YEREVAN—The American University of Armenia welcomed a representative delegation from California State Government, Los Angeles County Government and Arizona and Colorado State Legislatures, sponsored by the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region, on Monday.
Led by California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, the delegation included Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chief of Staff to Supervisor Barger Anna Mouradian, Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer, Arizona State Senator Otoniel Navarrete, Colorado State Senator Dominick Moreno, Colorado State Representative Daneya Esgar, as well as ANCA-WR members Nora Hovsepian, Chair, Sako Berberian and Lina Davidian, and Simon Maghakyan.
President Dr. Karin Markides, Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes, Director of Admissions Arina Zohrabian and Director of Communications Narek Ghazaryan welcomed the delegates. Dr. Rhodes briefed the guests on the history of the University and led them through a tour of the AUA campus with stops at the AGBU Papazian Library, the Large Auditorium, and the Student Union, and classrooms in the Paramaz Avedisian Building. A small reception followed at the Akian Art Gallery, during which the group discussed a vision for future collaborations between the University and the states and counties represented.
Joining the delegation at the round table that followed were the Dean of Zaven and Sonia Akian College of Science & Engineering Dr. Aram Hajian, Dean of the Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics Dr. Vache Gabrielyan, Dean of the Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, Dean of General Education Dr. Sharistan Melkonian, Director of AUA Acopian Center for the Environment Alen Amirkhanian; and Professor Gregory Areshian representing the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. During the round table, the attendees gave brief presentations on their respective programs and research centers and proposed points of mutual interest and collaborations.
One of the key topics of discussion was marketing AUA and Armenia as a study abroad destination for students in the U.S. “I hope we can find common goals and see how we can help this country develop further,” said Dr. Markides. She highlighted the importance of collaboration between AUA and the U.S. government to encourage students from the U.S. to study at AUA and experience Armenia’s rich culture.
“It’s very fascinating to see what was built here and the idea that so many years ago the University of California was at the table with the U.S. government to help establish this University and to think that you’re doing everything possible to give students the benefits of the American system of education without leaving the country is just awesome,” noted Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis. Talking about international student mobility opportunities, she added, “I see a lot of interest coming from the Diaspora, especially now when this country is exponentially changing and becoming more attractive for tourism.” In her turn, Lina Davidian of the ANCA expressed willingness to help spread awareness and attract more American students to study at AUA.
The visit concluded with the presentation of a state legislative citation to President Dr. Markides by Lieutenant Governor Kounalaskis stating:
“It gives me immense pleasure to visit the campus of the American University of Armenia, an esteemed institution of higher education which enjoys longstanding and close ties with the public institutions of higher education in the state of California. As a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California and the Board of Trustees of the California State University system, I am particularly mindful of the critical role education plays in the advancement of our common humanity. Progress, prosperity, even civilization itself would not be possible without continual development of the human mind and our unquenchable thirst for more advanced knowledge.”
After reading the citation, the Lieutenant Governor remarked: “We in California are proud to say that, from its earlier days, the American University of Armenia has enjoyed the close, strong, and indispensable support of the University of California. It is my fervent hope that this cooperation will continue, unabated, for the benefit of all those associated with both universities.”
She continued by pointing out that the motto of the University of California is Fiat Lux, Let There Be Light. “In that spirit, let the brightest minds of Armenia, here at the American University of Armenia, continue to light the path forward for this beautiful country and, indeed for all of us,” concluded Kounalaskis.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia 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.