State Department Supports AUA Initiatives


July 23, 2004

American University of Armenia Corporation
300 Lakeside Drive, 4th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Telephone: (510) 987-9452
Fax: (510) 208-3576

Contact: Gohar Momjian
E-mail: [email protected]

State Department Supports AUA Initiatives

Oakland, CA – American University of Armenia (AUA) President, Dr. Haroutune
Armenian, announced that on July 19, 2004, the United States Ambassador to
Armenia, the Honorable John Ordway, provided a grant of $284,000 to AUA to
continue the final phases of the accreditation process, and $51,300 to plan
and develop a regional student recruitment program. The amount of funding
will be used over a two-year period.

AUA is seeking accreditation from the Western Association of Colleges and
Schools (WASC), one of the six regional accrediting associations covering
the United States. AUA began the process several years ago and reached an
historic milestone when it received Candidacy status in the fall of 2002.
This was the first time that WASC had ever considered a university outside
territorial United States. Candidacy status indicates that the institution
has achieved initial recognition and is progressing towards accreditation.
The final phases of the process will culminate in site visits in October
2005 and 2006. The grant provides resources in several critical areas
required for accreditation and which demonstrate institutional capacity.
Research and evaluation of academic programs and various studies on AUA
alumni will be expanded, in addition to updating information systems.

President Armenian noted that the University has been working with the U.S.
Embassy on a number of initiatives critical to Armenia’s and the region’s
development. He stated that, `collaboration and cooperation among Armenia’s
institutions remains the key to overall success and that the confidence the
Embassy and Ambassador have in the University speaks to the pivotal role AUA
has in transforming a country where everyone enjoys the benefits of
democratic institutions and free markets.’ Armenian also expressed his
appreciation to the Congress of the United States for its continued support
of University efforts. `The Armenian Caucus co-chairmen, Congressman
Knollenberg and Congressman Pallone are especially supportive and recognize
the link between education and economic progress. Senator Sarbanes, member
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator McConnell, Chairman
of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations,
particularly continue to encourage AUA to achieve new heights,’ Armenian

AUA Vice-President for Government Relations and Special Projects, Dr. Steve
Maradian, will take the lead in the international recruitment effort.
`Historically, the University enrolls 5-10 students from the region,’ stated
Maradian. `This program will allow for expansion of enrollment while
strengthening the academic programs. Most agree that the region is served
best when people work together, understand each other’s cultures and values,
and share common goals. Higher education is the ideal setting to accomplish
these activities.’ The program is part of a companion effort to increase
diversity in the classroom. The University is seeking student housing to
support this project with the goal of creating learning communities in which
students study, work, and live together.

`AUA has an important role in Armenia and the entire Middle East,’ Armenian
noted, `including regional stability and cooperation. Accreditation will
encourage students’ interest from the region and the Diaspora to come to
Armenia, earn a graduate degree, and form lifelong linkages to Armenians and
Armenia’s institutions. Nothing is more important for the University at
this stage of its development.’


The American University of Armenia is registered as a non-profit educational
organization in both Armenia and the United States and is affiliated with
the Regents of the University of California. Receiving major support from
the AGBU, AUA offers instruction leading to the Masters Degree in eight
graduate programs. For more information about AUA, visit or

Picture: L to R: Kimberly Hargan, Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy; Dr.
Haroutune Armenian, AUA President; Ambassador John Ordway; Dr. Michael
Thompson, AUA Acting Vice-President; Dr. Steve Maradian, AUA Vice-President
for Government Relations and Special Projects.