Luys Foundation Unites Armenians in Promoting Excellence in Education

YEREVAN—It’s that time of year at the Luys Foundation headquarters in downtown Yerevan. The Luys scholars are just returning to participate in the Develop Armenia Program (DAP), where they’ll utilize their acquired knowledge and skills to mentor the youth, who are mostly in their early twenties.

Luys has a two-fold mission: learn and do.

Luys has a two-fold mission: learn and do.

The summer is packed with nonstop activities. From July 6-9, Luys scholars, their mentees, and the Luys team will convene in Yeghegnadzor to review DAP project proposals and prepare teams for the fieldwork to be carried out. Then, starting on July 11, DAP participants will split into groups, each comprised of around 15 people, and will go out to the regions of Armenia and Artsakh. They will have the opportunity to see the country from a different perspective, listen to citizens, and collaborate with one another to identify community needs. The goal is to collectively design and run projects and activities that address those priorities.


What Luys does

Luys has a two-fold mission: learn and do. Learn: The Luys Scholarship program augments the number of Armenian scholars in the world’s top universities. Luys ensures that Armenians come together as creative thinkers for Armenia’s benefit and contribute to the world. Several countries share many of our challenges. Do: The Develop Armenia Program harvests the fundamental knowledge and best practices of its scholars. Luys creates the transition from academic knowledge into real-life practice through concrete, meticulously planned field programs. Possessing knowledge is not enough; what’s vital is how to use it.

Luys is ready to support the education of any Armenian citizen or someone of Armenian descent aged 18-40 who is accepted into one of the world’s top universities.

For 28 years, Luys Foundation Executive Director Jacqueline Karaaslanian worked for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she ran the Future of Learning and Media Fabrics groups before moving to Yerevan in 2009 to assume her new role. “Some ask, ‘Why only the world’s top-tier universities?’ Because the entire world struggles with the challenges that Armenia also faces, and the most creative and inventive people gather and design the future at those institutions. Armenians must be among them,” Karaaslanian said.

“It’s the first time in this century since 1915 that an institution was created by the country to bring together the Armenian brain trust,” she explained. “I think it’s a powerful vision from Luys Foundation’s founders, President Serge Sarkisian and Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.”

Luys scholars have already secured successes. Only recently a Luys scholar at MIT, Armen Mkrchjyan from the city of Armavir, filed a patent for his invention of a technology that will enable farmers anywhere in the world to better manage their crops. A Luys scholar at Cambridge University in England, Vahe Tshitoyan, was congratulated by Prince Charles on receiving an award for his research in material physics to respond to the ever growing need of new energy sources. At Columbia University, Luys scholar Lilly Djaniants was awarded a grant for her research in architecture for peace. These are accomplishments from only the past five months.

“Our accomplishments do not measure only in the number of scholarships we grant—although it is high with 200 per year—but in the quality of what our thinkers produce for Armenia and by extension for the world,” said 36-year-old Gayane Ghumashyan, who has been with Luys from the very start.


How it all works

Luys scholars are hoping to create a self-sustained education fund. “Each of us needs to begin contributing a minimum of only $10 a year for 3 or 4 years to reach $300 million by 2015,” Karaaslanian said. “There are 10 million Armenians worldwide. The interest rate generated by the endowment fund would provide a more than healthy average of 350 scholarships per year and perpetually.”

In addition to granting scholarships, the Luys Foundation engineers the infrastructure to harvest and invest the knowledge of its scholars in Armenia while shaping the knowledge trends of the world. And about 500 high school students are enrolled in Luys’s mentorship and internship programs.

“Armenia cannot be isolated from the world,” Karaaslanian said. “Our founders envision Armenia as an active participant along with the leading nations. Armenia must contribute to the new knowledge-based economy. Luys scholars, while participating in shaping the knowledge trends of the world, also bring their knowledge to Armenia for the benefit of our people. The fuel of the future is brainpower, education, and innovation, and we must produce.”

Since it was founded only four years ago, almost 260 Armenian students have benefited from Luys with an average of $22,000 per scholarship and a total of $9,042,000. This is an all-time high scholarship granting process and the biggest in the Armenian world. The funding so far has come from the private sector and all successful Armenian companies from Armenia.

Luys scholars have been attended such universities as Columbia, Harvard, MIT, UCL, Cambridge, Oxford, Toronto, École Polytechnique, Hong Kong University, and ETH Zurich. The numbers of grantees are incrementally doubling every year.


Why Luys is a good investment

Luys generates the fastest rate of students with the highest education settling in Armenia. To date, 54 percent of the nation’s graduating population is happily employed in Armenia, of which 20 percent are originally from the diaspora.

The foundation’s achievement is already visible. The high concentration of Luys scholars in the world’s top centers of excellence has successfully branded Armenia as a country with powerful brainpower and a land of opportunities.

The operational costs are the lowest of efficiently run foundations, using only 7 percent of its full budget; the remaining 93 percent is dedicated to scholarships.

The message is clear: Armenia is standing tall and working hard to emerge from a charity model of survival. Armenia’s private sector is still in major need of development and support but also in need of a workforce with a 21st-century set of skills. Luys is responding to the need.


The results

Luys is the instrument for creating an ecosystem of private and public institutions that work together in Armenia. Luys alumni work in every sector of the economy, and they know the meaning of co-creating and co-producing.

“We have a very long and eloquent list of successes that we consider the success of all Armenians. The intention is to continue raising the number of Luys scholars annually. We believe that Luys’s fundraising strategy can be achieved by 2015-16 and we need everyone’s help in order to get there.”

