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.
Tel: +374 60 612690
Litta Muradyan 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.
Tel: +374 60 612692
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.
Tel: +374 60 612687
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.
Tel: +374 60 612694
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.
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.
Tel: +374 60 612696
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.
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 and UNDP funded “Development of E-learning Course on Environmental Education,” projects, 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.
Tel: +374 60 612520
Vardan Hayrapetyan is an Environmental Research Scientist at the American University of Armenia (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining. He is running an Environmental Laboratory at AUA. From 2017-2019 he has been an Adjunct Lecturer and Teaching Associate of several environmental courses, including ENV 203-Environmental Monitoring and ENV 212-Mining. The area of his research and work involves investigation and assessment of toxic sites affected by mining and other industrial activities.
Before joining the American University of Armenia, he worked at the Environmental Monitoring Impact Center of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA and Molecule Structure Research Center of the National Academy of Sciences of RA.
Mr. Hayrapetyan holds a Master’s degree in Physics from the Yerevan State University from the Faculty of Physics.
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.
Harutyun Alpetyan is a waste management expert at the American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment. His current research and work aim to promote and accelerate the transition towards a circular economy through education and innovation, cross-sectoral collaboration, and policy change. While acting as a leading expert and principal investigator, Harutyun also takes the role of policy liaison in many projects on waste initiated by the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. The area of his research and work involves waste handling and landfill mapping, national policies and strategies, sustainable waste management and landfill operations planning, waste quantity and composition studies, and other topics. Passionate about awareness-raising and education, Harutyun also teaches environmental courses at the American University of Armenia.
Tel: +374 60 612693
Siranush Harutyunyan has been with the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment as a Grants and Projects 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.
Tel: +374 60 612688
Dr. Alexander Arakelyan joined Acopian Center for Environment in 2018 as a GIS and Hydrology Expert. He joined AUA Acopian Center for the Environment and AUA Center for Responsible Mining in 2018. Dr. Arakelyan is managing projects related to environmental education and responsible mining issues.
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.
Dr. Vahram Elagöz joined the Acopian Center for the Environment at the American University of Armenia as an adjunct faculty in Fall 2019. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2004. His research interests include (a) the impacts of tropospheric ozone pollution on plant development and biodiversity, and (b) the socio-economic impacts of globalized agriculture on rural as well as urban communities with a specific focus on food sovereignty, agro-ecology, and the democratization of food production and supply worldwide. Dr. Elagöz has taught at various academic institutions in the United States over the past 12 years, including Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston Architectural College, Lesley University, and Clark University. In addition to teaching, he is an enthusiastic supporter of NGOs promoting local agriculture and farming. Most recently, he established a working relationship with the Small Planet Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Elagöz currently lives in Yerevan, Armenia.
Gohar Shahinyan is a GIS and Remote Sensing Specialist who is supporting projects at the AUA GIS and Remote Sensing Lab. She is currently conducting her Master’s Degree in Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modeling and Natural Resource Management, a collaborative program between Lund University (Sweden) and ITC | University of Twente (the Netherlands). She received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at Bates College. Gohar is also the co-founder of FEED: Foundation for Ecological Education and Design. FEED operates as an education, demonstration, and research site, offering focused, hands-on learning experiences grounded in permaculture principles, scientific methodology, and design thinking. The AUA GIS and Remote Sensing Lab is a collaborative initiative of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment and the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering.
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.
Tel: +374 60 612693
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Tel: +374 60 612689
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 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 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.
Luba Balyan is working with the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment as a researcher, building a repository of Armenian legislation, reports, and documents on forests in Armenia. She will also produce a report about the state of research on forests in Armenia and its gaps.
Luba is currently working to obtain a PhD in Zoology at the Research Center of Zoology & Hydroecology at the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. She has an MSc in Environmental Sciences & Policy from the University of Manchester, UK undertaken at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.
Throughout her career, she has been active in promoting biodiversity conservation, in particular birds. In 2003, she co-founded the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds, a leading bird conservation NGO and a former BirdLife International partner in Armenia. She was the Society’s CEO for 15 years.
From 2009 to 2017, Luba joined the international Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) Program and was the ENPI East FLEG Country Program Coordinator for the International Union for Conservation of Nature which promoted forest conservation and governance in Armenia.
Jack Herndon, from Boston, Massachusetts, is interning at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. Jack is currently studying for his Bachelor’s degree in political science with an interest in environmental policy at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. He is visiting the AUA Acopian Center as part of the Learning Inside Out Network (LION) program, through the Martin Institute of Law & Society at Stonehill College. The aim of the program is to provide undergraduate students with real-world experience and cultural immersion in either Armenia or Serbia. Jack’s work at the AUA Acopian Center will focus on community engagement in the adoption of sustainable energy solutions.
Dr. Khachikian is currently a faculty member in Civil Engineering at the California State University Northridge (CSUN). He has served as CSUN’s Associate Vice President for Research and the Graduate Dean. Dr. Khachikian earned his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA and a Masters of Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was the director of a multidisciplinary Center for Energy and Sustainability and he currently co-directs two programs, one focused on diversifying the biomedical workforce and the other to promote entrepreneurship and innovation across campus. Throughout his career, Dr. Khachikian has worked with faculty and students from dozens of fields and has successfully garnered over $50 million of funding to support faculty and students in various environmental, energy, and biomedical projects. Dr. Khachikian’s work at the AUA Acopian Center will focus on community engagement in the adoption of sustainable energy solutions.
Kayleigh Fay from Boston, Massachusetts, is a Birthright Armenia Volunteer who will be working at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment for the next ten weeks. She will be supporting research on agricultural waste management as part of the Waste Governance in Armenia project.
Kayleigh is currently a Masters student at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University studying Agriculture, Food and Environment. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut. She is interested in economic and policy incentives that increase the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and promote climate action. Kayleigh previously worked as a research assistant at the Global Development and Environment Institute in the areas of soil health and climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture.
Tatevik Harutyunyan, BS CS ’20, is working at the Acopian Center for the Environment since May 2019 on the “UNDP Development of E-Learning Course on Environmental Education” project and is engaged in the development of an e-learning platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
She is currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the American University of Armenia. Tatevik is interested in environmental studies and wants to pursue a Master’s degree in that field.
Karine Javakhyan is a work-study student at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment since June 2019. She is engaged in the “UNDP Development of E-Learning Course on Environmental Education” project, where she helps with different tasks for the development of an e-learning platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Karine is currently pursuing her degree in Business Administration, majoring in Business. During her AUA studies, she spent a semester abroad at SKEMA Business School, France, within the framework of the ERASMUS+ educational exchange program. She took a course on Environmental Impact Assessment, which made her even more interested in environmental problems and possible mitigating measures.