• Dr. Yervant Zorian (left), founder and president of AGBU’s Armenian Virtual College, introduces AVC’s newest programs at a global forum, at which Armenia’s Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan also spoke.

November 29, 2012 | Press Releases

AGBU’s Armenian Virtual College Hosts First Online Graduation and Announces Exciting New Developments at Global Forum

Delegates and Guests from Around the World Participate in Event during 87th General Assembly

Last month, during its very first online graduation ceremony, AGBU’s Armenian Virtual College (AVC) awarded diplomas to its newest class of graduates.

On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, AVC, the world’s first accredited Armenian distance-learning program, held its annual global forum, celebrated its third anniversary and announced exciting new expansions to the program. Though the event was hosted in Yerevan to coincide with AGBU’s 87th General Assembly, it was attended not only by the organization’s delegates visiting Armenia, but also by hundreds of students, online education specialists and guests from leading organizations based all around the world, who participated remotely. They were greeted by Armenia’s Education and Science Minister Armen Ashotyan, who delivered a welcoming address, as well as by Dr. Yervant Zorian, AGBU Central Board Member and the founder and president of AVC, who facilitated the event.

As Mr. Ashotyan commented, by developing new technologies and providing courses in language studies, culture and history, AVC has significantly changed the educational landscape in Armenia. He described AVC’s positive impact, stating, “[Prior to AVC] the application of high technology in education in Armenia was far from perfect. We used information technology in public education; however, even then, Armenian universities were not equipped to put IT possibilities to full use. In this respect, the Armenian Virtual College is the best higher education institution in Armenia.” He also noted the opportunities AVC brings to students around the world by allowing participants to choose from seven languages of instruction: Western and Eastern Armenian, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. As he remarked, “Certainly, there is also the issue of preserving the Armenian identity, [and] I am very grateful that the Ministry of Education and Science now has a serious partner that helps us meet the education needs of our diaspora.” Mr. Ashotyan further noted that AVC is currently in the process of receiving its state licensing, which will soon make it the first virtual degree program to be recognized as a higher education institute in Armenia.

Dr. Zorian then acknowledged AVC’s newest graduates, who joined a network of more than 2,000 students from 63 countries – a community that has grown rapidly since AVC was launched in 2009. The graduates had the opportunity to congratulate each other and share inspiring stories from their online studies. Eliz Partamian of Uruguay, now an AVC alumna of the Armenian Language Department, reflected on her positive experience, sharing, “Over the past three years, AVC has carried out unprecedented work by bringing Armenian language and culture into homes across the globe…as AVC graduates, we are compelled now more than ever to pass the knowledge we acquired from our instructors on to younger students and encourage them to follow our path.” Her words, and those of her classmates, were met with praise by Archbishop Vazken Mirzakhanyan, Primate of Georgian Diocese, who was also present at the forum and emphasized the important role AVC plays in bridging the Armenian communities. AVC has held a presentation in the past in Tbilisi, which has encouraged enrollment within Georgia.

Throughout the conference, Dr. Zorian discussed the ways AVC will continue to bridge those Armenian communities and individuals, unveiling a number of exciting initiatives. To keep up with the technological advancements and meet the changing expectations of today’s modern students, AVC courses will be available on mobile devices, including mobile Apple iOS devices, using an especially designed AVC application. Dr. Zorian also revealed, “Those who aren’t able to enroll as AVC students, but would like to learn about Armenian culture and history will be able to access a new AVC Multimedia Podcast Series,” playing both samples of the podcast and demonstrating the new AVC application for Apple devices.

Moreover, Dr. Zorian explained, “While AVC has always benefited participants of all ages, it will now specifically target youth with the creation of AVC Kids program.” This program will feature courses on Armenian language and chess, cultivating the talents of the youngest generation of Armenians and helping the Armenian nation maintain its strong standing in the world of chess.

To see additional photos from AGBU’s 87th General Assembly, please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/agbu/collections/72157631913503978/

The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian diaspora. Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians.

To learn more visit www.agbu.org.

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