On October 10, 2015, AGBU President Berge Setrakian and his wife Vera hosted a luncheon in honor of AUA President Armen Der Kiureghian at the Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen, New Jersey. The event provided an opportunity to meet Dr. Der Kiureghian and learn about the university. Among the guests were members of the AGBU Central Board and Council of Trustees, AUA Board of Trustees and alumni along with members of the Greater New York Armenian community.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Setrakian emphasized the partnership between AGBU and AUA: “From its inception, AGBU believed that AUA could be in the best interest of Armenia to bring a Western-oriented educational institution to a country that was coming out of the Soviet era. It’s an institution that needs our continued support.”

At the luncheon, Der Kiureghian spoke at length about the university and its impact on the Republic of Armenia: “AUA is the only US-accredited university in all of the former Soviet republics. 90% of our students are citizens of Armenia…but we have students from more than 20 different countries.” Lorraine Alexander, AUA vice president of development and external relations, and Dr. Larry Pitts, chairman of the AUA Board of Directors, also addressed the audience: “Education is investment. When you invest in education, you are moving things forward for the future to take care of the overall needs of society,” said Dr. Pitts.

Der Kiureghian is one of the founding members of AUA, founding dean of AUA’s College of Science and Engineering, former interim provost and currently the president of the university. He is also a noted scholar of international fame and is the Taisei Chair in Civil Engineering Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. Der Kiureghian is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the highest honor for an American engineer and an elected foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He has served as Visiting Professor in universities in Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and Slovenia.

As one of the founding organizations of AUA, AGBU has been involved in the university since its establishment in 1991. AGBU has proven to be a champion for AUA through financial assistance in the launch of academic programs and scholarships, the establishment of the AGBU Papazian Library and the start of the AUA Extension-AGBU NKR Program to help reignite the workforce in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic through various training courses.

AUA is a private, independent university in Yerevan, Armenia established through a partnership with the government of Armenia, AGBU and the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement and promoting public service and democratic values.