FAST group photo with the reception Host Committee co-chairs Roza Grigoryan Baroody and Elena Ratevossian

New York Armenian Community Joins Forces in Support of Armenia’s Generation AI Educational Program

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NEW YORK — The Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) held its 2024 Advance Armenia New York Reception on April 4 at the Harvard Club in Manhattan. Under the slogan of “Nurturing Future AI Innovators,” the event gathered the New York Armenian community and science and technology leaders in support of FAST’s flagship educational program Generation AI.

FAST launched Generation AI in September 2023 as a multi-layer educational and career pipeline for AI researchers and innovators starting at the high school level, currently piloting in 16 high schools across 7 regions of Armenia. Almost 400 tenth graders are studying advanced math, Python programming, and soon the foundations of artificial intelligence, preparing for future research and innovation careers and marking a significant step in strengthening Armenia’s scientific and technological capacity. Implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia, the program aims to scale nationwide following its pilot phase.

FAST founding CEO Dr. Armen Orujyan, left, with Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)

Many leading figures in finance, education, science and tech were among the 200 guests in attendance, including members of the FAST Board of Advisors Dr. Mary Papazian, Dr. Avak Kahvejian, and Ari Libarikian. The emcee of the evening, host of Nasdaq’s Live From Marketsite and Miss Universe Armenia 2023 Ms. Kristina Ayanian, led an inspiring program, which included blessings from Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, discussions moderated by FAST’s Vice President Suzanna Shamakhyan, remarks from the reception Host Committee co-chairs Roza Grigoryan Baroody and Elena Ratevossian, and musical performances from the Astghikner  Vocal Ensemble of St. Gregory the Illuminator Mission Parish of Brooklyn and NY-based vocalist, composer, and pianist Astghik Martirosyan.

Dr. Noubar Afeyan, left, with Dr. Garo Armen

The founding CEO of FAST, Dr. Armen Orujyan, spoke on the foundation’s vision and the importance of nurturing a new generation of AI specialists in Armenia. The co-founder and chairman of Moderna and the founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, Dr. Noubar Afeyan, who is also the co-founder of FAST, emphasized this moment in time, “We can give our Armenian students the capabilities and the courage to play in artificial intelligence. That’s within our power in the diaspora. What we can do is to enable the next generation to compete globally, and AI is a great place to do that. In human existence there has not been a tool that has helped us create, use, and amplify knowledge quite like artificial intelligence. This is why this moment matters.”

Dr. Garo Armen

In his keynote address, the renowned scientist, entrepreneur, and founder of the Children of Armenia Fund, Dr. Garo H. Armen, noted how Armenia can stand as a shining example of what is possible when a people unite behind a common cause, “Today we have a tremendous opportunity to create something extraordinary. But we can only do this when we work together and collaboratively. There is tremendous potential in Armenia. I’m confident that FAST programs will help unlock and propel the potential of countless young Armenians to new heights. Let us work hand in hand, side by side, to create a future for every Armenian child where they have the opportunity to thrive and where innovation and education are the driving forces of our success.”

Dr. Noubar Afeyan

More than $350,000 was raised in support of the Generation AI program. The contributions will support 70 students on their 3-year educational journey by funding curriculum development, teacher training, and essential equipment for the study of artificial intelligence.

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The New York reception was FAST’s first in New York and part of the Advance Armenia Global Campaign attracting financial, intellectual and network resources in support of science and technology programs in Armenia. Previously holding events in Boston and Los Angeles, the campaign gives supporters in the worldwide Armenian Diaspora an opportunity to contribute to initiatives critical for the long-term sustainability of Armenia’s scientific and technological ecosystem.

 

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