American University of Armenia

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American University of Armenia
AUA official logo.png
AUA visual identifier
TypePrivate
EstablishedSeptember 21, 1991; 28 years ago (1991-09-21)[1][2]
PresidentKarin Markides
Academic staff
200 (fall 2015)[1]
Students1,799 (fall 2016)[3]
Undergraduates1,319 (fall 2016)[3]
Postgraduates480 (fall 2016)[3]
Location,
40°11′35.85″N 44°30′16.26″E / 40.1932917°N 44.5045167°E / 40.1932917; 44.5045167Coordinates: 40°11′35.85″N 44°30′16.26″E / 40.1932917°N 44.5045167°E / 40.1932917; 44.5045167
CampusUrban
AffiliationsUniversity of California[4]
Websiteaua.am

The American University of Armenia (AUA) (Armenian: Հայաստանի ամերիկյան համալսարան, ՀԱՀ; Hayastani amerikyan hamalsaran, HAH) is a private, independent university in Yerevan, Armenia that is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. As of 2015, it is the first and only U.S.-accredited institution in the former Soviet Union that provides undergraduate and graduate education.[5]

It was founded in 1991, Armenia's first year of independence, by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the University of California (UC), and the Armenian government. The university is the country's first institution modeled on Western-style higher education, committed to teaching, research, and service; it offers master's degrees in nine fields and bachelor's degrees in five fields. The undergraduate program was introduced in 2013.[6]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The idea of opening an American-style institution of higher education in Armenia originated in the late 1980s. When Armenia was struck by a devastating earthquake in 1988 the country, then still part of the Soviet Union, was opened to unprecedented international humanitarian and technical assistance. A number of earthquake engineers from the West helped 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 creation 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 to the Armenian government.[7][8] Agbabian became the founding president in 1991 and served until 1997.[9]

The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the University of California (UC) helped realize AUA. 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 despite the turbulent political and economic circumstances in Armenia between 1989 and 1991. The AGBU underwrote a significant portion of the operational funding; when the UC was asked for its assistance in founding the university, its president David P. Gardner appointed a task force led by 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, through which UC provides technical support and experience for the growth of AUA and collaborates with AUA in preparing its faculty.[7]

First years[edit]

The university was formally established on September 21, 1991,[1][2] the day Armenia held an independence referendum, and opened two days later.[10] AUA began instruction with 101 students,[7] who were enrolled in an intensive English-language program and later allocated into three graduate degree programs.[11] In 1993, AUA's first commencement took place when 38 people graduated with master's degrees in Business and Management, Industrial Engineering, and Earthquake Engineering.[11] The AUA Extension, a program offering short courses and training programs, was established in 1992.[11]

Expansion[edit]

The university introduced an undergraduate program in 2013.[6] That year some 300 students were accepted.[12]

Campus and estate[edit]

Locations of AUA buildings in central Yerevan

The university's two central buildings, the Main Building and the Paramaz Avedisian Building, are located at 40 Marshal Baghramyan Avenue in central Yerevan.[13]

Main building[edit]

The university's main building, informally known as the "old building" (հին մասնաշենք),[14] housed the Political Enlightenment House of the Central Committee of the Armenian Communist Party during the Soviet period.[15] It was granted to the AUA on September 21, 1991, by the government.[2][16] It has six floors and originally had lecture halls, auditoriums, laboratories, library facilities, and offices.[17] After the construction of the Paramaz Avedisian Building in 2008, it has been used for administrative and non-academic purposes.[18] The main building has solar panels on its rooftop, which have a capacity of around 50 kilowatt hour (kWh) and photoelectric capacity of 5 kWh, which secures the continuous operation of the whole system.[19]

Paramaz Avedisian Building[edit]

Construction of the Paramaz Avedisian Building (PAB) began in 2005.[11] It was designed by Gagik Galstyan[20] and was dedicated on November 1, 2008. Located next to the main building,[21] it has 100,000 sq ft (9,300 square metres) of space, which accommodates classrooms and seminar rooms, laboratories and research centers, and faculty offices.[18]

