Dr. Garo Armen, “You Can Create Things in Armenia that You Could Never Do Elsewhere”
On September 22, Dr. Garo H. Armen, a Diaspora-Armenian entrepreneur and philanthropist, founder of Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) met with the students of Russian-Armenian University.
In an open and sincere discussion, Dr. Garo H. Armen and RAU Rector Prof. Armen Darbinyan talked with RAU students about Armenia’s economic development, the promising role of rural youth in the future of the country, social and civil responsibility.
Dr. Garo H. Armen highlighted the importance of human capital in the national economy, “We need a new Armenia, but not through imitation, but by creating a new, unique development model. To achieve that, we need to involve the Armenian rural population and especially youth. We have about half of our young generation in villages - these young people are intellectual and cultured. But they feel neglected and forgotten. We need to find ways to include them in the Armenian economy”.
His fund’s new initiative, SMART Expansion, aims to revitalize the rural areas of Armenia and help the communities to fulfill their potential by connecting them to best global practices in education, health, arts and sciences, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental practices. The 1st SMART Center is located in the Lori region and will commence its operations in early 2018. A number of experimental centers and ventures will also be opened in other rural areas. As Dr. Armen mentioned, they are going to transform the communities into self-sustaining ones by integrating digital agriculture, self-sustaining energy systems, solar energy and other technologies.
He confided that moving to Armenia is his much desired goal, “Don’t think that life outside is better than in Armenia. In fact, I cannot wait to bring my business to Armenia. If an opportunity creates itself, go and study abroad and then come back. However, do not underestimate the power of what you can learn here. Here you can create things you could never do in elsewhere. Here you can start anything from scratch”.
The speaker advised the students to take thought about personal and social health, “Start with a healthy body - eat healthy food, have enough sleep and be active. Take the fried food and sweet and throw them out of the window! It is essential, because if you are not healthy and something happens, then instead of worrying about each other, your country, your history and future, you will start worrying about yourself. Second, think about the health of the society. You need to keep your environment healthy. Take care of insiders - your family, your city, your village, your nation. It’s your responsibility to help others!”