ARPA Institute 25th Anniversary Conference and Banquet

Saturday, July 15, 2017, 10:00am - 5:00pm,

Glendale Civic Auditorium, 1401 N. Verdugo Rd. Glendale CA 91208

Armenians and Armenia in the 21st Century: A Strategy for Long-Term Development

  Please Click On the Title of the Talks for Their Corresponding Video
10:30 - Introduction Hagop Panossian, Ph.D., President of ARPA Institute
Mihran Agbabian, Ph.D., Conference General Chair, USC, AUA
10:40 - Keynote Speaker Yervant Zorian, Ph.D., Pres. Synopsys Armenia & Chief Archtct, Synopsys
Information Technology Research & Development in Armenia  

Session I - Armenia

11:15 - Developing Armenia into A Viable and Sustainable Economy
Chair Carla Garapedian, Ph.D., London School of Economics


King Banaian, Ph.D., Dean, School of Public Affairs, St. Cloud State U.
Economic Development in Armenia: Steps towards more freedom
David Joulfaian, Ph.D., Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Armenia's prolonged transition
Tatoul Manasserian, Ph.D., D.Sc. in Economics; Founder, Research Center ALTERNATIVE, Armenia
Utilizing national competitive advantages: Challenges and priorities
Discussants Ara Khanjian, Ph.D., Ventura College, CA
Mark Chenian, M.S., Indepen. commentator/lecturer, Beverly Hills, CA
12:45 - Panel Discussion; Q & A: Zorian, Banaian, Joulfaian, Manasserian, Mkrtchyan
13:30 - Lunch Break (Lunch will be made available)

Session II – Armenia-Diaspora

14:30 - The Social and Political Development of Armenia vis a vis Diaspora
Chair Hasmig Baran, Ph.D., California State University Northridge, CA
Speakers Razmig Shirinian, Ph.D., College of the Canyons, CA
Development as a process of state-building
Hratch Tchilingirian, Ph.D., Faculty of Oriental Studies, U of Oxford
Seeing the present from the future: Could Armenians be global with a broken homeland?
Irina Ghaplanyan, Ph.D., Prof. at AUA, Political Analyst & Author
Consolidating diaspora and developing Armenia: A mutual road ahead
Discussants  Edgar Martirosyan, Esq., Prin. & Mng Counsel, Martirosyan Prof. Co, CA
Carla Garapedian, Ph.D., London School of Economics
16:00 - 17:00 Panel Discussion; Q & A: Shirinian, Tchilingirian, Ghaplanyan, Martirosyan, Garapedian

General Chair

Mihran Agbabian, Ph.D., is Fred Champion Professor Emeritus of Engineering at the University of Southern California and President Emeritus of the American University of Armenia. He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (1982) and the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia (1990). Among the honors he has received are the University of California at Berkeley Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Citation in 1987 and the California Institute of Technology Award of Distinguished Alumnus in 2000. He currently serves as a member of the Science and Engineering Panel at USC. Dr. Agbabian is a highly respected scientist and community leader in Armenia, the diaspora and the world. He has received numerous prestigious awards and honors from the President of Armenia, the Armenian religious leaders, as well as other national and international organizations.

Keynote Speaker

Yervant Zorian, Ph.D., is a Fellow and Chief Architect of Synopsys Corp, Mountain View, CA and President of Synopsys Armenia. Previously he was the Vice President and Chief Scientist of Virage Logic Inc, and a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He has authored more than 300 scientific papers, four books, holds over 30 US patents, and received numerous best scientific paper awards. A Fellow of the IEEE, he was selected by Electronic Engineering Times among the top 13 influencers on the semiconductor industry in the past fifty years. Dr. Zorian was the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Industrial Pioneer Award, and the 2006 recipient of the IEEE Hans Karlsson Award. He served as the General Chair of the 50th Design Automation Conference, held in June 2013, in Austin, TX. He is also a member of the AGBU Board of Directors, serves as the chair of AGBU Silicon Valley Chapter, and a trustee of the American University of Armenia. He is a Diasporan member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

Session I Speakers

King Banaian, Ph.D., is Dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University. He is also a professor in the Department of Economics at SCSU. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of two books and more than forty articles and book chapters discussing monetary policy and political economy. He has served as a consultant to central banks and governments in several developing countries, including Armenia. He is a senior fellow of the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis, MN. King was state representative in the Minnesota House for District 15B, 2011-13.

