YEREVAN – On November 4, 2019, the American University of Armenia (AUA) officially launched a customized one-year certificate program to meet the professional needs of Syrian-Armenians currently living in Armenia. The program was implemented by AUA’s Open Education in partnership with the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF).

With funding from SARF, this certificate program in tourism and hospitality is specifically tailored for Syrian-Armenian repatriates. The first cohort for the certificate includes 24 students; additional 44 other students are registered for individual courses related to English-language development and the tourism and hospitality sector.

“This is a very important step, well-timed not only for Armenia but also for AUA. I want to thank the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund for supporting us in the realization of this certificate program. I am looking forward to seeing the impact this program is going to have on our larger community,” noted AUA President Dr. Karin Markides.

“We always knew that the Syrian-Armenians bring with them skills and resources acquired back home, especially in the services sector. Hence, we wanted to do a project in an area where we can make a difference and add value. AUA was a natural partner for us given its infrastructure and quality of the curriculum. The University also has been very generous in developing tailored content and program materials specifically for this certificate program,” said SARF Chairperson Raffi Kendirjian.

The event brought together key stakeholders of the program to network and recognize the milestones achieved in the preceding months during the development of the program. Attending the reception were students enrolled in the program, hospitality, and tourism industry representatives, as well as Levon Antonyan, head of department for Armenian Communities of the Near and Middle East, at the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs.

“What is really delightful about this program is that we are partnering with the tourism and hospitality industry. They will help us to run the workshops sharing their hands-on experiences. The participants of the course will have internship opportunities and, hopefully, those will translate into real jobs,” noted Loucine Hayes, Director of AUA Extension.

The program offers four required courses in tourism, business, marketing, and customer care, as well as six elective courses in accounting, finance, hospitality, English, and Russian. The funding from SARF allows qualifying Syrian-Armenian repatriates to enroll in the course at no charge except for a 10,000 AMD registration fee. One of the participants present at the event expressed her gratitude to the organizers of the certificate program underscoring the important contribution it will make to their integration and productive contribution to Armenia.

To learn more about the program and to register for elective courses, please visit https://extension.aua.am.

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