Alumni Success Story: Anahit Avanesyan (LL.M. ’04) Connects the Dots
Many people view their lives as a linear sequence of events. Anahit Avanesyan (LL.M. ’04), the American University of Armenia (AUA) alumna, breaks this stereotype and proves that life is all about how we shape it for ourselves. With a degree in law, Avanesyan currently works as the First Deputy Minister of Health. This story helps us understand her mindset and the factors contributing to her success.
Anahit Avanesyan sees AUA as an institution that enables future professionals to apply the theoretical knowledge they gain throughout their studies in real-life practice. “AUA helped me apply theoretical knowledge in practice and armed me with the skills I could make use of in any sphere I would choose to work in. If you recognize the importance of soft skills, such as effective oral and written communication, negotiation, reasoning and so on, then studying at AUA is probably one of the best decisions you will ever make,” she asserts.
Currently, Avanesyan serves as the First Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia. In that capacity, she is responsible for making policy recommendations and building the network of relationships with various units within the government and private sector organizations. Her advice to young professionals is to be proactive and find ways to make their university years as productive as possible. She underlines the importance of finding a cause in which one deeply believes and investing in it wholly. To her, keeping an open mind and leading an active social life are essential to building a successful future.
Avanesyan says there is a common misconception that a person should focus only on his/her field of expertise. She encourages current students to take courses outside their chosen field of study, to make new connections, volunteer, and be creative. “The younger we are, the easier it is to be flexible and explore the diverse opportunities available to us for our future career,” she advocates. “Working in the same job at a workplace throughout one’s life is the path currently expected of college graduates. With the understanding that other paths may be better suited for some, it is important to broaden the accepted trajectories for future graduates. Student involvement in activism and other activities unrelated to their studies can open up more possibilities for their future. Additionally, the development of interpersonal skills sheds light on one’s strengths and helps unleash their full potential. Each person has the sense of agency to become someone in high demand in a competitive job market.”
Avanesyan gives the example of using one’s leadership skills in pursuing a purpose as great as the advancement of one’s own country: “The situation caused by the global pandemic is an excellent opportunity to show how we can make use of our leadership skills in the most effective way. Many decisions are made regularly and the skills and experience one has gained through active participation in civil and even political events within a larger network come in handy for making informed decisions. Although practice shows that AUA graduates don’t face any problems finding their place in the local and/or international job market, this is a point worth keeping in mind when choosing to work for the government or taking any other lead position elsewhere.”
Avanesyan does a great job connecting the dots between each individual decision and its consequences. She concludes our conversation on a positive note, recommending everyone to do their part in creating the bright and happy milieu they would want to experience. “Every word and action matters, especially in times when there is a lot of uncertainty and doubt,” she says. “Stay alert and make smart choices!”
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.