CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Anna Hakobyan, the wife of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, spent an hour on Friday, April 5, with Armenian students enrolled at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as staffs from the two universities.
Over an informal lunch on the MIT campus, Hakobyan sat around a large table with about two dozen students and listened to their concerns, comments and suggestions. Much of the discussion took place in Armenian, though some students switched to English.
After the students (many of whom were from Armenia, Georgia or the Middle East) and faculty members introduced themselves, Hakobyan addressed them. “I am glad to meet all of you. When I look around I only feel pride” to see representatives of Armenia everywhere. “It shows the strength of our country,” she said.
Much of the students’ concerns revolved around the cost of education and the implosion of the Luys Foundation, a government-linked entity which raised fund in the private sector. Luys, which had provided funds to deserving Armenian students studying abroad for years, was shuttered after the collapse of the previous regime. She asked the students for their suggestions especially with regard to the My Step (or Im Kayl) Foundation she founded in June 2018, which seems poised to pick up where the disintegrated Luys Foundation left.
Hakobyan was accompanied by Hovhannes Ghazaryan, the executive director of My Step Foundation. Ghazaryan, himself a Luys scholarship recipient, agreed with the students that the need for easier terms for repayment of tuition is needed.
“We are taking into consideration the Luys experience. We are here to finance the program,” he said.