A Canadian-Armenian has been named the first Charles Aznavour scholar at United World College Dilijan in Armenia. Armen Erzingatzian has been chosen as the first recipient of the scholarship. “I cannot describe what it felt like to be awarded a scholarship in the name of such a prominent person for all Armenians and French-speakers,” said Erzingatzian, “someone whose music I had listened to my whole childhood.”
The Charles Aznavour scholarship was launched in October 2018 by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in memory of the artist and humanitarian. UWC Dilijan together with the Aznavour Foundation established specific criteria for the scholarship. The successful candidate was expected to demonstrate artistic skills – abilities to compose or perform music, write, act in theater, paint, etc. Nicolas Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s son and co-founder of the Aznavour Foundation, actively participated in reviewing the applications and choosing the nominee.
Erzingatzian, a 17-year-old freshman at UWC Dilijan, was born in Montreal, Canada. Erzingatzian is interested in biology and music; he has playing piano since a very young age. For the past two years, Armen has been involved in many activities and volunteering opportunities; he’s worked at hospitals, led a green cooperative at his school and tutored in French and math at local kindergartens.
Aznavour was always an instrumental figure in the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, presiding over the first two Aurora Prize ceremonies in 2016 and 2017. It was decided that the new scholarship launched in his memory would be awarded annually to students from France and Francophone countries; students will have the opportunity to study at UWC Dilijan – an international boarding school in Armenia, part of the UWC movement. This scholarship was envisaged to unite Aznavour’s two worlds – France and Armenia – as a small way to memorialize those links and to continue to thank Charles Aznavour through the generations.
Erzingatzian first heard about UWC in the ninth grade when his school’s counselor visited his class and described a campus where people from all over the world come, live and study together for two years. The story about the movement fascinated the young man, and he told himself that one day he would love to study at the UWC Dilijan College in Armenia. “I am very proud of my origins and the idea of coming back to my roots sounded fascinating,” says Erzingatzian. In the fall of 2018, Armen applied through his national committee and became the candidate for the Charles Aznavour Scholarship.
About UWC Dilijan
UWC Dilijan is the first international boarding school of the UWC education model in the region. The college opened in 2014 in the Armenian town of Dilijan and currently has 229 students enrolled from more than 80 countries and 36 academic staff members from 15 countries.
UWC Dilijan represents an exciting extension of the UWC movement into the Caucasus region at the junction of Asia and Europe. Established in 1962, the UWC educational movement now comprises 18 international schools and colleges, national committees in more than 155 countries, and a series of short educational programs.
UWC Dilijan was initiated and masterminded by impact investors and entrepreneurs Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend with the support of other Founding Patrons. The college was built with generous donations from over 330 benefactors. Its admissions policy aims to make enrollment available to anyone, regardless of socio-economic background, on the basis of demonstrated need. Ninety-six percent of students receive full or partial scholarships, and 82 percent is an average scholarship.
The UWC Dilijan academic program – The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) – is an assessed program for students aged 16 to 19.
UWC Dilijan has four generations of alumni from 2016 to 2019; many of them continue their education at leading universities worldwide – Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, UCL, Duke, Berkeley, McGill, University of Edinburgh, Minerva School at KGI and many more.