David Joulfaian, Ph.D., is an economist and an adjunct professor of economics at Georgetown University. He has worked on diverse areas of economics and public policy. His research on the behavioral effects of taxes, and on entrepreneurship, philanthropy, intergenerational transfers, savings, labor and work effort, and other topics, is published in the Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Rand Journal of Economics, the National Tax Journal, the Journal of Macroeconomics, and the American Economic Review, among others. He has taught at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Middlebury College, and Yerevan State University (Fulbright), and briefly served as a US Treasury technical advisor at the Ministry of Finance in Slovakia and that of Armenia. He received his PhD in economics, with concentration in Economic Development and Public Finance, from Northeastern University. He is the co-founder of the Armenian Economic Association.

Tatoul Manasserian, Ph.D., graduated with a degree in economics from Kiev (Ukraine) State University in 1984. He is a professor, Doctor of Economics and author of 10 monographs and more than 500 scientific articles. Since 1983, Tatoul has been teaching in universities in Armenia and abroad. From 1984-1989 he worked as a head of scientific team at the Scientific Research Institute of State Plans and Standards under the USSR State Planning Department. From 1989-1990 he was the chief advisor of the Chairman of the Armenia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. From 1990-1991 he was the general director of the A. Sakharov Fund. From 1991-1992 he headed the Resident Mission of Armentrade Canadian Company. For the next five years he was the president of Armentrade-California Consulting Company. From 1993-1997 he was a professor at Southern California Redlands University and 1997-1998 the head of the Training Center of the Armenian Development Agency. From 1998-1999 he was the chairman of the Economic Task Group under the Political Council of the RA President and from 1999-2000 president of the Armenian Tourism Development Union. For the next two years he was advisor and head of International Organizations Division in the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001-2002 he was the head of the International Division in the Emergency Department under the RA Government. From 2002-2003 he was the scientific director of the Center for Strategic and National Studies. In 2003, he founded Alternative Research Center. On May 25, 2003, he was elected to the NA from the proportional list of the Justice Alliance and has served on the NA Standing Committee on Financial-Credit, Budgetary and Economic Affairs. He was a member of the Justice Faction and has no political party affiliation.

Session II Speakers

Razmig Shirinian, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Political Science and his MA in Political Philosophy from the University of Southern California. He has published two books: Politics of Transnational Minorities: Social Welfare and Human Settlements (English) and Contemporary Political Thought (Armenian) and numerous articles. Dr. Shirinian has taught political science at the California State University (CSU), Northridge; CSU, Fullerton; Cal-Poly, Pomona; and the University of La Verne. He is currently a professor at the College of the Canyons. He is a founding member and president of Scholars for Scientific, Educational, and Cultural Development, Inc. (SSECD), a charitable non-profit organization that aims to work with scholars in developing countries. He was a panelist in the ARPA Panel Discussion on the Armenia-Turkey Protocols in 12-2009 and a member of the Board of Directors of ARPA since 2012.

Hratch Tchilingirian, Ph.D., is a sociologist and associate of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, with a particular interest in modern and contemporary Eastern Christianity and Armenian studies. From 2002 to 2012 he taught and held various positions at University of Cambridge. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics and MPA from California State University, Northridge. His main research interests are in the field of sociology, diasporas, religion and inter-ethnic conflicts, with particular focus on the Middle East and the Caucasus. He has lectured widely and is the author of numerous monographs, academic studies and popular articles.

Irina Ghaplanyan, Ph.D., is a political analyst and a published author. She holds a doctorate degree in political science from the University of Cambridge. Her main areas of expertise are political leadership, states in transition, conflict resolution, gender, as well as security studies. Her previous education includes a Masters Degree in Diplomatic Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of London and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations from the University of Malta. Dr. Ghaplanyan has worked in a number of international organizations and think tanks around the world, including UNDP, Georgetown University, Chatham House, Eurasia Foundation, Hudson Institute, and many others. She has also been a catalyst for change in the field of sustainable business and social entrepreneurship in Armenia. Dr. Ghaplanyan has a number of academic and media publications, among which the most anticipated is the upcoming book titled “Post-Soviet Armenia: The New National Elite and the New National Narrative,” due to be released in 2017, by Routledge Publishers in London.

