AUA Hosts Farewell Reception for Outgoing President Dr. Markides3 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — On December 19, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a farewell reception in the Akian Gallery to honor Dr. Markides in recognition of her 3.5 years of dedicated service as President of the University.
In November 2022, Dr. Markides announced her resignation effective December 3. Under her leadership as AUA’s fifth President, the University has realized important changes in the realm of charting its strategic role and identifying the corresponding strategies for advancement in the coming decades. In that regard, AUA has established new working agreements, initiatives, and associations with international organizations, government agencies, and universities in Armenia, the United States, and Europe that provide an expanded platform for the University’s educational and research programs. These and other accomplishments achieved under her tenure were brought to bear despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and deadly Artsakh war, attesting to AUA’s resilience in the face of serious adversity.
At the reception, Dr. Der Kiureghian, who stepped in as interim President after Dr. Markides’ resignation, expressed heartfelt gratitude for her service, especially noting the new ideas Dr. Markides had initiated which will benefit the University for years to come. “You will be part of the history of our University,” he concluded.
Speaking on behalf of the AUA Board of Trustees, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) in Armenia Vasken Yacoubian commended Dr. Markides for her visionary leadership and energy. Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Dr. Yuri Sargsyan spoke on behalf of the AUA Fund Board to bid farewell declaring, “You are leaving the presidency, but not the University.”
Several faculty members took the microphone to recount the ways in which working with Dr. Markides had influenced their professional experiences. Vice Provost for Integration Dr. Knar Khachatryan thanked the outgoing President for handling difficult situations “with grace,” such as the 2020 Artsakh War, inspiring resilience with her unique feminine touch brought to the leadership of the University. In an emotional speech, Dean of the Turpanjian College of Health Sciences Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan thanked Dr. Markides for advancing AUA to become a competitive player on the world stage; for supporting faculty and inspiring them to leave their comfort zones and engage in transdisciplinary research; and for encouraging the community to turn difficulties into opportunities for growth. Demonstrating the influence Dr. Markides has had throughout the University, she shared the story of a student who was inspired to learn Swedish.
Speaking next was the Dean of the College of Business and Economics Dr. Vache Gabrielyan, who recounted how, under Dr. Markides, the University grew despite the adversities, adding new programs, hiring more full time faculty, and renewing its commitment to the regions of Armenia. President Markides constantly reminded us that universities are not only about educating generations, but also about leaving a lasting impact in the various communities of Armenia, he noted. Similarly, Rector of the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) Vardan Urutyan thanked Dr. Markides with emphasis on her extraordinary dedication to higher education in Armenia and openness to work with other universities. He specifically noted her initiative to launch the collaborative Armenia’s Technology Future platform and expressed gratitude on behalf of ANAU, presenting to Dr. Markides a certificate of appreciation and a bottle of wine made by the Agrarian University.
On behalf of AUA, Vice President of Operations Ashot Ghazaryan presented Dr. Markides with a book on Armenian manuscripts and President Der Kiureghian presented a hand-crafted carved wooden box. Dr. Markides delivered a heartfelt farewell speech, emphasizing how honored she felt for the opportunity to come to Armenia to serve as the AUA’s President, and get to know the AUA community, the Armenian people, the country, and the culture. Highlighting the importance of listening as a leader, she recalled the first summer of her Presidency, when she traveled around Armenia and Artsakh to talk to as many people as possible and understand the existing needs and what AUA could do to address those needs. “When you are trying to implement change, the first thing you have to do is listen in search of understanding,” she said.
Dr. Markides also acknowledged that change and development are natural and healthy in academia, adding that the university is one of the most important institutions in all of society, as it trains the leaders of tomorrow and moves society forward. She emphasized the critical role that students can play in this development and reiterated that as a proud ambassador of AUA, she will always be available to discuss ideas and keep ties with the University. “Part of my heart will stay here forever,” she concluded.
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.