FAR Zambak Scholarship Program recipients and alumni recently gathered for a heartwarming and inspirational meeting with FAR Board Member and scholarship benefactor Aghavni Pontish Yeramyan.
More than 30 students, some of whom traveled across the country from places like Tavush Province to meet with Ms. Yeramyan in Yerevan, enthusiastically shared their stories and future plans, including the best ways for them to contribute to Armenia as proud Zambak alumni.
Ms. Yeramyan’s interest in their studies and motivations for choosing their professions opened the meeting up to a very dynamic conversation. “You should dream big and work hard to achieve what you want. Believe that dreams come true,” she said.
Alvard Karapetyan, who is currently working towards an MPA at Yerevan State University of Linguistics and Social Sciences, wants to improve education in Armenia. “I will use my knowledge and experience to contribute to more effective management of the educational system in Armenia and Artsakh, and for the enhancement of the quality of education,” she said.
Gayane Aghumyan, a 2018 scholarship recipient who holds an MPA from Yerevan State University of Linguistics and Social Sciences, began working at the Armenian Red Cross Society as their youth programs coordinator just after her graduation. She also takes professional classical dance classes at Yerevan Opera Theatre.
“I dream of opening an international dance school in my hometown of Spitak, in Lori Province. When I was a child, I wanted to be a dancer but there wasn’t any place to learn. Generally, there is little opportunity to receive professional dance education in Armenia. Why should all the Armenians go to America or Russia to learn ballet? I want people from all over the world to come Armenia and study here. I know, it is very challenging and so serious, but who else should do it, if not I?” Gayane said.
First-year masters student Karen Ghazaryan works as a team leader for the Young Citizens of Armenia Program at KASA Swiss Foundation. “We try to help youth from Armenia’s communities to find financial means for the good ideas they have to develop their towns and villages. We negotiate with heads of communities to financially participate in their idea realization processes, and also provide money from the foundation. I think Armenia is not only Yerevan but also its regions, and I want to contribute to their development,” said the 24-year old.
Karen is working toward a degree in International Relations at Yerevan State University. Originally from Spitak, he has recently applied to UNDP to open a Youth Initiative Center in his hometown to mobilize the youth in the Lori Region. Karen is also a young ambassador at the European Union.
Students also talked about their volunteer participation in different FAR-organized events, such as helping out at Vanadzor Old Age Home (VOAH), assisting local farmers with their apricot harvests, and acting as counselors at FAR summer camps. Mrs. Yeramyan described it as a great way for them to give back.
The meeting with students took place in the course of events celebrating FAR mission’s 30th anniversary in Armenia.
The following day, Mrs. Yeramyan was awarded the Yerevan State University’s Gold Medal for her significant contribution to supporting students to make their dreams of higher education a reality and for establishing a scholarship to do so.
Established in 2009, the Armine and Garabed Zambak Scholarship Program has enabled more than 70 students to pursue their graduate studies. More than 50% of the alumni are now successfully working as public service officers or managers at financial and commercial agencies, are in diplomatic service etc.