People

Alen Amirkhanian
Director
Alen AmirkhanianDirector

Alen Amirkhanian is the Director of the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment, a position he has held since 2013. In 2014, he established AUA Center for Responsible Mining and is acting as its Interim Director. He teaches graduate and undergraduate environmental courses at AUA. Prior to AUA, he was Senior Vice President of Research at Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. He has consulted with the World Bank, UNDP, and the Brookings Institution on energy efficiency as well as economic and urban-growth issues. His current academic interests include urban environmental sustainability, “greening” the built environment, and circular economy esp. as it relates to “greening” cities. Alen holds a Masters in City Planning (’97) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Litta Petrosyan
Project Manager, Environmental Education and Outreach Projects
Litta PetrosyanProject Manager, Environmental Education and Outreach Projects

Litta Petrosyan is the project manager for the Environmental Education and Outreach projects at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. She organizes and coordinates environmental education activities/programs, campaigns, camps, and outreach throughout Armenia (including with communities, schools, other universities, and more), scientific and policy conferences, as well as workshops and seminars. Currently, Litta is managing the GAtES and the ITAMSPE  projects. As a project manager, she oversees the project and is responsible for its planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure. Additionally, Litta prepares and edits reports and articles for environmental education and outreach.

Before joining the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, she worked as an event manager at the Armenian branch of Publicis, one of the world’s largest communications firms. She is an AUA Alumni who graduated with an MBA in 2014.

Tatevik Vardanyan
Grants and Projects Manager
Tatevik VardanyanGrants and Projects Manager

Tatevik Vardanyan works as a Grants and Projects Manager at AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. She is responsible for supporting the development and writing of grant proposals, managing and coordinating the quality and timeliness of project implementation. In her position, Tatevik is coordinating preparation of contracts, financial reporting, planning and executing stages of the project. She is also maintaining partnerships and other collaborative relationships with a range of local and international stakeholders. Tatevik has served as grant and project manager at the Acopian Center and the AUA Center for Responsible Mining since 2016, she has supported the implementation of the projects in cooperation with the government, international organizations, civil society sector entities. Prior to that, she worked as Operations and Communications Coordinator at the AUA Acopian Center from 2014 till 2016. She holds an LL.M degree from the American University of Armenia and a BA degree from Brusov Yerevan State Linguistic University.

Siranush Harutyunyan
Grants Manager
Siranush HarutyunyanGrants Manager

Siranush Harutyunyan has been with the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment as grants manager since July 2017. In her position, she supports grant and proposal writing, manages grant requirements and reporting, reviews project budgets, and handles their accounting to ensure that grants are implemented according to the operational and financial needs of the Center. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from AUA. Previously, she was the program coordinator at the AUA Turpanjian Rural Development Program, has worked at the ICHD think-tank and at the Human Rights Defender’s Office of International Cooperation and Strategic Development.

Norayr Benohanian
Adjunct Lecturer, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects Coordinator
Norayr BenohanianAdjunct Lecturer, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects Coordinator

Norayr Benohanian is an adjunct lecturer at the American University of Armenia (AUA) and the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects Coordinator at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. In his role as projects coordinator, he has worked on several initiatives, including the annual Sustainable Energy Academy which has been organized in collaboration with the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation since 2016, ERASMUS+ MARUEEB project, as well as various other conferences and events. Norayr’s courses at AUA include Engineering for non-Engineers, Basics of Sustainable Energy, and Projects in Environmental Sciences. He holds two Master’s degrees, a Master of Science in Materials Engineering from the German University in Cairo, and a Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management from AUA.

 

Harutyun Alpetyan
Circular Economy Expert, Instuctor
Harutyun AlpetyanCircular Economy Expert, Instuctor

Harutyun Alpetyan, an alumnus of the AUA Master’s program in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management, has been appointed as a lead expert for Waste Governance in Armenia, an 11-month project that started in November 2018. The project is funded by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs under its Swedish-Armenian SDG Expert Exchange Programme. The project is being implemented in partnership with the Government of Armenia and Swedish partners Life Foundation and Miljo & Avfallsbyran.

Harutyun has worked in the field of industrial automation and integration as a product design development manager. As part of his academic work, he’s focused on energy management as well as analyzed Yerevan’s waste-collection system. He also co-teaches courses at AUA on topics such as solid and hazardous waste and developing and implementing environmental projects.