AUA Center[edit]

The AUA Center is located at 9 Alex Manoogian Street in central Yerevan.[13] It is a multiple-use rental facility suitable for business or not-for-profit organizations. It has two conference and meeting rooms and a large auditorium.[22] The center was established in 1999 through financial support of the U.S. government.[10]

AUA Vartkes and Hasmig Barsam Building[edit]

In 2005 the AUA acquired the Hye Business Suites Hotel located at 8 Mher Mkrtchyan Street in central Yerevan. It was donated to the university by Vartkes Barsam and is used to house visiting faculty and students, and provides additional income for the university.[23][24] United States Agency for International Development (USAID) invested US$300,000 to renovate and upgrade the building.[25]

AGBU Papazian Library[edit]

The AGBU Papazian Library came into existence in 1991 when AUA was established. It is named after the Papazian family, who were generous benefactors of the AUA.[26] As of June 2015 the library contained 45,291 printed books and 205,000 digital books, journals, and CDs, DVDs, and audio and video cassettes.[1] Several notable Armenian Americans, including historian Richard G. Hovannisian who donated 1,338 books to the library and academic and educator Vartan Gregorian who donated over 600 mostly English-language titles in 2014, have donated books to the library.[27]

Accreditation[edit]

The AUA was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission in 2006. The university had received the candidacy status for accreditation in 2002,[28] becoming the first university in the former Soviet Union to be accredited by a U.S. educational institution. Accreditation means degrees issued by the AUA have a status equal to those issued in the U.S.[29] By 2013, the university had received accreditation from WASC and a license from the Armenian Ministry of Education and Science to offer four-year education.[30]

Students[edit]

As of Fall 2018, there were 1780 students enrolled at AUA, out of which 1360 were pursuing undergraduate and 420 were pursuing graduate degrees.[31]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • David Akopyan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative a.i. in Syria, graduated from Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in 1993
  • Emil Babayan, Deputy Prosecutor General (since 2013) who holds a degree of Master of Laws from 2001[32]
  • Sedrak Barseghyan, Adviser to Minister-Chief of Government Staff of Armenia (since 2013). Class of 2009.[33]
  • Lilit Galstian, a member of parliament from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (2007–2012) who graduated from the faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations in 1996[11][34]
  • Tevan Poghosyan, a member of parliament from Heritage party (since 2012) who graduated from the faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations in 1996[35]

Colleges and schools[edit]

  • Zaven & Sonia Akian College of Science & Engineering
  • Manoogian Simone College of Business & Economics
  • College of Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Gerald & Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health

Undergraduate Programs[edit]

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business
  • Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science

Graduate Programs[edit]

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Economics
  • Master of Science in Strategic Management
  • Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Computer and Information Science
  • Master of Political Science and International Affairs
  • Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • Master of Laws
  • Master of Public Health

Certificate Programs[edit]

  • Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • Graduate Certificate in Translation
  • Graduate Certificate in Finance
  • Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Health

Presidents[edit]

  1. Mihran Agbabian (1991–1997)[9]
  2. Haroutune Armenian (1997–2009)[36][37]
  3. Bruce Boghosian (2009–2014)[38]
  4. Armen Der Kiureghian (2015–2019)[39]
  5. Karin Markides (2019-)

Rankings and reputation[edit]

The American University of Armenia is widely considered one of the top universities in Armenia. It has been described as such by former Education Minister Armen Ashotyan (2009-2016),[40] the U.S. Embassy in Armenia,[41] Armenian Weekly,[42] the Armenian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,[43] independent news agency CivilNet,[31] and other media outlets.[44][45] AUA has been ranked second in the country behind Yerevan State University in at least two rankings:

Year Source Rank nationally Rank globally
2014 Armenian government[46]
2
2015 Webometrics Ranking of World Universities[47]
2
3887

