AGBU New York and Yerevan Summer Internship Program alumnus Alexander Kazanjian is passionate about contributing to the success of Armenians globally and motivating other young Armenians to do the same. Kazanjian found a way to help create opportunities for Armenian students by co-founding the AGBU London Summer Internship Program. He continues devoting his time and efforts to the successful continuation of the program. Kazanjian holds a bachelor’s degree from the University College London and works in the portfolio solutions team at Aon Benfield, a division of Aon PLC.
All the talent is within the Armenian community. We just need to help each other get it out. My door is always open to anyone who needs help.
How did you get involved with AGBU? I participated in AGBU internship programs over two consecutive summers, first in New York and then in Yerevan—each one better than the last. The program had a massive impact on my life and I wanted to replicate the experience in London. In 2015, Camilio Azzouz and I started the London Summer Internship Program (LSIP). It is currently in its third year—we absolutely love it.
What is your biggest takeaway from NYSIP and YSIP? I met Armenian professionals from around the world through the New York Summer Internship Program (NYSIP) and the Yerevan Summer Internship Program (YSIP) and bonded with them over three months. I speak to most of my friends from these programs almost every day. The internship program has an enormous impact on the careers of some alumni, while others leave with a great network—for me it was the latter.
LSIP was an extension of this experience. It aims to give Armenian students not only a great internship experience in one of the best cities in the world, but also a wide network. I have also made a few incredible friends among the interns, and it feels like a family that just keeps on growing.
What is your favorite LSIP event? There are so many wonderful memories from the LSIP annual farewell dinners. The annual evenings for the LSIP participants with Vartkess Knadjian, the CEO of Backes & Strauss, who has served as a terrific mentor for interns, are also outstanding.
How important is your Armenian heritage to you? I consistently think about what I can do to keep the Armenian heritage alive. This is extremely important to me. If Armenian youth can do something—small or big—to uphold their heritage and motivate others, then it is enough to keep it thriving.
I would also call on young Armenians to think how they, in their own right, can help other Armenians succeed—regardless of the differences in their definitions of success. All the talent is within the Armenian community. We just need to help each other get it out. My door is always open to anyone who needs help and I think everyone else should have their door open, too, even if only slightly.
Banner illustration by Luis Tinoco