Speaker at the CBE Financial Inclusion Workshop

CBE Hosts Financial Inclusion Workshop as part of EURASIA Project

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YEREVAN, Armenia On March 24, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE) organized the closing workshop of the EURASIA project on the Development and Impact Assessment of Financial Inclusion Policies and Strategies. 

The EURASIA project is carried out in partnership between AUA and the University of Agder, Norway. It is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and administered by the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education. 

Within the scope of this partnership, CBE hosted Dr. Roy Mersland from the University of Agder, Norway; Dr. Oystein Strom from Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway; and Dr. Bert D’Espailler from Leuven University, Belgium during the week of March 22. The aim of the visit was to advance the common research agenda on financial inclusion, strengthen the partnership between the two universities, and discuss new cooperative and joint research opportunities. 

During their stay, the scholars had the opportunity to review the progress made through the EURASIA project; visited the Training and Research Center of the Central Bank of Armenia in Dilijan as well as a local credit organization, Kamurj; explored areas of further collaboration involving MSM students working on Capstone research projects; and discussed conducting a larger survey. The visitors and their CBE colleagues also had the chance to present their research to AUA faculty, students, and external audience. 

The week-long workshop covered the following topics:

  • Reidar Oystein Strom:  Lower risk with a female CEO? Evidence from microfinance institutions.
  • Dr. Bert D’Espallier: Achieving double bottom line performance in hybrid organizations. A machine learning approach. 
  • Dr. Knar Khachatryan:  Rule vs direction in savings groups
  • Dr. Aleksandr Grigoryan: MFI’s self-selection into a business model
  • Dr. Vardan Baghdasaryan: Multibanking improves the small entrepreneur’s performance: Evidence from a developing country
  • Ana Petre: Financial vs social performance in savings groups

“Overall, the project was successful and productive,” noted project lead and BA in Business (BAB) Program Chair Dr. Knar Khachatryan. “The scope of this project is quite diversified in terms of activities. Throughout the past two years, we have generated a number of research articles in joint collaboration with colleagues from the University of Agder. We have developed and launched a new course on financial inclusion at AUA and generated funds for 9 AUA students (from the BA in Business and Master of Science in Management programs) to spend a semester studying abroad at the University of Agder. We also host one Ph.D. fellow at AUA for 3 months. The joint research articles are currently being submitted to prestigious peer-reviewed journals in this field. A number of new research directions have been identified, and the team will continue advancing them. It is worth mentioning that within this project, we also have a strong element of collaboration with non-academic partners. We have been working closely with the Central Bank of Armenia, SEF International, and Kamurj UCO. Currently, we cooperate with Kamurj in developing a survey by engaging our students as part of their Capstone course.” 

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.