Session I Discussants/Panelists

Ara Khanjian, Ph.D., holds a Ph.D. in Economics from The New School for Social Research, in New York City. He received his M.A. in economics at Queen’s University in Canada and B.A. in economics at University of British Columbia. During the past two decades, Dr. Khanjian’s general research interest focused on Armenia’s economy. His current research interest is public finance and pension reform. He has lectured economics at different universities, including Hofstra, Saint John’s, and New York University. He has also served as an advisor to the Minister of Economy of Armenia. He is professor of Economics at Ventura College, in California.

Mark Chenian is a Founding Member of ARPA Institute, Los Angeles; First Chairman of Armenian Business Forum, Yerevan; Cofounder of Medzamor Foundation, Los Angeles; Principal ArmTech Congress, Silicon Valley; Vice President of AGBU of America, New York; VP of Armenian Educational Foundation, Los Angeles; Board of Zoryan Institute, Boston; Board of Alex Pilibos Armenian School, Los Angeles; Board of Save Cyprus Council, Los Angeles, and member of several Think Tanks in US and overseas. He studied Physics, Economics, Finance and International Affairs. His interest is in Conflict Prevention/Resolution & Economic Undercurrents. As an independent commentator/lecturer, he has authored white papers and lectured on: "Cyprus in 1974", (1975); "Governance of Armenian Private Schools in US", (1978); "Relocate MEI from Cyprus to Los Angeles", (1981); "Armenia: A Free Economic Zone within the Soviet Union", (1987); "Reciprocal Misconceptions: Armenia and Diaspora", (1992); "Reopening Medzamor Nuclear Power Plant", (1993); "Think Tank: The Missing Element in Armenia Reality", (1997); "The Peace Dividend that Never Showed Up" (2003); "Defense, Health, Education and Housing: National Security Issues and Single Payer System/Pools as Solution", (2004); Major Shocks to the Armenian Communities in Diaspora: Egypt 1956, Lebanon 1975, Iran 1978: Lessons Learned?", (2008); "The Non-Response of the Region to President Obama's 'Manifesto's/Speeches at Ankara and Cairo", (2009); "Aging Rulers and Succession Issues on the Near Horizon of Middle East", (2010); "Reflections and Evolution since Shavarsh Toriguian's 1973' The Armenian Question and International Law", (2015); "The New Generation of Winemakers: From Hardware to Software: Challenging the AOC Establishment", (2016). For over forty years he was associated with major firms in the financial sector.

Armen Mkrtchyan, Ph.D., a native of Armavir, spent his early years in Armenia. He later moved to the United States to complete his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of North Dakota, where he also received the most innovative engineering design and outstanding student awards. Mr. Mkrtchyan continued his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his PhD degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He developed a patent pending unmanned aerial vehicle for precision agriculture and developed a software tool for optimizing time and cost of product development projects. After graduation, Armen Mkrtchyan was appointed as Assistant Professor in the College of Science and Engineering at AUA and Director of Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center. Currently, Mr. Mkrtchyan works as a consultant at McKinsey & Company focusing on high tech, automotive, and semiconductor industries.

Session II Discussants

Edgar Martirosyan has a BA (UCLA) in Political Science & International Relations (2004), and a JD (UCLA) School of Law (2008). Has served as a Staff Member for the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs at UCLA and as an intern for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia (2005). While at school he was a clerk for the California Attorney General’s office, and as a judicial extern for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2007, Edgar was an external auditor for the Law Department of the American University of Armenia, and was invited back in the summer of 2008 as an Associate Teacher, where he formed and implemented an LSAT Seminar. He has worked at Dongell Lawrence Finney LLP as an Associate Attorney until 2005, then started his own firm. Edgar was on the ARPA Board of Directors.

Carla Garapedian is a filmmaker, director, writer and broadcaster. She directed Children of the Secret State about North Korea and was an anchor for BBC World News. After leaving the BBC World, she directed Dying for the President about Chechnya, Lifting the Veil about women in Afghanistan, Iran Undercover (Forbidden Iran for PBS Frontline World) and My Friend the Mercenary about the coup in Equatorial Guinea. Her feature, Screamers, was theatrically released in the U.S. in December 2006 and early 2007, and was on Newsweek's pick of non-fiction films for 2006/7. The Independent called it "powerful" and Larry King for CNN described it as "a brilliant film. Everyone should see it". The New York Times deemed it "invigorating and articulate," while the Los Angeles Times called it "eye-opening". "Carla Garapedian is a screamer, too," said the Washington Post.


