Areg Barseghyan
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Areg Barseghyan (BAEC ’24): Continuing the AUA Family Legacy

2 min read

I am a senior at the American University of Armenia (AUA) preparing to graduate in June. At AUA, I studied English and communications. However, I also took many Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) courses, and I will share with you the reasons why in this article.

As an AUA student, I am not the first generation to attend this university. My roots go deep, back to the start of the University, when my step-grandfather, Dr. Nikol Shahgaldian, first created and taught a major, PSIA, at AUA. 

Dr. Nikol Shagaldian (L)

Dr. Nikol Shahgaldian (L)

With an invitation from the first president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, my grandfather came to Armenia from the U.S. in 1991 to help this country grow and glow. He eventually became the advisor to the first president. Working together, they accomplished a great deal. However, their most significant accomplishment was winning the First Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Sadly, I didn’t see my grandfather as much as I wanted, since we did not live in the same country. Yet whenever I did see him, he was always smiling and trying to make those around him laugh. I remember he loved the song “I Will Survive.” Whenever we would play that song, he would start dancing, and then, placing his hands on his belly, he would say, “Stop the song! My guts are coming out!” Another story I remember was when Barack Obama became the United States president. He and I were together, and he started running, yelling happily.

My grandfather was a charismatic man, and he spoke more than five languages. He had made a little library at home where he would keep hundreds of books in several languages. I never saw him without a book or newspaper in hand. My grandfather would always work on bettering himself, whether through reading or watching TV, it didn’t matter; he would always expect more of himself. In that way, he inspired those around him to expect more of themselves, too.

My grandfather would sometimes talk about AUA, sharing stories with my family and me about his early days at the University. He would tell us how good this institution was, saying, “If you ever go back to Armenia, please attend AUA.” So, I did. Like my grandfather, I came to Armenia to help this country grow and glow. Unfortunately, my grandfather never had the chance to see me at AUA, but I know he would have been proud to see me attending AUA and taking PSIA courses. Walking through the hallways of AUA’s Main Building and knowing that my grandfather was walking here a few decades ago gives me goosebumps. This feeling is impossible to convey.

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