Lilia Khzmalyan
Project Assistant
Lilia KhzmalyanProject Assistant

Lilia Khzmalyan joined the Acopian Center for the Environment and the Center for Responsible Mining as a Project Assistant for MLRI and ITAMPSE projects in March 2019. Lilia assists in the handling of these projects’ day to day activities, their administrative and financial components, contract processing, as well as organizing centers’ events and other activities.

Lilia graduated from the English-Japanese faculty of the Yerevan Institute of Humanities. From 1998-1999 she was an exchange student in the US. Prior to joining our team Lilia has worked with the “Armenian Water and Sewerage Company” CJSC, RA Ministry of Finance, USAID Tax Improvement Program, “Tetley Tea” Ltd in Moscow, Russian Federation and freelanced for the US Embassy in Moscow, Russian Federation.

Tatev Haroyan
Project Assistant
Tatev HaroyanProject Assistant

Tatev Haroyan joined the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment as a project assistant in September 2018. Tatev has a key role in assisting the implementation of multiple projects within the AUA Acopian Center. Her primary responsibilities include assisting in organizing project activities, handling its administrative and financial components as well as contract processing for Sustainable Energy Academy, organizing center’s events and other activities.

Tatev Haroyan is a graduate’18 of the American University of Armenia and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business. Prior to joining ACE, she has worked and done internships in different spheres, including banking, agricultural and cultural industries.

Aghavni Harutyunyan
GIS Specialist
Aghavni HarutyunyanGIS Specialist

Aghavni Harutyunyan is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) and AUA Center for Responsible Mining (CRM) starting in 2015. Ms. Harutyunyan is creating maps and providing data analyses through GIS. Before joining AUA ACE and AUA CRM she worked at the National Survey for Seismic Protection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of RA. Ms. Harutyunyan holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the Yerevan State University from the Department of Geography and Geology.

Sean Reynolds
Adjunct Lecturer
Sean ReynoldsAdjunct Lecturer

Sean joined the Acopian Center in 2017 as a lecturer on Disaster Management. He has worked with both local governments (City of Palm Bay Florida) and private sector companies (Harris Corporation, Chevron) on disaster preparation, response, and impact modeling. His expertise is in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, with a specialization in data analysis and quality control. He holds a Masters Degree in Geographic Information Science from Florida State University. Sean came to Armenia initially in 2008 as a United States Peace Corps volunteer working on environmental awareness at Halidzor Secondary School in Syunik Marz. He is continuing this work through teaching and other projects at ACE.

 

Natella Mirzoyan
Lecturer
Natella MirzoyanLecturer

Dr. Natella Mirzoyan has been a lecturer at the American University of Armenia since 2016. She is teaching multiple environmental courses to the undergraduate students of AUA. Her courses include Environmental Monitoring, Solid and Hazardous Waste, Introduction to the  Environmental Science, Chemistry in Everyday Life, Environmental Projects, Water, and Food. Dr. Mirzoyan is also the Principle Investigator of the “Methanogenesis in Sulfide and Nitrate Containing Sedimentary Environments” project, funded by Volkswagen Foundation.

Dr. Mirzoyan received her Ph.D. from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, in 2010. Later on, she joined the University of Maryland, Md, USA, and Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Israel. Dr. Mirzoyan is specialized in environmental chemistry and molecular microbial ecology of Carbon, Nitrogen and Sulfur cycles in hypoxic aquatic and sedimentary environments, as well as wastewater and solid waste treatment and waste to resource management in recirculating aquaculture facilities and intensive agricultural practices.

Alexander Arakelyan
GIS and Hydrology Expert, Project manager
Alexander ArakelyanGIS and Hydrology Expert, Project manager

Dr. Alexander Arakelyan joined Acopian Center for Environment in 2018 as a GIS and Hydrology Expert. Currently, he is managing the ALTER and UNDP “Development of E-learning Course on Environmental Education” projects.

Alexander also leads GIS Lab in the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. His expertise is in hydrology, GIS analysis and modeling, water resources management planning, environmental research as well as disaster risk assessment and assessment of climate change impacts on water resources. He has been involved as a GIS and Hydrology Specialist in more than 30 State and donor-funded projects in Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Alexander has a PhD in Engineering (Surface Hydrology, Water Resources, Hydrochemistry) from the Institute of Water Problems and Hydraulic Engineering after Academician I.V. Yeghiazarov.

