Margarita Dadyan: The Enlightening Superpower of AUA
Contributed by Margarita Dadyan (BA EC ‘20)
During the 1990s’ dark and cold years in Armenia, my parents that wholeheartedly believed in the enlightening power of education were able to continue their studies, albeit with many difficulties, and obtain their bachelor’s degrees. There was no transportation in those years, so my parents had to go to university on foot. For them, every walk along Baghramyan Avenue was a pleasure looked up at the AUA building as a colorful beacon of hope for the future with sudden heartwarming realization that their children would one day have the opportunity to study there. Hope for a better tomorrow was a moving power for every Armenian in the ‘90s when the country was challenged by many social and economic problems, but even more by ethical issues. Despite all of these difficulties, AUA sparked hope in my parents even though they did not attend it.
I don’t remember exactly when I started my own unique relationship with AUA but I know that I had heard about AUA only once or twice before I was 13. Then, one of my classmate’s mom told us that AUA had designed a special English language course for adolescent learners. I remember the level of excitement in my family at that time. I immediately stopped taking private English classes and registered for those classes at AUA. This is where I was not only taught English but also learned how to make slides, use email, do presentations, work in groups and debate. The most important part was the unique chance to do the final class presentation at AUA’s new building using our slides and projecting them on the big screen. That was unbelievable and an experience that made me love public speaking so much that in my sophomore year at AUA I initiated the Speak-up public speaking club. This is why the concept of Open Education for everyone is so important.
Right from the beginning, I had many expectations from AUA and when I received my admissions letter, I was both happy and worried that, at some point in my journey at AUA, I will get disappointed. As a senior student now, I am proud to assert that it never happened though there were many instances that could have led to that. I was at AUA at the time of the revolution and many street protests preceding that, in which AUA’s position seemed to be the fairest to me. Looking back, I can claim that I also challenged AUA many times when negotiating and eventually changing Student Council’s Constitution and Electoral Code or sending very ambitious event proposals as a club leader.
Above all, I am proud of my University. AUA taught me the importance of integrity and being a part of a community. It taught me how to help my fellow friends. It taught me to be open-hearted and open-minded. It taught me to have clear and critical thinking. It gave me a lot. It transformed and made me a better person and a better citizen of my country. Now, I understand why my parents were convinced in the enlightening superpower of AUA and put so much hope in it.