AUA's Commencement Ceremony took place on June 2, 2013. Below we are presenting you AGBU President's message during the Ceremony.


Respected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Armenia,

Dr. Larry Pitts, Honorable Members of the AUA Board of Trustees,

Honorable President of the University Dr. Bruce Boghosian,

Honorable Ambassador & Mrs. Heffern,

Honored Guests, and Dear Graduates,

I am very pleased to be with you today sharing your pride and happiness, as you achieve this important and well-earned milestone in your life. The spirit, compassion, dignity and ambition for a brighter future which I see radiating from your eyes fills me, and all of us in this hall today, with great energy. You give us hope and enthusiasm for a better tomorrow. You are the promise for a better future and living proof of our homeland’s changing reality, which evolves day-by-day through our institutions of higher learning. I fondly remember being here as a Member of the University’s Board of Trustees in 1994 to address the second graduating class of the American University of Armenia. Many of you were still most probably in elementary school then. While AUA was taking shape, through the vision of its founders, our country was emerging from devastation and hardship. The lessons learned from our nation’s glorious past and experiences gave us all the firm resolve to move forward with our vision. That vision of hope for a brighter future, kept alive through faith, has become your present. Today, you enjoy comparably much-improved conditions and reap the benefits of many significant accomplishments. Of course, you will face your own challenges throughout your careers. Our homeland -- our future – needs you and your great potential, acquired through higher education, put to good use in fields such as public service and entrepreneurial initiatives to further the progress already made in Armenia. I am happy to be here today, nearly 20 years later, this time addressing the Class of 2013. The American University of Armenia symbolizes the Diaspora’s unbreakable ties with our homeland. It represents our lasting and strategic commitment to Armenia’s prosperity and is rooted in our strong belief in a brilliant future. Since AUA’s foundation, AGBU, along with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia and the University of California, has been committed to AUA’s mission and its bright future. Through its donors and benefactors, AGBU has provided the financial resources to turn that ambitious vision into a shining reality. AUA has surpassed our expectations and dreams. It is a respected and accredited institution of comprehensive higher education. It is a center of innovative research and teaching practices that preserve the best traditions of Armenia’s high-quality education and intellectual distinction. It bridges our homeland with the Diaspora though strong and ever-growing ties, rooted in strong global initiatives and a true sense of civic awareness. It is our deep conviction that this institution will continue to be an open window to the world, bringing to Armenia the best qualities of western educational standards and practices, a free market economy, and high moral values in public service and politics, as it has strived to do since its establishment. We sincerely hope that in the near future, the university will become an environment in which our Diasporan youth will choose to carry out their studies, in part or in full, while being immersed in the culture and reality of our homeland, sharing in its everyday life and experiences. We are pleased to report that a vast majority of AUA graduates who have preceded you have remained in Armenia and serve in our homeland. Our successful AUA alumni, currently hold high-ranking positions in such varied sectors as the developing business sector, financial institutions, international corporations, social service agencies, NGOs, embassies, and public service and government. The American University of Armenia, through its growing and expanding modern facilities, is a visible manifestation of Armenia-Diaspora cooperation and the changing and evolving reality of Armenia. It is a center of academic and scientific research, with an often-increasing number of academic offerings, and many public sector-oriented initiatives, such as preserving and improving the environment. I am particularly pleased by AUA’s newest expansion initiative – establishing an undergraduate studies program at AUA. Moreover, I am very enthusiastic about the newly-initiated AUA Extension Program in Stepanakert which will foster economic development in Artsakh. Soon, the construction of AGBU’s new multi-purpose complex will begin, where the Extension Program will operate, alongside other programs. We all are aware of the hardships our country is experiencing, as are many other countries of the world. The economic crises, unemployment and rising costs of living, compounded by geopolitical factors and security concerns in the region threaten our homeland. As a nation, we face many challenges today that we must – and will – overcome, just as we have done throughout our history, always encouraged and strengthened by our achievements. History has taught us that nothing in life is permanent. Great nations and powerful systems can be toppled, ideologies can change overnight and seemingly impossible situations can be resolved. Do not be disheartened by the difficulties you may face today. I am confident and optimistic for our nation’s bright future. You have an important role to play in building that future. We believe in you and shall stand by your side to support and assist you, as we together strive for economic development and prosperity, strengthened democratic institutions and a secure homeland. On this occasion, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to each of you, to the University’s Board of Trustees, to AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian, as well as the faculty and staff, for their outstanding and dedicated service and commendable achievements.

With much anticipation and hope, I wish you all good luck and continued success.

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