LOS ANGELES –The Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) held its inaugural fundraiser- Advance Armenia Gala – on March 31, 2022, in Los Angeles, CA at The Landmark with hundreds of distinguished thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs in attendance. The organization hit a milestone in raising $1.4 million that will benefit its ADVANCE STEM programs in building intellectual capacity, cultivating scientists in Armenia, and connecting them with international researchers. This joint effort aims to harness globally competitive educational and research projects in the upcoming year.
Dr. Noubar Afeyan served as the evening’s keynote speaker and underscored the importance of igniting the Diaspora’s responsibility and continued engagement to address the dynamic needs of Armenia. Afeyan is recognized for co-founding Moderna, Inc., which changed the world of medicine by introducing the COVID-19 vaccine. He joined others in co-founding FAST in 2017 and has been working with international experts to heighten the foundation’s presence in the scientific community. In his speech, Dr. Afeyan asserted that the most notable contribution to the betterment of Armenia would be through increasing investments in science and technology, as well as capacity building in education. “Just like oil has been a natural resource that has propelled many countries over the past century, for a country like Armenia, one of the best ways forward is to grow the natural resources of human minds through education and apply them to make breakthrough innovations that create extraordinary value. Science and technology can yield many new oil-like natural resources and this time without the associated environmental burden.”
A powerful address was delivered by the founding CEO of FAST and renowned innovator, Dr. Armen Orujyan, further substantiating the need for innovation in Armenia. Orujyan expressed his sincere gratitude to attendees for their generous donations and support of the organization’s goals. In his presentation, Orujyan emphasized that this is a pivotal time for Armenia to magnify its efforts. “By launching our inaugural fundraiser, we aimed to raise the necessary funds to build stronger intellectual capacity in Armenia, scale our ADVANCE grant program, and expand the network necessary to help enhance Armenia’s science and technology ecosystem. This event proved that the Diaspora wants to take active participation in building innovative Armenia by supporting far-reaching and cutting-edge education and research. We are thrilled to see this energy and the unity of Armenians, which I believe, is a crucial asset in transforming the future of Armenia and making a lasting impact.”
FAST is ranked highly in the pantheon of science and technological advancement in Armenia and its aspirations are no small feat – transforming the country’s landscape into an innovative hub and changing the world’s perception of what Armenia represents in the global context. In its nearly five years, the organization has made a significant impact in the lives of young intellectuals and researchers in Armenia by developing fellowships, granting schemes, startups and international relationships.
Attendees of the gala were fully engaged and solidified their cooperation for FAST’s mission. The organization’s comprehensive long-term institutional and financial sustenance supports advancing STEM in Armenia and aims to play a critical role in the country’s leapfrog into a top global innovator by 2041.