According to a 2009 business report by the Michigan State University, "according to those interviewed, the only reputable MBA program in Armenia is offered in Yerevan at the American University of Armenia".[4] According to a 2004 report titled "Corruption Levies Heavy Toll on Armenian Universities" by the Embassy of the United States to Armenia, the AUA is seen by its alumni as the only "clean", non-corrupt university where "students' assessment is performance based" in Armenia.[48] As of 2004, the AUA was one of four universities in Armenia teaching public administration.[49]

At his 2015 AUA Commencement Speech, U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills stated; "AUA is like no other university in Armenia. At no other school are you challenged to think critically like you are here. As an extension of our well-regarded University of California system, AUA has planted and nurtured informed, critical thinking skills that will stand you in good stead throughout the rest of your lives."[50]

At a June 1994 fundraising banquet for the AUA, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Harry Gilmore stated that the university was one of the "islands of light" in an Armenia caught in war and economic hardship, where people had been living without heat and light for several years. Gilmore praised the university as follows:[51]

To me, the American University of Armenia exemplifies what is best about Armenian education. When you walk in the doors of the American University, you feel a sense of energy, of purpose. When you look in the computer lab, and see the students at work stations, you could be in any American University. But I think there are very few universities in the United States where the students work with such dedication and enthusiasm. There is another difference--when you talk to the students, you learn they are not there just for themselves, they are there because they want to make Armenia a better place to live for future generations.

Notable visitors and speakers[edit]

Notable individuals who have visited the university and/or have given lectures include:

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Other foreign universities in Armenia
Other American universities