Astghine Pasoyan
Adjunct Lecturer
Astghine PasoyanAdjunct Lecturer

Astghine Pasoyan has joined the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment in September 2015. She teaches and co-teaches courses on the interrelation of the humans and the environment, business and environmental sustainability, water, engineering green buildings, decision-making tools for energy generation and use. Concurrently, over the past twenty years Ms. Pasoyan has been heading a local non-profit Foundation to Save Energy, consulting the USAID, World Bank, European Commission, EBRD, UNDP and other donors and IFIs on energy efficiency policy, financing, planning, communications and capacity building in countries of Southeast Europe and CIS.  Astghine Pasoyan is a graduate of the Brown University, Providence, RI and the Yerevan State Economic University, Armenia.

Lusine Tadevosyan
Adjunct Lecturer
Lusine TadevosyanAdjunct Lecturer

Lusine Tadevosyan is the Adjunct Lecturer at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment for the Food course. She holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the Armenian National Agrarian University and received a graduate certificate in Agribusiness from Texas A&M University upon successful completion of the Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program of ICARE/ATC. Lusine is the head of the research department of the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) foundation. Moreover, she has more than 10 years of working experience in research, business advisory, and consulting sector.

Vardan Hayrapetyan
Researcher
Vardan HayrapetyanResearcher

Vardan Hayrapetyan serves as a researcher at the AUA Center for Responsible Mining since 2015. From 2017-2018 he has been the Teaching Associate of several environmental courses, including ENV 170-Chemistry in Everyday Life, ENV 203-Environmental Monitoring.

Christine Sturm
Fellow
Christine SturmFellow

The American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment is hosting its first Fellow, Dr. Christine Sturm, who will focus her work on sustainable energy issues. The term of her fellowship started in September 2018 and will end in April 2019.

Dr. Sturm brings to Armenia her many years of professional experience and her PhD research on Germany’s energy transition, Energiewende. Her career started in 1984 at the Institute for Chemical and Biochemical Energy in Bucharest. She coordinated a pilot project for coal gasification from planning to operation. Then, in 1987, she worked in Romania’s Electricity and Heat Generation planning department, which optimized Romania’s power plants.

Between 1992 and 2004 she worked in the central energy departments of large and energy-intensive paper manufacturers (Stora Feldmuehle AG, Duesseldorf; Haindl Papier GmbH, Augsburg; UPM Kymmene OY, Augsburg). At these manufacturers, she was responsible for developing new power plant concepts and energy procurement.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, while working for Haindl Papier GmbH, she led negotiations for the deregulation of the German gas market on behalf of the Federal Association of Germany’s Industry (BDI) and the Association of Large Industrial Energy Consumers (VIK).

From 2004 to 2016 she held several high-level management positions within the renewable energy arm of RWE, one of Germany’s largest utility companies. She led various departments including Energy Management, Feedstock Management, and Fuel and Disposal Management.

While working at RWE, Dr. Sturm enrolled in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability and was awarded her Ph.D. in May 2018. She intended to use her experience in the energy sector to analyze Germany’s energy transition and why it failed to achieve its decarbonization goals. The Ph.D. research allowed her to set her broad experience with the Energiewende within relevant academic literature and analytic frameworks.

Her research and dissertation focus on problems related to Germany’s energy transition and the lessons political and industrial decision-makers could learn to pursue more successful methods of decarbonization.

Arman Smigielski
Communications Consultant
Arman SmigielskiCommunications Consultant

Arman Smigielski is a communications consultant at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment who is in Armenia on a U.S. State Department Fulbright Scholarship. He writes features for AUA Newsroom and Facebook posts to publicize the work, activities, and staff of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Tufts University.

Christopher Markosian
Researcher
Christopher MarkosianResearcher

Christopher is currently a Fulbright Grantee in Yerevan, Armenia for the 2018-2019 academic year. He recently received his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Rutgers University, New Jersey. His background includes extensive research in the fields of developmental biology and structural biology. At the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, Christopher will work with Dr. Natella Mirzoyan conducting research on alternative methods of assessing human exposure to heavy metals.

Yeva Petrosyan
Intern
Yeva PetrosyanIntern

Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Intern at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment Yeva Petrosyan, an Armenian Volunteer Corps volunteer from Nantes, France, will spend next eight months in Yerevan working at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. Yeva holds a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Economy, and a Master’s in Economics of Environment, Sea, and Energy from the University of Nantes.

Yeva is interested in renewable energy technologies and their implementation, as well as sustainable aquaculture development. Currently, she is working on a publication about the Perception of Degrowth on a heterogeneous population sample with the help of Q Methodology.

At the AUA Acopian Center, she will be assisting with report writing and data analysis on the statistics related to mining and Sustainable Energy Academy 2018.

