NORTHRIDGE, California — On September 12, the American University of Armenia (AUA) and California State University, Northridge (CSUN) renewed their existing partnership signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in recognition of the mutual educational interests and research aspirations shared by the two institutions.

The ceremony took place in the Sierra Hall’s Whitsett Room on the CSUN campus, followed by a brief reception hosted by the CSUN Armenian Studies Program. In her opening remarks, CSUN Professor Emerita Dr. Dianne Philibosian touched upon the existing agreements between the two institutions comprising the exchange of faculty, an interlibrary loan arrangement, and an established student exchange program and commented on the exciting opportunities ahead.

CSUN President Dr. Erika D. Beck spoke in support of formalizing the friendship between the two institutions, noting that CSUN educates more Armenian students than any other university outside Armenia. Enthusiastic about deepening this partnership, she hopes it will allow students and faculty to embrace a new global perspective. Dr. Beck also congratulated AUA on its 30th anniversary, noting that CSUN was in attendance at the AUA 30th Anniversary Celebration the Saturday prior, and wished AUA to “continue to excel and thrive as a consequential institution of higher learning.”

AUA President Dr. Karin Markides also commended the ongoing collaboration, playfully mentioning that it felt like AUA was a California university on the other side of the earth. Noting AUA’s accreditation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission and its affiliation with the University of California (UC), she thanked President Beck for her support and presence at the event. “Building trust and understanding is the most important thing in our collaborative relationship,” she said, adding that everything revolves around our students and “we work hard to continue to ensure that our students not only advance to successful careers, but also become responsible leaders in both public and private sectors. The responsibility is in our hands to ensure the next generation is ready for change and makes that change.”

Both presidents then signed the memorandum of understanding, which stipulates that the two universities agree to work together to explore a broad range of potential scholarly and educational collaborations, including, but not limited to, 1. Admission of each other’s undergraduate and graduate students in keeping with the academic standards, rules, procedures, policies, and practices of each institution for international students; 2. Promoting students’ study-abroad experiences and improving their English language skills via CSUN’s Semester at CSUN program (SAC) and Intensive English programs (IEP); and 3. The exchange of faculty and students between the two institutions, as well as joint teaching and research projects with all tuition expenses satisfied prior to the start of the session.

“For a university collaboration to succeed, it is necessary to build on faculty-to-faculty relations. Accomplishing this on an institutional level will open up so many more opportunities,” Dr. Markides concluded.

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