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "American University of Armenia Factbook 2015-2016 Academic Year" (PDF). American University of Armenia. October 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-10-22. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  2. ^ a b c "Որոշում Հայաստանի ամերիկյան համալսարան ստեղծելու մասին". arlis.am (in Armenian). Armenian Legal Information System. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Institutional Research Office". Archived from the original on 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  4. ^ a b Huddleston, Patricia; Linz, Susan J. (2009). "Doing Business in Armenia – Local CEOs Are Optimistic" (PDF). globalEDGE Business Review. Michigan State University. 3 (7): 1. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-10-11. Retrieved 2016-01-29. Civic involvement of Armenian diasporans resulted in the founding and support of the American University of Armenia, a U.S. accredited graduate institution affiliated with the University of California. [...] according to those interviewed, the only reputable MBA program in Armenia is offered in Yerevan at the American University of Armenia.
  5. ^ "CSUN Signs MOU with American University of Armenia". csun.edu. California State University, Northridge. 3 November 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-01-29. AUA is the first stand-alone, U.S.-accredited institution in the former Soviet Union that provides undergraduate and graduate education.
  6. ^ a b "American University of Armenia: A Groundbreaking Year in Review". Asbarez. 31 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  7. ^ a b c "History of the University". American University of Armenia. Archived from the original on 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  8. ^ Martirosyan, Marine (20 October 2011). "Կրթությունը մարդու կյանքի որակը բարելավելու միջոց է". 168.am (in Armenian). 168 Hours. Archived from the original on 2 February 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Mihran S. Agbabian, Ph.D., N.A.E." berkeley.edu. University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original on 2016-02-06. ...Agbabian joined two colleagues to found the American University of Armenia (AUA) where he served as founding President (1991-1997)...
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  11. ^ a b c d e "Achievements and Milestones". American University of Armenia. Archived from the original on 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  12. ^ Chilingaryan, Elen (2 September 2013). "Ամերիկյան համալսարանի բակալավրիատ 300-ից ավելի ուսանողներ են ընդունվել". azatutyun.am (in Armenian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Archived from the original on 2016-01-30. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  13. ^ a b "AUA Campus Buildings". American University of Armenia. Archived from the original on 2016-01-22.
  14. ^ "Տեղի կունենա "Հանրային երկխոսության և համայնքային զարգացման" երկրորդ համաժողովը". nt.am (in Armenian). Noyyan Tapan. 2 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2016-01-24. ...Հայաստանի ամերիկյան համալսարանի մեծ դահլիճում (Երևան, Բաղրամյան 40, հին մասնաշենք, 2-րդ հարկ):
  15. ^ "Հայաստանի կոմունիստական կուսակցություն [Communist Party of Armenia]". Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 13 Soviet Armenia (in Armenian). Yerevan. 1987. p. 224.
  16. ^ "Ամերիկյան համալսարանը հայ ժողովրդի հետ միասին անցավ բոլոր դժվարությունների միջով" (in Armenian). 1in.am. 30 September 2011.
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  18. ^ a b "AUA's New Paramaz Avedisian Building Opens". Armenian General Benevolent Union. 17 November 2008. Archived from the original on 2016-01-30. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  19. ^ "Solar Energy". minenergy.am. Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Armenia. Archived from the original on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
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  24. ^ "Hotels / Minotel Barsam Suites". hotels.am. Archived from the original on 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-01-28. In the meantime, you will be making a contribution to the development of Armenia because funds from the Barsam Suites directly support the American University of Armenia scholarship fund to the benefit of many talented students of the University.
  25. ^ "AUA Campus Grows, Acquires Hye Business Suites Hotel". American University of Armenia. 4 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  26. ^ "About Us, AUA's AGBU Papazian Library". American University of Armenia. Archived from the original on 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
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  28. ^ "American University of Armenia". wascsenior.org. WASC Senior College and University Commission. Archived from the original on 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  29. ^ Hakobyan, Julia (9 March 2007). "Home Study: AUA students get Armenian education and American diploma". ArmeniaNow. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  30. ^ Gevorgyan, Siranuysh (20 July 2012). "Milestone from AUA: American University of Armenia adds Bachelor degree starting in September 2013". ArmeniaNow. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  31. ^ a b "Ամերիկյան համալսարանը՝ կարևոր խաչմերուկում [The American University at important crossroads]". CivilNet. Civilitas Foundation. 14 December 2014. Archived from the original on 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2016-01-24. Եվ այն իսկապես այսօր Հայաստանում դառնում է բարձրագույն կրթության առաջատարը:
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  40. ^ ""Ինտեգրում կրթության միջոցով". Ա. Աշոտյանը հանդես է եկել դասախոսությամբ Հայաստանի Ամերիկյան համալսարանում". Aravot (in Armenian). 21 November 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2016-01-28. Նախարարը նշել է, որ իր համար պատիվ է հանդես գալ դասախոսություններով, մասնավորապես, Ամերիկյան համալսարանում, քանի որ վերջինս ՀՀ առաջատար բուհերից մեկն է:
  41. ^ "Discussion on Us-Armenia Relations With Students". armenia.usembassy.gov. Embassy of the United States, Yerevan. 3 March 2009. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. ...the American University of Armenia, one of the country's leading academic institutions.
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  43. ^ "Հայաստանի ամերիկյան համալսարանը բակալավրիատ կունենա". azatutyun.am (in Armenian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 27 September 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2016-02-12.
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  45. ^ "Հայաստանի Ամերիկյան Համալսարանը 20 տարեկան է". aysor.am (in Armenian). 27 September 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2016-02-12. ...Հայաստանի լավագույն ուսումնական հաստատություններից մեկը։
  46. ^ "Հայաստանի երեք լավագույն բուհերն են ԵՊՀն, Ամերիկյան համալսարանը և Երևանի պետական բժշկական համալսարանը" (in Armenian). Armenpress. 25 December 2014. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2016-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  52. ^ "AUA Hosts US Congressional Delegation". newsroom.aua.am. American University of Armenia. 21 May 2014. Archived from the original on 2016-06-23. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
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  55. ^ "Former Governor Michael Dukakis Arrives in Yerevan". Asbarez. 20 April 2016.
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External links[edit]