American University of Armenia

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The American University of Armenia (AUA) offers Master’s level graduate programs that are intended to develop critical analysis and depth of knowledge through advanced coursework, independent study, and research.

By offering its instructional programs in English, AUA strives to make these programs accessible to qualified individuals from other countries in the region.

AUA currently offers graduate instruction leading to the Master’s degree in 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.

To accompany their Master’s degrees, highly 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.

History

In the aftermath of the earthquake, many Western specialists in the field of earthquake engineering visited Armenia and had the opportunity to interact with their Armenian counterparts. It was during one such meeting in 1989 that the idea of an American style technical university in Armenia was proposed by Yuri Sarkissian, then rector of the Yerevan Polytechnic Institute, to Armen Der Kiureghian, Professor of Civil Engineering of the University of California at Berkeley, as a way to establish a new foundation for education and training in Armenia.

The idea soon evolved into the specific goal of founding a graduate university based on the American model. What followed was a period of steadfast effort led by two earthquake engineering professors, Mihran Agbabian of the University of Southern California and Armen Der Kiureghian of the University of California at Berkeley. The vision of an American graduate university in Armenia soon became a goal to which other academics in America and Armenia lent their support. The late Professor Stepan Karamardian, formerly Dean of the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Riverside, soon joined the Agbabian and Der Kiureghian team early on. The team then approached the Armenian government and several organizations seeking support for the achievement of the stated goal.

The American University of Armenia became a reality thanks to the steadfast support of the Armenian government and two major institutions in the United States: the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the University of California (UC). From the very beginning, the government of Armenia ¾ and specifically the Ministry of Higher Education and Sciences (now the Ministry of Education and Science) ¾ provided logistical and financial support for the establishment of the University. Despite the significant political and economic changes occurring in Armenia during the period from 1989 to 1991, the Ministry delivered its unwavering assistance facilitating steps and removing hurdles.

AGBU agreed early on to underwrite a major share of the operational funding necessary to launch the University. From the outset, AUA also benefited from a vital working relationship with the University of California. When approached for its technical assistance, David P. Gardener, then President of the University of California, responded by appointing a task force, chaired by then Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs William R. Frazer, to explore the feasibility of UC's participation in this undertaking. The task force visited Armenia in July 1990. A year later, the Regents of the University of California unanimously agreed to an affiliation with the University. Based on this affiliation, UC lends valuable technical support and educational experience in the growth of the American University of Armenia, collaborating in the preparation of a cadre of faculty and participating in the development of a program of exchange and cooperation.

On September 21, 1991 Armenia declared its independence. On the same day, AUA began instruction with 101 students enrolled. In a phenomenally short time, the vision had become a reality. Today, the American University of Armenia (AUA) operates as an independent, private, non-profit institution of higher education in Armenia.

Vartkes and Hasmig Barsam Complex

On October 6, 2005 it was announced that Vartkes and Hasmik were donating the Hye Business Suites Hotel (opened in 1990) to the AUA. During the ceremony, Mr. Vardges Barsam stated that Armenian Business Hotel Complex is delevered to the management of the American University of Armenia (AUA) for the purpose of assisting the program on enrollment of regional and foreign students, and would be named after them.

With a financial assistance of the USAID's organization "American Schools and Hospitals Abroad", the AUA need to make an investment of about 300 thousand USD inorder to repair and technically re-equip the building.

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