AUA to Celebrate 25 Years of Achievement During Gala In Beverly Hills

AUA 25th Anniversary
AUA 25th Anniversary

AUA 25th Anniversary

A Tribute To The Founders And Supporters Of One Of The Armenian Diaspora’s Leading Educational Endeavors In Armenia

LOS ANGELES- The American University of Armenia (AUA) will host its 25th anniversary gala evening at the landmark Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Saturday, November 19, 2016. Over 500 supporters of the AUA will attend the gala, paying tribute to AUA founders – Mihran & Elizabeth Agbabian, Armen & Nelly Der Kiureghian, Stepan (in memoriam) & Seta Karamardian, as well as the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Government of the Republic of Armenia, and the University of California (UC).

Longtime AUA supporters and board members Zaven P. Akian and Sinan Sinanian are co-chairing the event. A much anticipated keynote address will be delivered by philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan, whose wife Veronika Zonabend currently serves as an AUA trustee. The visionary couple is known worldwide for a series of notable projects launched in Armenia, including the creation of the Wings of Tatev cableway in southern Armenia, the establishment of United World College in Dilijan, as well as the 100 LIVES initiative in commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

Among the evening’s highlights will be a performance delivered by world-renowned soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, known for sharing the stage with some of the world’s leading orchestras. Bayrakdarian is recognized for her vocals on the Grammy-award winning soundtrack of the film The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, and on the soundtrack of Atom Egoyan’s Ararat; a trance music collaboration with electronica band “Delerium”, which garnered yet another Grammy nomination, and her Gemini nominated film Long Journey Home documenting her first visit to her homeland Armenia.

A special appearance will be made by former U.S. ambassador to Armenia John M. Evans (2004-2006). Evans, author of the acclaimed Truth Held Hostage, chronicled his personal and political dilemma concerning the truth of Armenian history and the untruth of US government protocol in the name of foreign policy politics.

Eric Esrailian, producer for Kirk Kerkorian’s production company, Survival Pictures, will also take the stage to present guests with a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s first film, The Promise. The Armenian Genocide themed motion picture, directed by Academy Award-winning director, Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, The Boxer), premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2016. The all-star cast of the film includes Golden Globe Award nominee Oscar Isaac, Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Christian Bale, Charlotte Le Bon and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

The 25th anniversary theme ‘More Than An Education – A Commitment’ is reflective of AUA’s crucial role in providing world-class teaching, research, and service programs that prepare students and enable faculty and researchers to address the needs of Armenia and the surrounding region for sustainable development. The American University of Armenia has evolved into one of the country’s most esteemed institutions and is one of the Diaspora’s most important investments in the homeland. AUA has successfully created a setting that values and develops academic excellence, free inquiry, integrity, scholarship, leadership, and service to society.

The establishment of an American university in Armenia was conceived in the aftermath of the 1988 Armenian Earthquake. AUA opened its doors to 101 students on the same day the Republic of Armenia was declared on September 21, 1991. Today, the University offers a wide array of graduate and undergraduate (since 2013) programs to over 2,000 students each year. Parallel to its academic programs, AUA has many established several centers and programs, including the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC), the Turpanjian Center for Policy Analysis, the Acopian Center for the Environment, the Turpanjian Rural Development Program, the cutting-edge AGBU Papazian Library, as well as AUA Extension courses throughout Armenia and Karabakh.

This significant quarter century anniversary reaffirms AUA’s commitment to serving Armenia and the region by continuing to provide a positive model in the transition to a market economy and democratic style of government. AUA will always be home to over 2,000 graduates over the past 25 years, who today play a constructive role in the social and economic development of a free and independent Armenia.
Net proceeds from the AUA 25th Anniversary Gala will support critical scholarship programs. For additional information regarding gala tickets and AUA sponsorship opportunities, please contact Matt at or (510) 925-4282 or visit

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 US-style education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.


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