President of Franklin University Switzerland Visits AUA

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On May 29, Dr. Samuel Martín-Barbero, president of Franklin University Switzerland (FUS), visited the American University of Armenia (AUA) to discuss potential collaboration opportunities and possible student exchange programs. Welcoming Dr. Martín-Barbero were AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian and AUA President Emeritus Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian.

Both Franklin University Switzerland and AUA are members of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU), a consortium of independent, non-for-profit, U.S.-accredited higher education institutions located outside the United States and based on the American liberal arts model. AAICU provides a distinctive forum for sharing best practices in international higher education, facilitates international and intercultural perspectives through student and faculty exchanges, and promotes broader awareness of the educational, economic, social, and cultural contributions of member institutions to the regions of the world in which they are located. In April 2023, then Interim President Dr. Der Kiureghian and Dr. Martín-Barbero met at the annual meeting of AAICU in Rome, where the FUS president expressed interest in a potential visit to AUA. In April 2024, Dr. Boghosian also met Dr. Martín-Barbero at AAICU’s annual meeting in Cairo, where they exchanged information about their respective universities. 

The FUS president’s visit began with a meeting where Dr. Boghosian described AUA’s history and programs. This was followed by a tour of the University facilities. Dr. Martín-Barbero showed particular interest in the history display in AUA’s Agbabian Hall, as he was surprised to learn that Dr. Der Kiureghian was in fact a co-founder of the University. He spoke about the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and suggested that AUA become a member of this global membership organization dedicated to advancing the vitality and democratic purposes of undergraduate liberal education. 

As a member of the editorial board of AAC&U’s Liberal Education Magazine, Dr. Martín-Barbero proposed the potential publication of an article about AUA in the magazine following the release of Dr. Der Kiureghian’s upcoming book about the University. Overall, Dr. Martín-Barbero expressed great fascination at the circumstances surrounding AUA’s founding. His visit concluded with plans to continue discussions on future collaboration opportunities. 

“An unforgettable experience to be hosted by the co-founder of AUA and Professor Emeritus of University of California, Berkeley Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, an exceptional educational and national builder,” wrote Dr. Martín-Barbero in a LinkedIn post. “Thanks very much to AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian and Gayane Tevosyan for such a warm welcome, stimulating discussions, and inspiring visit to your Yerevan campus.”

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 and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.