AUA and Washington State University launch partnership to create Center for Excellence in Journalism

YEREVAN—The American University of Armenia (AUA), in partnership with Washington State University (WSU), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a Center for Excellence in Journalism and create a new master’s program in journalism education. The $1.3 million, four-year university partnership initiative is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan to support Armenia’s media sector.

Through the U.S. Embassy’s support, 90-percent tuition scholarship will be provided to approximately nine graduate students per year to study in the Master’s in Journalism degree program, with a select number of students also having the opportunity to compete for a summer internship in the United States, where they will acquire hands-on reporting skills in a U.S. media outlet.

“We are proud and grateful to be the recipient of this important grant from the U.S. Embassy,” said AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian. “Since the University’s inception, the U.S. government and USAID/ASHA have supported the American University of Armenia in various ways, and this marks another milestone in our longstanding relationship. We look forward to working alongside our colleagues at WSU to implement this project and eventually launch a Master’s in Journalism degree program. We are convinced that this new program will be of great benefit to Armenia and the region at large.” 

The Center for Excellence in Journalism will serve as a hub for journalism education and leadership in research, training, best practices and collaboration with leading experts and policymakers that advances knowledge of how quality journalism can serve as a bulwark against misinformation and improve networking within Armenia’s journalism ecosystem. The Center will also offer professional development programs serving the wider media community.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Rafik Mansour traveled to Armenia to inaugurate the new university partnership. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien, as well as Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Zhanna Andreasyan, also attended the launch event.

“This U.S.-Armenia relationship is based on shared values, including press freedom and the critical role of education in building a strong, democratic society that is resilient to disinformation,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Mansour at the inauguration event. “The United States is proud to invest in this university partnership initiative, which will support Armenia’s democratic development and invest in the next generation of journalists.” 

“This project aims to support current and future journalists with the knowledge and skills to have a positive impact on the journalism sector in Armenia and beyond,” says Dr. Hagop Yacoubian, dean of the AUA College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS). “The project will contribute to further diversifying the academic portfolio of CHSS and thus providing new possibilities for us as we prepare students to become civic and professional leaders.”

“We are delighted to formally establish this flagship partnership in journalism education between AUA and WSU,” said Dr. Lawrence Pintak, professor of communications at Washington State University. “This program represents a new milestone in the development of Armenia’s media sector and will support the professional development of Armenia’s journalism community for years to come.”

In addition to this program, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan also announced an award to AUA to implement a two-year English program for journalists aimed at equipping the participants with English-language skills through courses tailored to their professional needs.

The event was live-streamed through the AUA Media Lab.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.