American University of Armenia: A Groundbreaking Year in Review

The AUA's Avedisian building

For the American University of Armenia, 2013 has been an historic year.

When the university was originally founded in 1991, its leaders were intellectual and geopolitical pioneers, bringing an American education to the former Soviet Union, where no American-accredited university had ever gone.

The American University of Armenia was founded through a unique partnership with the University of California, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Armenian government, and accredited through the prestigious Western Association of Schools and Colleges.*

Since that time, the American University of Armenia has built and consistently strengthened academic and cultural bridges between the United States, Armenia and the broader region, fostering a passion for intellectual freedom and inquiry, and educating graduate students from across the world.

Now, the American University of Armenia has broken new ground once again.

AUA students at a lecture hall

Expanding the Scope of a Global Education
This fall, the American University of Armenia has matriculated its first ever undergraduate class, marking another monumental step forward for the university and the intellectual discourse between the United States, Armenia and the culturally diverse region that surrounds it.

This new undergraduate program will drastically expand the American University of Armenia’s educational scope, allowing the university to reach an even broader group of ambitious scholars.

University leaders say that the new program will help them instill a new generation of young people with practical lifelong learning skills and the knowledge necessary to think critically and creatively about the challenges of tomorrow’s changing world.

“There are more students in our halls and classrooms than ever before,” said Dr. Bruce M. Boghosian, president of the American University of Armenia. “This will help us better fulfill our mission, which is to address the needs of Armenia and the surrounding region for sustainable development. We want to create an educational setting that values and develops academic excellence, free inquiry, integrity, scholarship, leadership and service to society.”

The program will also enhance the university’s efforts to connect young minds from all over the world, and empower them to become the next generation of leaders in Armenia.

Boghosian says that, after so much hard work by so many university stakeholders to establish the undergraduate program, watching the program come to fruition has been hugely rewarding.

“Seeing these young undergraduate students exploring the campus and attending classes for the first time has been a profoundly moving experience for all of us,” Boghosian said. “We always strive to enhance intellectual and cultural bonds between students and faculty from across the world. We are proud to see that happening on our campus every day, and we know that our new undergraduate program will help us make our educational experience even stronger.”

AUA students in a classroom

Bringing Change to Communities Across the Region
The matriculation of its first undergraduate class isn’t the only progress the university has made this year. The American University of Armenia has continued to engage actively in philanthropic efforts that provide underserved students access to educational resources; empower entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs; help to protect endangered regional wildlife habitats; and contribute to many other critical efforts across the region.

The Turpanjian Rural Development Program hosted by the university, for example, encourages economic development in rural areas of Armenia by providing entrepreneurs education, access to funding and support to start businesses and create jobs. So far, the program has helped 250 entrepreneurs actively operate businesses and contributed to the creation of more than 500 jobs.

Another of the university’s programs provides tuition-free college preparation and career development courses for Syrian-Armenians whose access to educational resources has been substantially hindered by the ongoing crisis in Syria.

In addition, the American University of Armenia’s Acopian Center for the Environment fosters a strong commitment to environmental protection in Armenia by working to strengthen crucial wildlife habitats, educating students about biodiversity and collaborating on conservation initiatives with environmental groups across the region.

A Tradition of Excellence in Graduate Education
The university also continues to provide the top-notch graduate programs that have made it a unique institution in Armenia for the last 20 years. Specifically, the university offers programs across a wide array of academic fields, including in Business and Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Engineering, Public Health and the Environment.

But most importantly, whether in the context of its new undergraduate program, its elite graduate courses or its critical philanthropic work, the American University of Armenia continues to provide a nurturing environment for a global community of students to learn and grow.

“Every day when you go out, you’re just surrounded by these youthful people, part of the change in this country,” said Lilit Markosian, an undergraduate student from California. “I just feel really lucky I get to witness that.”

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia. Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California. Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.

*The American University of Armenia is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001.

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