Yervant Zorian: Information Technology Research & Development in Armenia
The rapid advancement in technology continues to change the life of mankind globally, thus increasing the dependency on technologists around the globe. Technologists have traditionally made up one of the strongest aspects of the Armenian society. That is why Armenia had a long tradition of generating successful technologists and creating advanced technologies. Since the advent of market economy in Armenia there have been new opportunities arising for those with the willingness to look for them. This resulted in fast growing information technology sector in the past twenty-five years from 3 companies to 450. This keynote will address the current trends in the IT sector in Armenia, covering education, research and development from startups to global multinationals. It will also discuss the ongoing growth challenges and opportunities and the roles of government, academia and industry to ensure potential growth.

Please Click On the Title of the Talks for Their Corresponding Paper

Session I

King Banaian: Economic development in Armenia: Steps towards more freedom
Despite a challenging external economic and political environment, the Armenian economy has grown almost 4% per year in per capita GDP. The economic freedom of Armenia is high in some areas, but challenges remain. Explored will be these freedoms, and a method to estimate the return on the investment in developing a better rule of law will be proposed. Work in this area could move Armenia closer to European levels of economic growth and prosperity.

David Joulfaian: Armenia's prolonged transition
Since its independence in 1991, Armenia’s transition to a market economy has been subject to numerous shocks. The latter include blockades and wars, as well as indirect shocks reverberating from regional and international geopolitical tensions experienced by its neighbors. Leading examples include its blockade by Turkey, instability in Georgia, sanctions on Russia, and global and regional economic crises. In addition, Armenia did little in the 1990s to allow for foreign investment or for greater economic engagement and integration of the Diaspora. Moreover, there are considerable social tensions and lapses in governance that limit the prospects of growth. Herein, reviewed will be some of the challenges Armenia has faced over the past quarter century and their effects on its economy will be explored. Among others, these include the reversion into a more agrarian economy (greater share of individuals engaged in farming), the disappearance of its past industrial base, immigration and demographic imbalances (more women than men), little in foreign investments and no meaningful migration from the Diaspora, reflecting on the absence of economic rights and legal protection.

Tatoul Manasserian: Utilizing national competitive advantages: Challenges and priorities
Examined will be the national competitive advantages of Armenia under the consideration of the major challenges and opportunities in their utilization. The role of the government in a globalized economy under current circumstances will be investigated, including growing uncertainties, economic threats, as well as new priorities for the nation. The existing environment of government intervention in the economy to support the implementation of major projects and solve various issues related to the national economic competitiveness will be revealed. Among issues related to the utilization of national competitive advantages, it is considered more appropriate to discuss the following: 1. The role of the state in new challenges; 2. Nature of competitive advantages on a micro-level; 3. Opportunities in increased level of competitiveness on a macro-level; 4. Sources and criteria to define competitive advantages; 5. Internal barriers of utilizing competitive advantages; 6. External factors and challenges influencing the process of utilization of advantages; 7. The Role of economic threats; 8. Michael E. Porter's theory and new realities in Armenia; 9. Economic growth, economic development, and human development: isolated indicators or interrelated trends? 10. Investigating success stories: Singapore, China, Ireland, Chile; 11. Regional challenges; 12. Integration formats in regional economy: BSEC, EEU, others; 13. The role of regional conflicts in utilizing national competitive advantages: Artsakh, Abkhazia, Ossetia, others; 14. The role of regional actors: Russia, Turkey, Georgia; 15. Lifted sanctions against Iran and gradual liberalization of Iranian economy; 16. Dependence of national competitive advantages on infrastructure; 17. Economic diplomacy in service of utilizing national competitive advantages; 18. Diaspora, as an unexplored national competitive advantage of Armenia.

Session II

Razmig Shirinian: Development as a process of state-building
The presentation will be prescriptive and will address the question of development in Armenia. It will attempt to clarify the fundamental implications of development and their close connection to the state-building process. The central argument is that development and state-building in Armenia are mutually complementary policy practices. They largely depend not only on how the broader regional situation evolves, but more directly, on its inward-looking political and socio-economic policies. Since its independence in 1991, Armenia’s development challenges seem to be inherently ingrained within the country more than in regional politics. Noteworthy are government policies that have been insufficient to address and meet infrastructural needs and have not adequately fostered legitimate and sustainable institutions that can be responsive to the well-being of the people. The newly established parliamentary system seems to launch a new dimension and a more responsive institution with a promise to move in the direction of an endogenous and inward-oriented state-building model. More importantly, the concept of human development is also entailed in this model. This is a challenging but fundamental concept for Armenia and embraces diverse paths and incorporates different aspects of human life. It goes beyond the scope of economic development and aims at the social conditions of human beings as the main goal of development.

