Tumo Center for Creative Technologies

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Tumo Center for Creative Technologies
Tumo Center for Creative Technologies.jpg
Tumo Center
PresidentSam and Sylva Simonian
DirectorMarie Lou Papazian
40°11′47.5″N 44°28′48.4″E / 40.196528°N 44.480111°E / 40.196528; 44.480111Coordinates: 40°11′47.5″N 44°28′48.4″E / 40.196528°N 44.480111°E / 40.196528; 44.480111
AffiliationsSimonian Educational Foundation

The Tumo Center for Creative Technologies (Armenian: Թումո ստեղծարար տեխնոլոգիաների կենտրոն) is a free of charge digital media learning center in Yerevan, Armenia.[1]

Tumo is a non-profit venture founded by Sam and Sylva Simonian who fully fund its educational program through the Simonian Educational Foundation.


Construction started in 2003 and ended in 2009-2010.[2]

Tumo's opening took place on August 14, 2011, with an open-air concert featuring rock musicians Serj Tankian and the Dorians.[3]


Sam Simonian at an AGBU panel discussion in Yerevan (April 2015).

Tumo is the creation of Inet Technologies co-founder Sam Simonian and his wife Sylva. The Simonian Foundation fully funds the center, its programs, and the adjacent Tumanyan Park. The Simonians are also directly involved in Tumo’s operations, with Sam lending his knowledge on technology and its economic impact and Sylva contributing to the center’s engagement with the environment and the program’s overall curriculum.

Marie Lou Papazian is CEO of the Simonian Educational Foundation and Managing Director of Tumo. In addition to her responsibilities in managing the center, she led the design and construction management of the center’s interior architecture and outdoor plaza. Prior to Tumo, Marie Lou co-founded the Education for Development Foundation in 2001, where she led the Three Pomegranates project linking Armenian students to their global peers through web-based educational activities. She has a graduate degree in Education from the Columbia Teachers College and serves as a member of the Information Technology Council of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

Tumo’s Board of Advisors is made up of professionals from North America and Armenia with industry experience across the center’s core focus areas. Members include Twitter's Vice President of Platform Engineering Raffi Krikorian, Pixar’s Katherine Sarafian, System of a Down’s lead vocalist Serj Tankian, and Industrial Toys’ Alex Seropian.[4]

Board of Advisors

Learning System[edit]

Full house season at Tumo

Students at Tumo advance through the center’s learning program based on their individual preferences and at their own pace. Within that flexible framework, they work towards very specific learning targets organized around four focus areas: animation, game development, web development, and digital media.

Tumo members are initially encouraged to get exposure to all four of Tumo’s focus areas. As they progress through the curriculum, completing a succession of increasingly challenging projects, members begin to concentrate on one of the four areas and work towards completion of a final project at the end of a two-year cycle.[5]

In addition to instruction in its main focus areas, the Tumo curriculum covers a set of supporting technical, artistic and professional skills. These include computer programming, 3D modeling, 2D graphics, drawing, music, writing, online literacy and communication.


The Tumo Center is situated along the Hrazdan River gorge, adjacent to Tumanyan Park

Tumo’s flagship location in Yerevan occupies over 6,000 square meters on the first two floors of a modern building. This space is especially designed to fit the flexibility and transparency of the Tumo learning system. The building’s other four floors provide office space to technology and media companies that have the potential of becoming partners in Tumo’s educational mission. The rental income from these commercial tenants ensures the sustainability of the Tumo program.[5]

Tumo is located in one of Yerevan’s largest green areas, Tumanyan Park, which is maintained and managed by Tumo. The park is equipped with a range of sports and recreational facilities, including a basketball court and a football field. The Tumo Plaza, acting as a link between the technology of the Tumo building and the natural setting of Tumanyan Park, is an innovative outdoor space made up of large, triangulated surfaces and packed with water features: a reflective pool, a large historic fountain equipped with hundreds of LED lights, and a playful pop-up fountain.


In January 2013, with the support of the Central Bank of Armenia, Tumo launched its free of charge program in Dilijan, a resort town in northern Armenia. The center operates in the Knowledge for Development Center, the local library building reconstructed by the Central Bank.

Similar to the original Tumo, students in Dilijan are split across four focus areas (animation, digital media, video game development, and web development) and hands-on workshops taught by professional mentors. It is equipped with 29 workstations and currently serves more than 200 teenagers enrolled in the program who come from Dilijan and other adjacent rural areas.[5]

Tumo partnered with the Armenian General Benevolent Union to open a branch in Gyumri, the second largest city in Armenia. Following a fundraising initiative by Shant TV, Tumo opened its doors in May 2015.[6]

As a result of continued cooperation with the Armenian General Benevolent Union and support from Karabakh Telecom, the newest Tumo branch opened in Stepanakert in the Republic of Artsakh in September 2015.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Tumo Center for Creative Technologies to Open in Yerevan, Armenia". PR Newswire. 2011-06-29.
  2. ^ "Tumo Center: Closing the Cycle, Keeping Armenia's Youth Engaged". The American Times. 2013-04-24.
  3. ^ "Tumo's Grand Opening in Yerevan". Tumo. 2011-08-14. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02.
  4. ^ "Tumo Board of Advisors". Tumo. Archived from the original on 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
  5. ^ a b c Barsoumian, Nanore (2013-10-04). "Students Create Own Career Path in Armenia". The Armenian Weekly.
  6. ^ "Gyumri Tumo Center to Open in Spring 2015". Asbarez. 2014-11-14.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Tumo Center Opens in Stepanakert". Asbarez. 1 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Stepanakert "Tumo" Center is planned to be launched in September". Armenpress. 2015-08-13.