By Monique Svazlian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
SAN FRANCISCO — With the recent change in government in Armenia, there is a renewed sense of hope for the future of the country. It feels like the timing couldn’t be better to complement the recent influx of future-forward initiatives and projects that have nudged Armenia toward progress such as the Tumo Center, UWC Dilijan College, Aurora Prize and an increasing presence of technology and venture capital focusing on social, cultural and economic development in Armenia.
One prominent name behind some of these projects has been entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan, whose vision for the future of Armenia is no secret. His most recent venture is the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST), focused on science and technology innovation in Armenia. I recently had the chance to speak with FAST’s CEO, Dr. Armen Orujyan, about what he sees as the opportunities and possibilities in Armenia.
Orujyan was born and lived in Armenia until age 16. He left in 1989 for the United States and completed all his schooling up till his PhD in the US. He has been an entrepreneur and innovator his entire career, having built organizations and initiatives such as the Athgo Corporation, one of the world’s leading entrepreneurship platforms in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, UN Department of Public Information, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Earlier in his career, he joined the UN’s Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) as a Founding Member. He further served as a Commissioner on the UN’s venerated Broadband Commission for Digital Development through 2015.
A lesser known fact — he was also one of the founders of the Armenian Genocide March that takes place in Hollywood every year on April 24.