Anna Hakobyan, the wife of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, announced at a press conference on August 7 that her My Step Foundation has been able to secure $517,000 in donations to help fund 2018-2019 academic year tuition expenses for 18 Armenian students who had previously applied for scholarships from the Luys Foundation, as well as 4 others.
The Armenian Weekly previously reported on the difficult situation that three of these students, with admission offers to the top universities in the world, found themselves in when the Luys Foundation announced in May that they would not be accepting new applicants for the coming academic year. Following the Velvet Revolution, the Luys Foundation, chaired in a personal capacity by former President Serj Sargsyan, put its program under review. Applicants had been counting on it to cover up to 75% of their expenses.
Hakobyan announced that the My Step Foundation’s intervention was a one-time emergency measure, made possible by donations from the Vitaly Grigoryants Foundation, AGBU, Toronto-Armenian benefactor Van Lapoyan, and other donors who wished to remain anonymous. As many of the students will be entering multi-year programs, discussions have already begun to assess the possibility of creating a more sustainable approach for future years. The scholarship recipients are all residents of Armenia and agreed to apply their new skills in Armenia upon their graduation.
Hakobyan thanked Arsinée Khanjian and Serj Tankian for their assistance in helping find donors. She founded the My Step Foundation in June 2018 “to find solutions for all problems, which cannot be fully addressed by the government at this point.” It aims to connect donors with impactful projects to create a healthy and inclusive society in Armenia. At the foundation’s official launch in July, she stated that it would use blockchain technology to ensure full transparency of its activities and that the foundation would be passed on to the spouse of the next Prime Minister after her husband’s tenure comes to an end.
Nikol Pashinyan also posted about the scholarship announcement on his Facebook account.