Hratch Tchilingirian: Seeing the present from the future: Could Armenians remain a global nation with a broken homeland?
The rhetoric of “One Nation [two halves]”, “One Church [two heads]”, “One people [many parts]” is not adequate in the 21st century. This often-repeated slogan has not improved the state of the nation in the last few decades. There are critical differences between Diaspora-centric views of Armenia and Armenia-centric views of the Diaspora. Is it possible to forge a set of national values that would help address the needs of Armenia and Armenians in the probable as well as unpredictable future? Is it possible to find actionable solutions to national problems? These and other related questions will be discussed in depth during the lecture.

Irina Ghaplanyan: Consolidating diaspora and developing Armenia: A mutual road ahead
Diaspora’s engagement in the life of the Republic of Armenia has been on the political agendas of all the three administrations since the country’s independence in 1991. It has been included in the National Security Strategy, a state level Concept on Armenia-Diaspora Partnership Development has been produced, and a Ministry of Diaspora formed. Yet, the government of Armenia has largely fallen behind the goals set out in the concept, the statutes of the Ministry and the National Security Strategy. Equally challenging has been the Diaspora’s path towards building a meaningful relationship with the state. Diaspora has often been accused of the lack of a clear and unified vision towards Armenia. At the same time, Diasporic communities around the world have themselves been hurt by the lack of leadership and poor governance of the existing Diaspora organizations. More importantly, recent developments both in Armenia and the Diaspora have also revealed that the existing formalized platforms or networks (both in Armenia and the Diaspora) are not sufficient or are not ‘up to date’ to ensure proper engagement of both parties concerned. The civil societies on both sides of the fence have grown and matured and are now seeking more meaningful, more lasting and more importantly a cooperation or a relationship which entails a durable and a sustainable engagement. This paper examines the challenges that both the Republic of Armenia and the Diaspora faced in the various attempts to strike a meaningful cooperation since the inception of Armenia’s independence in 1991. In examining these challenges, the paper identifies and offers strategies for Diaspora’s effective engagement in the processes of developing Armenia.

Banquet Program (7pm - 10pm)

Heavenly Chants performed by Salpy & Sossy

Dr. Hagop Panossian, President, ARPA Institute

U.S. and Armenian Anthems
Souren Mkrtchyan, Tenor

In Memoriam
Moment of Silence for the Deceased ARPA Board Members


Introduction of ARPA’s History (video) 
Dr. Carla Garapedian, Master of Ceremonies

Souren Mkrtchyan, Tenor

Opportunities in Armenia 
Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, AUA President

“Eternal Flame” Award Presentation
Recipient: Mr. Zaven Akian, Benefactor

Presentation of Resolutions
By Councilman Paul Krekorian and Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian

Closing Remarks
Dr. Carla Garapedian, Master of Ceremonies

Please Sponsor ARPA Institute's Ambitious Nano-Technology Initiative in Armenia

Sponsorship Form
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Mr. & Mrs. Jordan Brysk & Lorig Panossian & their daughter Lara; Armen & Tamar Panossian; Baruir Panossian
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Infinite Dental Wellness
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Blueprint: Nano-Technology Research and Development Center in Armenia

The Nano-Technology Research and Development Center (NTRDC) is being planned to serve as an interdisciplinary facility to be established in Yerevan, Armenia, and it aims to:

  • Encourage research and entrepreneurship in nanotechnology;
  • Provide an information and knowledge exchange platform for the scientific and engineering communities in Armenia;
  • Organize events featuring innovations in nanoscience and engineering.

The idea is to create an environment whereby researchers in nanotechnology can commercialize their technology by proposing a business plan for the successful creation of nanotech start-ups. The ultimate aim is, however, to provide the means to strengthen Armenia’s position and transform its relatively advanced science and technology to play a leadership role in nanotechnology.

The NTRDC may bring scientists from across Armenia and even from the neighboring countries to carry out joint research and development of new materials and technologies. The long-term goal is to create an advanced fabrication and experimentation facility specializing in various areas, which may revolutionize medical diagnostics, analytical chemistry, genomics, cell biology, low power electronics, flexible electronics and sensors, nanofabrication, energy harvesting and conversion, programmable matter and many other fields.