YEREVAN ‒ In ongoing efforts to solidify a partnership with the University of California system and the American University of Armenia (AUA), Dr. Gene D. Block, Chancellor of UCLA, and Dr. Eric Esrailian, co-chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, made an official visit to the AUA campus on Wednesday, September 19.
On an official invitation by President Armen Sarkissian to explore potential areas of collaboration between UCLA and higher educational institutions in Armenia, the distinguished guests were greeted by AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes, Vice President of Operations Ashot Ghazaryan, Vice President of Finance Gevorg Goyunyan, as well as two members of the AUA Board of Trustees, Vasken Yacoubian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Armenia, and Dr. Yervant Zorian, Chief Architect
and Fellow at Synopsys and President of Synopsys Armenia.
After learning about the history and accomplishments of AUA, the UCLA delegation took a tour of the campus, including the AGBU Papazian Library, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) and its prototyping lab, as well as the newly constructed Student Union, Faculty Center and Amphitheater. Throughout the afternoon, participating members discussed areas of partnership, such as student and faculty exchanges, development of education and nursing degree programs, joint research projects in digital humanities, and the establishment of an Institute for Interdisciplinary Armenian Studies. College deans, program chairs and directors of research centers also joined the meeting, making presentations on degree programs, research center projects and offering ideas in order to advance AUA’s educational mission and generate new opportunities for partnerships with UCLA.
“We appreciated the thorough description of AUA’s programs and vision,” said Dr. Esrailian. “Thank you for being a shining educational light for the global Armenian nation and we look forward to exploring further collaborations between UCLA and AUA.”
Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, President and co-founder of AUA, said it was a privilege to welcome the esteemed delegation from a UC campus.
“As an affiliate of the University of California, and pursuant to a collaboration agreement with UCLA that was signed in 2015, we have had a number of very fruitful joint efforts, including a symposium on identity and hosting UCLA doctoral students as researchers and lecturers at AUA,” said Dr. Der Kiureghian, an Emeritus Professor of UC Berkeley. “We hope that these collaborations and engagement will be further enhanced as we strengthen our ties.”
“It is a great honor to visit this magnificent university,” said Dr. Block. “Its inspirational origins along with its connection to the University of California and with UCLA in particular warms my heart.”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.
I always closely follow the news of the progress and new development at AUA. As a former academic administrator with 19 years of academic leadership experience and a seasoned educator and researcher I am impressed with the vision, persistence and that resulted in the establishment of this great university. I take my hat off to Armen. Please keep me posted with these news. It gives me a pleasure to always share these great success stories with other colleagues. What you have done is an exemplary model that our community should learn from; how to serve the humanity and the global community.