Any of the 260 Luys scholars can be contacted through the Luys Foundation’s website (, where their biographies are posted.

Karaaslanian has high expectations about the Luys Foundation’s future undertakings for promoting excellence in education throughout the Armenian world. “We want young people who not only dream big but work hard to build the positive future of our homeland.”

7 Comments on Luys Foundation Unites Armenians in Promoting Excellence in Education

  1. avatar Harry Milian // July 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm // Reply

    Creative and Commendable !!!

  2. avatar Papken Hartunian // July 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm // Reply

    I admire the concept. However, I think, Armenia needs to develop modern weapon system more than anything else. I hope there is an online mentoring and collaborating opportunity already.

    • How do you know Armenia is not doing it already ?
      You think militaries of RoA and NKR are going to publicize what they do on the web ?
      No country does.
      Armenia’s engineers were working on a homegrown drone for years before anybody knew: then ‘suddenly’, they were in serial production.
      Armenia’s drone was in serial production while Turkey is still testing their Anka (a copy of Israeli drones).
      Azerbaijan still buys Israeli drones.
      And one of those Israeli-made Azerbaijani drones was brought down by NKR military: their engineers figured out a way to crash it when it intruded into NKR airspace.
      Don’t worry: RoA and NKR scientists and engineers are second to none.
      There are lots more where Artem Mikoyan, Sergey Mergelyan, Alexander Kemurdzhian, etc came from.
      Armenians lack one thing, and one thing only.
      Once that problem is solved, watch out.

  3. Regarding Papken Hartunian’s post, what Armenian needs now is democracy. When Armenia becomes a democracy, it will be able to develop all the modern weapons systems that it needs and will probably expand territorially. If it remains as it is, it will eventually collapse, as did the first Republic in 1920. The apathy of the people has reached monumental proportions, and it is apathy that kills a country. What will make Armenia strong will be the Armenian people, and the reality on the ground shows that the Armenian people do not want to live and create in the modern undemocratic Armenia. When Armenia becomes a democracy, it will harness and galvanize Armenia’s human resource potential beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations. Rule of law will restore the hope and faith of the people, which will lead to greater investment and reversal of emigration, which will lead to technological advancement, prosperity, and military might. That is what we miss for as long as democracy is denied to the people of Armenia.

  4. Regarding the issue of Armenian drones, one of the most dangerous things that we Armenians can do is fall under a false sense of security and blindly be excited by the self-serving propaganda of the Armenian government. It happened with the first republic. In the early 1920, Simon Vratsian stated that everything in the republic was good. Eleven months later, the republic was gone.

    According to online sources, Azerbaijan has 100 drones, while Armenia has 15.

    Is Armenia intentionally severely under-reporting the number of its drones? Noone knows. The massive amount that Azerbaijan spends makes it likely that it will have many more drones than Armenia. And given the conditions in Armenia, it is likely that the quality of the Israeli drones will be much higher than the quality of Armenia’s drones. The higher quality and quantity of Azeri drones will be a deadly combination for Armenia. The fact that Armenia shot down an Azeri drone only means that the Azeris have so many of them that they can afford to test them out in the field to a greater extent than the Armenians. And true, Armenians have many talented engineers, but many of these talents have left or intend to leave the country.

    That is why democracy is a matter of utmost national security for Armenia. Azerbaijan has oil, and our most valuable resource is our human resources. Lack of democracy wastes this only resource that we have, and it wastes it through emigration, apathy, hopelessness, and lack of investment. This all will be reversed when Armenia becomes a democracy. It will spur the national spirit, production, technological advancement–all components that will lead Armenia to become a regional power.

  5. I would like to know how many of Luys scholars return back to Armenia after graduation? Yes, they study, acquire knowledge and stay in the UK or other places around the world. Luys should make it compulsory to return back to Armenia or contribute to the development of the home country even when staying in other countries.
    Otherwise, taking the money from the Armenian government, from poor people and develop other, already developed countries, is not the best strategy in this case.

  6. avatar Anna Hakobyan // October 6, 2016 at 3:47 am // Reply

    Dear Mr/Mrs.
    My daughter Mariam Hakobyan, 18 years old, is a first year student of Queen Mary University, faculty of marketing in London. She graduated from French college in Armenia (2012-2015) with excellent marks and has a qualification of marketer.After college she entered the French University in Armenia, the same faculty, in 2015,and upon finishing her first year she applied to several Universitiesin London and has been successfully admitted to Queen Mary University as mentioned above. She wanted to use the opportunity to get better education and qualification thus she is now a student of the University.I know her to be very accurate,hardworking always doing her best to achieve better results. Her tuition fee as a foreign student is 15,000 pound and with the help of our friends and relatives we managed to pay for the first year.In childhood she unfortunately lost her fatherbecause of car accident, who had been a real patriot and served in Armenian Army in 1990-1993.At present it is hard for me to provide her with such a huge amount of tuition fee and I am trying to apply for scollorship to different companies and organizations for mitigating my burden.
    I would be grateful to you if you could grant her scollorship for the second year as much as it is possible for her to be able to continue her education.
    In case you need extra information regarding her background we are ready to feedback the soonest possible.
    Thank you for understanding and support in advance..
    My contacts:
    Mother,Anna Hakobyan
    Moskovyan street 31,apartment 88
    Mobile phones:
    0037493600795 Anna

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