Irina MkrtchyanArmenia (Host: National Academy of Public Administration)
Irina Mkrtchyan is circular economy and grant writing expert, as well as environmental enthusiast from Armenia. She holds a master’s degree in Marketing, PR and Advertising from the University of Sheffield,UK and a second master’s degree in agribusiness from Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) in Armenia. She holds a BA in marketing and agribusiness from the same university. She is the co-founded and development lead of “ISSD” Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development of Communities” NGO (founded in 2017), where she is leading various environmental and rural development projects, supported by organizations like UNDP, Norwegian Retailers Fund and others. Irina is supervising grant writing, marketing, fundraising and development activities. She has raised over 550,000USD in grants and donations within the last 2 years. She has 13+ years of experience in marketing, consulting, public relations/outreach, solid waste management and environmental protection, green communication, strategic planning and development, project/grant management, startup management. She is specialized in designing, planning, executing and monitoring project and marketing/PR campaigns. Irina has strong knowledge and international experience in various industries including Fortune 500 companies, the World Bank, UNDP, GEF, World Resources Institute. Her professional/research interests are circular economy, waste management, recycling, marketing, grant writing, rural development, women empowerment, environmental protection and policy development, partnership development for implementing joint projects.
Host Organization: National Academy of Public Administration
Role at Host Organization: At National Academy of Public Administration, Irina will be serving as a Business Development and Communications Fellow: Supporting the organization’s development and fundraising efforts, and expanding and implementing communications strategies to leverage technology and social media for visibility of the organization.
Irina Mkrtchyan holds a Master’s degree in Marketing, PR, and Advertising from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Irina also holds a second Master’s degree in Agribusiness and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Agribusiness from Armenian National Agrarian University in Armenia. She is the co-founder and development lead of “ISSD” Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development of Communities” NGO (founded in 2017), where she is leading various environmental and rural development projects, supported by organizations like UNDP, Norwegian Retailers Fund, and others. Through this initiative, Irina has raised over $350,000 in grants and donations within the last 2 years. She has 13+ years of experience in marketing, consulting, public relations/outreach, and solid waste management. Irina is also highly skilled in environmental protection, green communication, strategic planning and development, project/grant management, startup management. Irina has strong knowledge and international experience in various industries including Fortune 500 companies, the World Bank, UNDP, GEF, and World Resources Institute. In 2018, she was awarded Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship during which she studied at the University of California, focusing on environment and rural development, after which she served as Marketing and Strategic Development Fellow at World Resources Institute (Water Team) in Washington DC.
Shushanna AbovyanArmenia: (Host: Atlas Corps)
Shushanna has more than ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She earned a Master’s of Information and Public Communication Technologies, PR and Bachelor’s of Linguistics and Intercultural Communication, both from the Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences. She also completed an academic exchange year in the U.S. through Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program, administered by the U.S. Department of State. While working as the Senior Adviser for EducationUSA Armenia, supported by the U.S. Department of State, Shushanna managed the EducationUSA center in Armenia. In this role, she actively promoted U.S. higher education by offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about educational opportunities in the U.S. and information on how to best access those opportunities. While liaising with U.S. institutions of higher education, she facilitated recruitment, and admission of Armenian students and increased student mobility. Previously, Shushanna worked for World Vision Armenia to build internet safety awareness and promote safe Internet for children. She has volunteered as a camp counselor, reading club instructor, and event coordinator for several organizations in the country, including American Councils Armenia, Capacity and Development for Civil Society NGO, and FLEX Alumni community. Through these experiences, she developed strong communication and marketing, project management and event planning, social media and strategic skills. Shushanna has a strong passion for empowering youth through storytelling and enjoys working on the topics of international education and exchange programs.
Host Organization: Atlas Corps
Role at Center for Atlas Corps Shushanna will serve as the Leadership Fellow: supporting the overall strengthening of leadership development in the nonprofit sector by helping to expand the American Express Leadership Academy franchise.
Zhirayr EdilyanArmenia (Host: Service for Peace)
Zhirayr worked as the Director of the Civic Development and Partnership Foundation (CDPF). With degrees in Economics and Human Resources Management from Indiana University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and more than a decade in non-profit management, he has worked for various development agencies and international organizations in programmatic and managerial positions. He has worked with the U.S. Peace Corps, USAID, World Vision, and AED. He has implemented over a hundred different development, strategic planning training and consulting programs in Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and USA. He is also a founding member of Professionals for Civil Society non-profit organization. Edilyan possesses strong skills and experience in organization and human resources management and development. He has significant experience in research, assessment and evaluation, as well as a strong background in organizing and conducting trainings, conferences, and workshops.
