On November 9, an elite group of business executives, government representatives, and intellectuals attended a reception at the American University of Armenia’s Akian Art Gallery to learn more about AUA’s programs, opportunities, challenges, and vision for the future. The atmosphere was jubilant as a large crowd of st udents gathered in front of AUA’s main entrance to greet the guests and usher them inside the Akian Gallery, following a tour of the campus. AUA President Armen Der Kiureghian and VP of Operations Ashot Ghazaryan delivered speeches welcoming the guests, alongside AUA Trustees Vasken Yacoubian and Adam Kablanian.
AUA invited local Armenian business leaders and other influential members of the community as part of an ongoing effort to engage them as partners in building the continuously growing university, eliciting both their technical and financial support. President Der Kiureghian spoke about AUA’s wide-ranging impact throughout Armenia, and the legacy of individual and corporate donations that has helped ensure the university’s successful growth. He highlighted the long-standing support of its diasporan Armenian donors, who have helped finance the university’s endowment fund, scholarship fund, and operational budget. Diasporan benefactors have furthermore enabled AUA to heavily subsidize tuition, making an AUA education accessible to a wide group of students.
Vice President Ashot Ghazaryan expressed hope for future cooperation between the university, potential employers and the government, underlining the crucial need to expand AUA’s internship program. He also introduced the 100 Pillars of AUA campaign, which launched globally earlier this year. The 100 Pillars will be the title given to 100 benefactors who pledge to support the mission of AUA with an unrestricted gift of $10,000 per year for five years.
Unrestricted gifts are the most important donations to AUA as they provide the university the maximum flexibility to seize opportunities and address unforeseen challenges as they arise. Such donations also improve the quality of campus life in a number of possible ways. As AUA grows, unrestricted gifts can help meet the surge in need for student financial aid; or they may help AUA recruit and retain international faculty who are leaders in their fields.
“The goal of the 100 Pillars project is to support the university and its students’ development,” said Mr. Ghazaryan. “We want to support our smart and capable students so they can study with no obstacles. AUA’s objective is to bring together successful businessmen and donors who are concerned about Armenia's future and who want to make sure that high-quality education is available to our youth. This is the only way to ensure a bright future for Armenia, a future that is formed around a nucleus of educated and skillful young professionals. Our young people are building the country’s present and bear responsibility for its future.”
To date, over 30 benefactors from around the world have joined the 100 Pillars of AUA, including local Armenian business leaders Arsen Ghazaryan (President of the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen), Samvel Mayrapetyan (businessman and entrepreneur), and Roland Danielyan (Director of Informatic Solution). While there is a precedent for local Armenian support at AUA, the new endowment fund created by its alumni is a most welcome development that underscores the strong commitment to supporting the university and the admirable spirit of giving back on the part of influential local Armenians who are actively contributing to Armenia’s successful development.