ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Dedicated supporters of the American University of Armenia (AUA) gathered to promote the 100 Pillars of AUA campaign in an event hosted by Dr. Kris Mirzayan and Pamela Ascher Mirzayan on Saturday, August 10, at Zov’s Bistro.
The afternoon was filled with camaraderie and conversation, as guests learned more about the university — the only one in the Caucasus region with US accreditation — as well as recent updates and accomplishments of students and faculty.
“I am bringing greetings from a New Armenia,” said AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian in his remarks. “The changes are momentous, from rule of law to transparency to principles of democracy.”
He spoke of the student body’s engagement and participation in the Velvet Revolution last April, giving them the chance to become civic activists and ultimately help turn the tide in the country. Der Kiureghian noted that the homeland is moving in the right direction with many AUA alumni in the new government serving as ministers and deputy ministers.
“AUA is the best investment the Diaspora has made in Armenia,” said Dr. Der Kiureghian. “We select based on merit, not connections, and prepare the leaders of Armenia.”
During this symbolic moment in Armenia’s history, AUA continues to thrive, strengthening its significant affiliation with the University of California, which also manages the institution’s endowment, receiving high level management at no cost to the university through its in-kind support. Der Kiureghian highlighted that the endowment has tripled in the last four years and is currently at a healthy $60-million mark. Under the careful guidance of the board, many of whom are high-ranking academics, AUA has grown tremendously since its inception 27 years ago, attracting top students and international faculty in a technologically-advanced academic environment.