On July 17th, 2015, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Ayb Educational Foundation and the Luys Foundation held a joint press conference at the Ayb School in Yerevan to discuss the MIT Global Teaching Lab program. Global Teaching Labs is a pilot summer program designed to shape a new culture of learning in Armenia by introducing a different method of instruction. The press conference is part of MIT’s International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) program, a bridge between centers of excellence in Armenia and around the world. Speakers included Serenella Sferza, MISTI program director; Fr. Mesrop Aramian, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ayb School, advisor to the President of the Republic of Armenia and member of the Luys Education Board; and Vasken Yacoubian, member of the AGBU Central Board of Directors.

“MISTI is designed to expose MIT faculty and students to excellence worldwide. We started with MIT Japan and now we have 15 country-based programs. We also have programs that cut across countries and the Global Teaching Labs and our collaboration with Armenia is one of these programs,” said Sferza.

The Global Teaching Lab course began on June 22nd and ended on July 31st. The classes - held at the Ayb School - introduce students to emerging disciplines, such as neurocomputing, machine learning, and electricity and magnetism, and encourage hand-on learning to bring theory into practice. “Our methods are a bit different,” said MIT student and program lecturer Armen Samurkashian. “We lead the class in a more interactive way. We approach each issue in a more profound specialized way”.During the course, the 110 students from across Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh were hosted by AGBU at the AGBU Vahe Karapetian Center where extracurricular activities were organized each day.

Through the Global Teaching Labs, MIT students are matched with foreign high schools and prepare tailored courses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects that complement the school's curriculum and highlight MIT's hands-on approach to education. MISTI operates through country programs that create opportunities for students and faculty to work with partners abroad. The 19 country programs cover most of the world’s large economies, as well as smaller countries with particularly dynamic technology sectors and administer several innovative cross-regional programs that enable MIT students to learn through teaching STEM and entrepreneurship.

“We must gather our resources around the best programs: Ayb, Luys, American University of Armenia and UWC Dilijan. They all have their own directions, but all of them are working towards enriching education in Armenia and turning Armenia into an international center of excellence in education,”said AGBU Central Board member Vasken Yacoubian.





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