American University of Armenia
|American University of Armenia|
|Affiliations||University of California|
The American University of Armenia (AUA) (Armenian: Հայաստանի ամերիկյան համալսարան) is a private, nonsectarian, independent university founded in 1991 in Yerevan, Armenia. Its creation inspired in the aftermath of the 1988 Armenian earthquake, the university is the first Armenian institution modeled on Western-style higher education, committed to teaching, research, and service.
The university currently offers instruction leading to a master's degree in the following eight fields of study: business administration, industrial engineering and systems management, computer and information science, political science, public health, law, comparative legal studies, and teaching English as a foreign language. By offering these programs in English, AUA strives to become accessible to qualified individuals from other countries in the region.
Qualified students may complete an interdisciplinary Certificate in Environmental Conservation and Research. In preparation for the academic program, AUA offers its students instruction in the English language and in computer applications.
Following the 1988 Armenian earthquake, a number of earthquake engineers from the West arrived to Armenia to help in the reconstruction of the disaster zone. In 1989, Yuri Sarkissian, then rector of the Yerevan Polytechnic Institute, suggested to Armen Der Kiureghian, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, that an Armenian technical university based on the Western model ought to be established to foster educational progress in Armenia.
The proposition was narrowed to the express goal of creating a graduate university on the American model. Der Kiureghian and another earthquake engineer, Mihran Agbabian, Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California, set out to realize the goal. A number of American and Armenian academics supported the concept of the university. Der Kiureghian and Agbabian, along with the late Stepan Karamardian, formerly Dean of the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Riverside, presented their proposal for the university to the Armenian government.
Two institutions were noteworthy in realizing the establishment of AUA: the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the University of California (UC). In addition, the Armenian government—in particular the Ministry of Higher Education and Sciences (now the Ministry of Education and Science)—offered financial and logistical support for the university from the start in the face of the turbulent political and economic circumstances in Armenia from the period of 1989–1991. The AGBU underwrote a significant portion of the operational funding required to establish AUA. When the UC was asked for its assistance in founding the university, David P. Gardner, then president of the University of California, appointed a task force led by then Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs William R. Frazer to evaluate the possibility of an affiliation between AUA and UC. After the task force's visit to Armenia in July 1990, the Regents of the University of California voted unanimously in favor of an affiliation with the university. Through this affiliation, UC provides technical support and experience for the growth of AUA and collaborates with AUA in preparing a cadre of faculty for the university. When on September 21, 1991 Armenia declared its independence, AUA began instruction with 101 students. With UC's assistance, AUA achieved full accreditation under U.S. standards by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in August 2006.
AUA Paramaz Avedisian Building
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On October 6, 2005, it was announced that Vartkes and Hasmig Barsam were donating the Hye Business Suites Hotel (opened in 1990) to the AUA. During the ceremony, Vartkes Barsam stated that the Armenian Business Hotel Complex is delivered to the management of the American University of Armenia (AUA) for the purpose of assisting the program on enrollment of regional and foreign students; previously, the Board of Trustees of the AUA Corporation resolved to rename the suites to the AUA Vartkes and Hasmig Barsam Building. With financial assistance of the USAID's organization "American Schools and Hospitals Abroad," the AUA made an investment of about $300,000 in order to repair and technically reequip the building.
The Papazian Library came into existence in 1991 when AUA was established. It is named after the Papazian family, a generous benefactor of the American University of Armenia. For the past 19 years the Library has evolved at a rapid pace, implementing contemporary methods of management and technology.
The Papazian Library is the only open-stack library in Armenia. While the enrollment of AUA is around 440, the subscription base of the University library is over 10,000.
- History of the University. American University of Armenia. Accessed July 7, 2006.
- American University of Armenia (AUA) official site
- AUA Cisco Networking Academy
- Interview with Armen Der Kiureghian who talks about the founding of the AUA