Olimpia Geghamyan
Expert in the Waste Governance in Armenia project
Olimpia GeghamyanExpert in the Waste Governance in Armenia project

Olimpia Geghamyan will be providing a legal and institutional analysis of the present waste management system in Armenia and its gaps to be aligned with the principles of circular economy.  She is an environmental lawyer, with a Ph.D. in human rights and the environment. Olimpia is an author of 10 articles and publications covering various aspects of human rights and the environment. She has been an active member of Environmental Protection Advocacy Center NGO (EPAC) since its foundation in 1998. Throughout her career, Olimpia has actively contributed to introducing and implementing legislative reforms aimed at improving decision-making mechanisms on environmental issues and public participation therein, increasing public awareness on environmental matters and promoting water rights. She is currently acting as a legislative expert in several programs funded by USAID and UNDP.

Olimpia Geghamyan is a lecturer of Environmental Law at the Yerevan State University School of Law. She is a visiting lecturer in the French University of Armenia, as well as in Academy of Justice of Armenia. Olimpia holds a BA and LLM from Yerevan State University School of Law, where she defended her Ph.D. thesis: Human Environmental Rights in Armenia.

Lusine Nalbandyan
Expert in the Waste Governance in Armenia project
Lusine NalbandyanExpert in the Waste Governance in Armenia project

Lusine Nalbandyan will be providing an institutional and policy analysis of the present biological waste management system in Armenia and its gaps to be aligned with the principles of circular economy.  She is an agro-ecologist. Lusine is a co-founder and the managing director at Armenian-Norwegian joint venture ORWACO, producer of certified organic fertilizers made of biological waste. She works as a researcher at “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO since 2006. Her work involves coordinating projects aimed at rural development, eco-tourism, biodiversity conservation, sustainable organic agriculture including pesticide and POP risk reduction, and organic fertilizer production. Lusine is a board member and a co-founder at “Rural Sustainable Development” agricultural foundation and a board member at “Pesticide Action Network Europe”. As the Head of the Agriculture Department at “NAIRIAN” CJSC, Lusine consults the production of various agricultural crops and herbs used in cosmetics. She is a chairperson of “Armenian Organic Association”.

Lusine holds a Master’s Degree in Agroecology from the Armenian State Agrarian University where she is currently completing her Ph.D. thesis on the efficiency of organic fertilizers.

Former Staff

Marine Asatryan
Environmental Education and Youth Projects Coordinator
Marine AsatryanEnvironmental Education and Youth Projects Coordinator

Marine Asatryan is an Environmental Education and Youth Projects Coordinator at AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. Ms. Asatryan coordinates, develops curriculum, and teaches middle and high school students on different environmental topics for the Center’s school outreach program. She coordinates the vermicomposting projects at schools within the Edible Schoolyard Project. Marine Asatryan also manages the internships, as well as placement of AUA students in environmental organizations.

Marine holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management at the American University of Armenia and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the Armenian State University of Economics.

Karen Aghababyan
Research Assistant Professor and Head of Environmental Lab
Karen AghababyanResearch Assistant Professor and Head of Environmental Lab

Karen Aghababyan is the Research Assistant Professor and Head of Environmental Lab at AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. He teaches courses in environmental science, sustainable management of natural resources, and wildlife biology. He was a 2007 recipient of the Whitley Award for Nature Conservation. He currently serves as Armenia’s National Coordinator for the European Breeding Bird Atlas 2. He has consulted UNDP, USAID, GIZ, WWF, and Ministry of Nature Protection of RA on nature conservation and monitoring of wildlife.

Karen holds a PhD Degree from the Institute of Zoology of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.

Evelyn Kamber
Adjunct Lecturer
Evelyn KamberAdjunct Lecturer

Evelyn Kamber is a forest engineer/forest scientist with a specialization in nature and landscape protection from the Federal Institute of Technologie ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Since mid-2016 she is working on a project looking at enhancing energy efficiency measures in rural areas to improve not only household savings but also take away pressure on forests.

Before joining the Center, she has been working in nature protection, natural resource management and climate change and development in different countries.

Valentin Mahou-Hekinian
Geography Researcher
Valentin Mahou-HekinianGeography Researcher

Valentin Mahou-Hekinian, from Paris, joined the AUA Center for Responsible Mining as a geography researcher in a short-term project to identifying and profiling sites in Armenia with acid rock drainage (ARD). He conducted research on methodologies on profiling sites with ARD. He piloted his method for the Tandzut mine exploration site near Vanadzor, Lori region.

Valentin holds a Master’s in Natural Hazards and Geography from Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University. Valentin has experience in working with governmental and nongovernmental institutions in France and Armenia and developed skills in project management, education and research related to environment and climate change issues.