YEREVAN—The American University of Armenia on Thursday hosted a delegation from the California State Legislature and the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.
The delegation comprised California State Senators Anthony Portantino and Henry Stern, Assembly members Autumn Burke and Evan Low, City of Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan and Clerk Ardashes Kassabian, as well as Andrea Deveau, Senior Vice President of Strategies 360, and Merissa Khachigian, Senior Director of State Government Affairs at Oracle. Leading the delegation were Nora Hovsepian, Chair, and Dickran Khodanian, Communications Coordinator, of the ANCA-Western Region.
AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian received the delegation along with Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes, Vice President of Finance Gevorg Goyunyan, and Vice President of Operations Ashot Ghazaryan, as well as AUA board member Vasken Yacoubian.
President Der Kiureghian briefly introduced the history of the University, after which the delegation toured the campus making stops at the AGBU Papazian Library, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) with its prototyping lab, and the newly constructed Student Union, Faculty Center and Open Amphitheater adjacent to the Paramaz Avedisian Building. The official opening of these AUA campus additions is scheduled for September 25th.
The guests then gathered in the Akian Art Gallery for a working lunch, where President Der Kiureghian made a short presentation on the founding of the University, the degree programs offered, and the research and development centers. AUA deans, program chairs, center directors as well as faculty and students presented highlights about their programs and responded to questions.
“We are very focused on bilateral exchanges, but also on entrepreneurship and technological innovations,” said Senator Henry Stern, who represents Los Angeles, home to about a million Armenians. “It’s amazing to see the the new generation of students at AUA, who are excited about innovating, starting new companies and rebuilding their nation. They don’t have to leave Armenia to come to California to learn, and this is a very good sign for this country. We are going to learn from you, too. It’s not just about learning from us,” added Stern.
“I am here to facilitate the academic partnership and hi-tech initiatives between AUA and the University of California. It’s exciting to be at AUA. The campus is great. I had heard a lot about it over the years and it’s the first time I’m here,” said Senator Anthony Portantino. Portantino recently introduced a successful bill in the California Senate for six full-tuition scholarships at UC Hastings College of Law for AUA graduates.
To recognize Portantino’s efforts and initiatives in supporting Armenia, Artsakh, and AUA, Dr. Der Kiureghian presented the Senator a trophy with the following inscription: “Given to Senator Anthony J. Portantino in appreciation for his support of the Armenian Community in California and the American University of Armenia.”c20
“We are grateful to the Senator for taking the initiative to provide state support to AUA graduates from California, who are admitted at UC Hastings College of the Law. This opens new opportunities for AUA graduates. It also highlights the confidence that the State of California and UC Hastings have for the quality of education at AUA,” said President Der Kiureghian.
Speaking on behalf of ANCA-Western Region, Nora Hovsepian affirmed that “AUA is one of our areas of greatest pride… The purpose of bringing the legislators here today was to show them the reality of AUA and how our collaboration has benefited both sides. We are very happy to be here and are very grateful for the hospitality.”