Media Lab Opening
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Grand Opening of the AUA Media Lab

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — On June 6, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted the official opening and ribbon cutting of the AUA Media Lab for promoting civil discourse in Armenia. Established through a $813,135 grant from the Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Lab aims to strengthen democratic culture, promote the development of a civic press, foster citizen engagement in social media, and advocate for the proper discernment of information. 

The event was presided by AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian and attended by Chairman of the AUA Board of Trustees Dr. Lawrence Pitts, trustees, deans, faculty, members of the AUA community, and USAID Mission Director John Allelo.  

“During my first presidency, in 2012, I had the honor of presiding over the official renovation of our AGBU Papazian Library, which was facilitated by critical USAID support. Throughout the ensuing years, we have inaugurated new buildings and other facilities across AUA with USAID funding, and now, during my second presidency, I am once again presiding over the opening of a USAID-sponsored project: the AUA Media Lab. On behalf of the entire AUA community, I would like to express my deep gratitude to ASHA/USAID for facilitating this milestone development in the University’s history,” said Dr. Boghosian.

At USAID, we are deeply committed to the development of the media sector in Armenia. Since the establishment of the Mission in Armenia, USAID programs have been critical for promoting journalistic standards, combating misinformation, and fostering the evolution of quality journalism in the country. It is also through initiatives like the Media Lab that we hope to promote positive change, empower young journalists, and offer a platform for independent voices,” said Allelo. 

With cutting-edge equipment and tools, the Media Lab will serve as a medium for pinpointing target areas of media intervention most crucial for the industry. The initiative will promote the co-creation of well-grounded and reliable approaches to curtail pervasive misinformation and disinformation that corrupt the media landscape and falsely amplify narratives that undermine the legitimacy of democracy. Attendees were highly impressed while touring the facilities: the Lab features a multipurpose room, podcast room, audio control room, and video control room, all equipped with state-of-the-art technological tools.

With a focus on strengthening American values and best practices and catalyzing collaboration with civil society, the Media Lab will serve as a platform for fostering public trust, tolerance, and empathy among various communities. This is expected to improve the media landscape and the level of civic engagement, as well as nurture civic skills that advance an effective and results-driven reform agenda.  

Prior to the official opening of the Media Lab’s physical space, the Lab has already formed a team that has been operating independently since June 2023. In February, the Lab launched the “Focus Series” podcast, which has already featured interviews with invited guests like Pulitzer Prize-Winning journalist Graham Smith. The Media Lab team also conducted a focus group discussion on July 26, 2023 to gather insights from local journalists, media organizations, and representatives of local universities regarding the operations of the Media Lab.

AUA would like to recognize ArchiDutch LLC for the Media Lab’s architectural design. The construction and finishing works were implemented by Gravity LLC. 

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.

Media Coverage:

[Asbarez] AUA Celebrates Grand Opening of Media Lab

[Hetq] Հայաստանի ամերիկյան համալսարանում բացվել է Մեդիա լաբ

[Mediamax] Ամերիկյան համալսարանի Մեդիա լաբը՝ հանուն քաղաքացիական դիսկուրսի խթանման

[Mediamax] Fostering civil discourse: American University of Armenia announces the opening of Media Lab