YEREVAN — Karine Sarkissian (MBA ’93), a cherished alumnus of the American University of Armenia (AAU) from the first class of 1993, was recently hired as the executive director of Military Insurance Foundation, commonly called the 1000plus.am organization. An accomplished alumnus, Sarkissian enjoyed a storied career filled with notable milestones.
Born in Yerevan, Sarkisian is proud to have been raised in her homeland, a place she can’t imagine being far away. “I am an Armenian from Armenia and I will always be here,” she said. Raised and educated in a Soviet society, she remembers being one of the many people who dreamed of traveling to the United States to explore the Western way of life, culture, education and work opportunities. After the collapse of the USSR, freedom and decision-making autonomy were granted to citizens and many constraints were lifted. Soon after, the AAU was founded and Sarkissian was given the opportunity to join the first cohort of graduates.
Sarkissian remembers admiring the faculty and enjoying the University’s totally different educational style. “All the class [of 1993] demonstrated a great passion for learning and felt privileged to study in the American education system, which also presented its own challenges as it was totally new to us,” she says. After earning her MBA in 1993, she continued her studies in management at Northwestern University in Illinois as a recipient of the Edmund S. Muskie Fellowship Program, graduating in 1995 and returning home to Armenia.
Sarkissian has held key leadership positions in reputable private and public sector companies, including Johnson & Johnson; the Coca-Cola Company; the United Nations; the Austrian Development Agency; and the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia. In her most recent appointment as CEO of the Insurance Foundation for the Military – established to provide compensation for the welfare of fallen, missing and disabled Armenian soldiers and their families – she feels a strong sense of responsibility. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the victims of war and their families who have sacrificed their lives for our country, and we will do our best to support them financially, as well as to connect them with the appropriate resources so that ‘They may prosper and prosper,’ she says.
As Armenia continues to recover and develop in a post-war and post-pandemic society, Sarkissian recognizes the critical role education will play in Armenia’s economic growth and progress. Noting AAU’s 30th anniversary, Sarkissian reiterates the University’s tremendous contributions to establishing and maintaining the highest standards of quality and globally competitive education, saying, “AAU plays a leading role as a model for other educational institutions to replicate. The AAU has successfully generated thousands of graduates who have had and will continue to have an impact on Armenia. With a highly educated generation, we can build a better society and a powerful and globally competitive Armenian nation.
As a successful alumnus, Sarkissian offers sound advice to current and future AAU students and graduates, emphasizing the importance of clearly defining their career goals early on and working towards them through volunteer opportunities. or internship that become available to them as soon as possible. “Today’s labor market is very dynamic. You have to be in continuous learning mode to develop the soft and hard skills needed to stay competitive in the workplace and enjoy your personal life,” she comments, reminding everyone to be “proud to be graduated from AAU, the leading educational institution in Armenia. .”