WASHINGTON, DC – On January 25, 2022, the American University of Armenia (AAU), together with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), hosted a panel discussion on the future of higher education in Armenia and the role of the AAU in stimulating support for the development of the country. AAU President Dr. Karin Markides led the conversation on this crucial topic by sharing some of AAU’s latest initiatives, including the university’s efforts to increase AAU Open Education’s role in different provinces of Armenia. This non-academic network of learning/testing centers now also serves as an infrastructure for building public-private-academic partnerships, where students and faculty integrate with stakeholders to find transformative solutions to relevant complex challenges. for prosperity in the provinces. These collaborative environments, called reality labs, attract local governments and community, national and international collaborators. Reality Labs are the juncture where the knowledge and skills of different disciplines and stakeholders integrate to address the specific challenges of a domain. This allows AAU to be the go-to destination for students and faculty from different parts of the world.
Joining the ANCA conversation were Executive Director Aram S. Hamparian, Director of Communications Elizabeth S. Chouldjian and Director of Programs Alex Manoukian, and AAU Director of Communications Narek Ghazaryan. Guests included Dr. Roza Selimyan of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Jirair Ratevosian, Senior Advisor in the Office of the U.S. Coordinator for AIDS Relief and Health Diplomacy (PEPFAR), U.S. Department of State. A number of AAU alumni living in the Washington DC metro area also took part in the lively discussion.
“It’s great to be in Washington DC for different meetings and especially to have the opportunity to hold this important roundtable. I am glad that AAU alumni from different cohorts have managed to join us, which makes this conversation even more meaningful. We are very grateful to ANCA for hosting us,” said Ghazaryan.
Dr. Markides shared with the group the news of his recent appointment as President of the Black Sea Universities Network, discussing the different priorities of the network, including the increased role of the university in raising awareness and efforts to create alliances of universities to improve impact and bridge gaps in society. Access to a vast network of universities over a wider geography and with the UN SDGs will not only benefit AAU, but also Armenia in terms of raising awareness of the country and creating new opportunities for student and teacher exchanges.
The development of Armenia’s higher education system, in the aftermath of the pandemic and war, was also discussed, highlighting the ability to build character and resilience, as well as finding ways to be sensitive to recovery needs. social. The group also discussed the instrumental role played by the AAU in supporting the development of elementary and secondary schools in Armenia. “The AAU mission plays a key role in shaping Armenia’s future. We have a responsibility not only to educate future leaders, but also to collaborate, change mindsets and build capacity in the provinces,” Dr. Markides noted. “AAU is well positioned and committed to its mission of building prosperity and attraction for Armenia. It is in collaboration with various stakeholders that we will be able to accomplish this important task.
The active discussion ended with guests sharing their views and congratulating the AAU on its 30-year journey to achieve an important role in society. The AAU has not only molded great leaders, but has also served as a key link between Armenia and the Diaspora. The university is also implementing a growth plan to serve Armenia as a model of desired resilience.