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Teaching in the Homeland

Gor Nazaryan

AGBU is a global platform, and I feel proud to be a part of this organization. This community is so important, not just professionally but personally.

It’s tough to imagine AGBU Scholarship recipient Gor Nazaryan as a shy schoolkid in Yerevan who would turn bright red when teachers called on him and once failed a public speaking course. Now a charismatic public representative for Teach For Armenia, Nazaryan spends his days networking with and recruiting future teachers and leaders, empowering underserved communities of rural Armenia.

In this interview, Gor Nazaryan discusses his vocation for education and the surprising ways in which studying in Germany and working in IT prepared him for what seems to be a perfect role for him at Teach For Armenia, recruiting educators to teach future generations in rural Armenia.  

How has your experience prepared you for your current position in Teach For Armenia?

“As a shy teenager in Yerevan, I envisioned working in medicine field.  But I quickly learned that STEM subjects were difficult for me, and I had a passion to work with people. So, I switched gears and studied International Relations at Yerevan State University with dreams of making change across the world.

After a year in Germany, I received an AGBU scholarship to major in Asian Studies at the German University of Duisburg Essen. With intentions to gain expertise in the East Asian region, I hoped to eventually return to Armenia to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While in school, I saw a lack of educational opportunities and careers in rural Armenia. Prompted by this discovery, I founded ‘Youth For Future,’ an NGO aimed at providing career and informative resources to Armenian adolescents.

In 2016, however, I returned to Armenia, and switched my career to the corporate sector. After helping with the family restaurant business, in 2017, I joined the sales team at Joomag, a digital publishing platform based in Armenia’s growing tech center, Yerevan. While also freelancing on IT projects, I got a message from a Teach For Armenia HR Director about the position of Recruitment Manager. After one year with Teach For Armenia, I’ve already found the ideal position for me where I can influence education in Armenian communities, where children will not be limited in their educational opportunities or career preferences, as was with me.”

How does Teach For Armenia engage with and impact the Armenian diaspora?

“Diasporans can share these experiences of rural Armenia in their respective communities. It’s a mutually beneficial program where you can learn, get mentored, receive financial assistance and get an MA in teaching, but also have access to the global network of Teach For All. On the other hand, Diasporans can bring their knowledge and skills from all over the world and apply in Armenia.

Reaching the diaspora aligns with Teach For Armenia’s organizational priorities to catalyze a movement that will bring a change to the educational system. Children – no matter where they’re from or their socioeconomic status – are born with the capacity to learn. We want to build a critical awareness about the needs and opportunities of schools and communities in rural Armenian regions.

Teach For All hosts an annual global conference with over 500 attendees that is locally rooted but globally informed. In October 2019, Armenia proudly hosted this conference where we gathered teachers, students, volunteers, supporters, and mentors from other countries with the ‘Teach For All’ network partner. 

At Teach For Armenia, we know this is a great opportunity for diasporans to come to Armenia and establish a meaningful connection to the country and make a lasting impact.

At Teach For Armenia, Teacher-Leaders carry with them an understanding of potential in the educational system. There is so much possibility in the diaspora, and the teacher-leaders have the expertise to contribute to Armenian schools. There is no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ – they just need to apply their skills to a new context. Diasporan Armenians can act as a bridge, connecting rural communities to the world.”

How has your experience with AGBU influenced you?

“During my time in Germany, I connected with other European recipients of AGBU scholarships and joined the greater AGBU family. It was very motivational for me to receive this scholarship, where historically being Armenian has created limitations rather than opportunities. AGBU changed that.

Knowing the history and role of AGBU in Armenia and diasporan communities, I feel proud to be a part of and support this organization. It made me realize the importance of community, which I carried over to my role in Teach For Armenia.

AGBU is a global platform, and I feel proud to be a part of this organization. This community is so important, not just professionally but personally, and AGBU helped provide me with that.”

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January 14, 2020