Ani Darakdjian

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December 22, 2004

Junior Achievement of Armenia
1102 North Brand Blvd. #61
Glendale, CA 91202
Contact: Beth Broussalian Tel/Fax: 858-792-4656

Ani Darakdjian Named US Director of JAA;
JAA Programs Now Reach 170,000 Youth Annually

Los Angeles, CA - The Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Armenia (JAA) has named Ani Darakdjian its US Director, a new full-time post based in Los Angeles, California.

"The appointment of Ani Darakdjian as US Director marks a significant development in the history of our organization," commented Armine Hovannisian, JAA's Executive Director. "She is the perfect addition to the JAA family and comes on board at a time when our growth presents new and exciting challenges."

Ms. Darakdjian's responsibilities cover the entire spectrum of JAA's stateside operation, including financial management, collaborating with JAA's Armenia-based staff to coordinate and manage all programs and activities, and actively pursuing new sources of funding for the organization.

"The establishment of a US Director position is a testament to JAA's continued commitment to achieving excellence both in programming and in organizational operations," said Jack Berberian, President of the JAA Board of Directors. "Our program in Armenia is one of the largest Junior Achievement affiliates in the world, with awards ranging from innovation to quality. As we reach for the next level, we are ensuring that Armenia's youth has every opportunity to receive the best education possible, to enjoy engaging extracurricular activities, and to participate in global activities through the programs of Junior Achievement Worldwide."

Ms. Darakdjian comes to JAA after an exhaustive nationwide search that produced many impressive candidates. Her resume stood out among the dozens received because of her exceptional professional and academic accomplishments. Her career spans corporate consulting, business development and international affairs, including experience both in the US and Europe in economic development and international trade. She holds an MBA in Finance and Management as well as a Master of International Affairs, both from Columbia University.

"It's a privilege to contribute to Armenia's economic and political development in this capacity," said Ms. Darakdjian. "The work of his organization - instilling in Armenia's youth the values and principles of democracy, social responsibility and ethical free enterprise - is essential to building a strong foundation for the country's future."

The hiring of Ms. Darakdjian comes amidst the expansion of JAA's vital and much-lauded work in Armenia, which today reaches 170,000 annually through both its economics and civics courses.

In 2005, JAA will sustain and expand its economics courses (currently in 500 high schools), launch the expansion of civics education and instruction in Armenia's Pedagogical Institutes, train future civics instructors, and continue to offer quality extracurricular activities that enhance both economics and civics education.

The future of the civics program is secure. JAA has successfully rolled out its civics program to all of the country's high schools. With the conclusion of its current USAID grant in 2005, the Armenian Ministry of Education and Science will assume the administrative and financial responsibilities of the program in the 8th, 9th and 10th grades. JAA will continue to play a critical role in civics education by providing advanced teacher training, innovative extracurricular programs, increased access to the Internet, international competitions, and supplemental civics materials.

To support both economics and civics programs, JAA must actively seek public and private funding to expand the program.

With JAA's proven track record, the organization has recently been selected to partner with the Academy for Educational Development (AED), one of the world's foremost organizations dedicated to improving education, leadership capabilities and economic opportunities around the world. The goal of this new collaboration is to develop young leaders as catalysts for change.

Junior Achievement of Armenia was established in 1992 to assist Armenia's transition to democratic governance and a free-market economy. JAA's mission is to give today's Armenian youth the necessary skills and knowledge to compete and succeed in tomorrow's world. The mission is accomplished through economics and civics education. Today, this award-winning program reaches more than 170,000 students in all 1400 of Armenia's high schools. By 2005, nearly 20% of the total population will have taken a course taught by a JAA-trained teacher.

For additional information, please call (818) 753-4997 or visit JAA's website at