs, attract local government and community, national and international collaborators. The Reality Labs constitute the junction where knowledge and competence from different disciplines and stakeholders integrate to address the specific challenges in an area. This enables AUA to be the destination of choice for students and faculty from different parts of the world.

Joining the conversation from ANCA were Executive Director Aram S. Hamparian, Communications Director Elizabeth S. Chouldjian, and Programs Director Alex Manoukian, as well as Chief Communications Officer Narek Ghazaryan from AUA. Among the invited guests were Dr. Roza Selimyan from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Jirair Ratevosian, senior advisor at the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy (PEPFAR), U.S. Department of State. A number of AUA alumni living in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area also took part in the lively discussion. 

“It is great to be in Washington D.C. for different meetings and especially to have the opportunity to hold this important roundtable discussion. I am happy that AUA alumni from different cohorts managed to join us making this conversation even more meaningful. We are very thankful to ANCA for hosting us,” mentioned Ghazaryan. 

Dr. Markides shared with the group the news of her recent appointment as president of the Black Sea Universities Network, speaking to the different priorities the network has, including the University’s enhanced role in outreach and efforts to build alliances of universities to enhance the impact and bridge divides in society. Having access to a wide network of universities over larger geography, and with UN SDGs, will not only benefit AUA but also Armenia in terms of raising awareness of the country and creating new opportunities for student and faculty exchanges. 

The development of Armenia’s higher education system, in the aftermath of pandemic and war, was also discussed highlighting the ability to build character and resilience, as well as finding ways to be sensitive for social recovery needs. The group also discussed the instrumental role AUA plays in supporting the development of elementary and secondary schools in Armenia. “AUA’s mission plays a key role in shaping Armenia’s future. We have the responsibility not only to educate the future leaders but also to collaborate, to change mindsets, and to build capacity in the provinces,” noted Dr. Markides. “AUA is well-positioned and committed to its mission of building prosperity and attraction for Armenia. It is with collaboration with different stakeholders that we will be able to achieve this important task.”

The active discussion concluded with guests sharing their perspectives and congratulating AUA on its 30-year journey reaching a significant role in society. AUA has not only shaped great leaders but also served as a key connector between Armenia and the Diaspora. And now the University is also implementing a growth plan to serve Armenia as a model for desired resilience.

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.

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[Azbarez] AUA, ANCA Host Roundtable Discussion on Armenia’s Higher Education Future