Host Organization: Service for Peace
Anna AyvazyanArmenia (Host: Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota)
Anna has nine years of nonprofit experience with different NGOs in Armenia and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Finances from Economics and Law University of Stepanavan, Armenia. While working as an Operations Manager at the Full Life NGO, she actively participated in projects focused on advocating for human rights and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, promoting principles of inclusive education within the USAID-funded “Strengthening DPO’s for Greater Outreach” project, and developing new projects and fundraising strategies. She was awarded with the Letter of Acknowledgement from the Governor of Lori Region for her efforts. Anna has worked at the Stepanavan Area Development Program regional office of World Vision Armenia as an accountant and volunteered with local environmental non-profits. In 2007 and 2008 she worked as an interpreter-assistant with international observers of OSCE at the parliament and presidential elections in Armenia. As a volunteer advisor she participates in pre-arrival orientations with students of the “Golden Bridge” Georgian-American Exchange Visitor Center. Through these experiences, Anna developed attention to detail, flexibility in cross-cultural communication, as well as strong skills in developing project proposals, budgeting, accounting and project coordination. Anna has a strong passion for human rights, equal opportunity, and gender issues. Above all, she champions sustainable development and social responsibility.
Host Organization: Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota
Hripsime AmirkhanyanArmenia (Host: HasNa)
Hripsime brings 16 years of experience of leading projects and volunteering for various international and local organizations. She has mostly focused on the implementation of different social and development projects to support the disadvantaged groups of people such as refugees, socially vulnerable families, certain categories of children, and the unemployed. While being a student at Vanadzor State Teachers’ Training Institute for her Master’s degree in Education, Hripsime started working for UNHCR, then continued her career with IFAD, UMCOR, UN WFP, and PH International, followed by CHF International Armenia/USAID in the position of Program Officer. During her professional career, Hripsime established strong links with partner organizations outside of Armenia and enlarged the scope of projects. Later, Hripsime received her second Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies with major in cultural differences, identity and philosophy through cultural studies and cultural geography. Hripsime is also a member of the Steering Group developing Youth Projects within European Union Programs and one of the organizers of youth exchanges among some EU member countries and Armenia. In 2011, Hripsime returned to PH International as one of the project leaders for the Armenian delegation to implement YouthLAB (Leadership Across Borders) project in the U.S. together with partners from Turkey. Hripsime is a very active participant of various training courses, conferences, and exchange programs. She is a great asset to any academic or working environment not only due to her high level of erudition but also her practical knowledge in the areas she is involved in.
Host Organization: HasNa
Arpine PorsughyanArmenia (Host: Eurasia Foundation)
Arpine has over ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned a Master’s degree in Policy Analysis and Administration from Duquesne University and a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from Tbilisi State University. Arpine brings a unique combination of experience in research and grassroots development. For over seven years, in affiliation with the Caucasus Research Resource Centers, GeoWel Research, and as an independent consultant, Arpine conducted research in the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia and the U.S. for a number of international and local organizations. Research covered a wide range of issues: migration, gender based violence and reproductive health, media, economic development, value chains, and justice. Arpine worked with JumpStart Georgia, where, besides researching and reporting, she trained media and nonprofit organizations in Armenia to use data, technology, and storytelling techniques to better advocate for human rights and civil society issues. She also has over ten years of experience in project design, fundraising and management, and transferred these skills through leading multiple workshops across the South Caucasus. Arpine served as a development expert for Ajakits NGO and Caucasus Research Resource Center-Armenia, and was a trainer and training specialist for the U.S. Peace Corps, among others. Through her nonprofit work experience Arpine acquired a diverse set of skills that include community facilitation using participatory civic engagement tools, and project design. Arpine is interested in asset-based community development models, the role of statistical data in development, and is passionate about women’s empowerment.
Host Organization: Eurasia Foundation
Role at Host Organization: Arpine will facilitate professional collaboration between Russia and the United States in the academic and social spheres. She will be assigned to a portfolio of projects under both the UPP and SEE programs, and will conduct a variety of tasks concerning them, including evaluation and monitoring, communication with implementing partners in both Russian and English, identifying networking and expansion opportunities, and examining possibilities for post-award sustainability. She will also conduct original research and present recommendations to senior staff members, draft a variety of technical documents, and perform other duties as assigned.
Lida MinasyanArmenia (Host: Global Fund for Children)
Lida Minasyan has seven years of experience in the human rights and nonprofit sector. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Yerevan State University and obtained her master’s degree in Human Rights at Central European University. Lida is the Board Chair of the Non-discrimination and Equality Coalition in Armenia. Since 2012, she has been involved with Society Without Violence, which is a nonprofit organization focused on women’s rights, as the Project Coordinator and Executive Director. Lida supervised the implementation of gender education and women’s empowerment projects, and she advocated for the elimination of domestic violence and LGBTIQ rights. She also authored a toolkit called ”Advocating for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325”, which relates to women’s involvement in peacebuilding processes. Previously, Lida worked in World Vision Armenia as a social worker and created a leadership school for teenagers. Through these experiences, Lida has developed strong skills in grant proposal writing, strategic decision making, and developing human rights advocacy strategies.
Host Organization: Global Fund for Children
Role at Host Organization: Lida will will help to research, define, and develop a refreshed strategy for grantmaking in Eurasia and Eastern Europe to support grassroots organizations that promote child rights in education, freedom from violence and exploitation, gender equity and youth empowerment. She will also contribute to the design of capacity building services for partners in the region and help to drive improvements in grantmaking operations across the global portfolio.