The start of cooperation announced between the Faculty of Special Education, ASPU, and the University of Minnesota earlier this week was continued in the format a meeting between the ASPU Rector and the U.S. colleagues.
ASPU Rector Ruben Mirzakhanyan spoke about the ancient history and culture of Armenia and expressed hope that the guests would have the desire to re-visit the country which is rich in historical sites and picturesque places.
The rector said he pins great hopes on the cooperation between the two universities in question and added that in addition to a number of leading Russian and European universities, the ASPU also cooperates with the University of Connecticut. “It is well known that America has the best education system in the world. We have a lot to learn but the cooperation will give the desired result if we take into consideration the peculiarities and traditions of the local educational system,” he said.
Ruben Mirzakhanyan added that the ASPU enjoys ‘monopoly’ in a number of specialties and he would be glad to see cooperation expanded in other specialties as well. He then presented ASPU’s experience in chess educations, inclusion of children with special educational needs, attempts to grow synthetic crystals, etc.
Members of the University of Minnesota also emphasized the importance of cooperation with the Armenian university. They said they had managed to admire the ASPU, see and learn a lot of things in a week.
The guests did not conceal their admiration for their Armenian colleagues, noting that special education specialists in Armenia are equally experienced and knowledgeable and they did not feel the language barrier: they also noticed compassion towards the sector and persons with special education needs. “We are here as experts, but we became convinced that Armenian specialists are equally experienced. We are confident that we shall have peer-to-peer cooperation,” said Renáta Tichá, Professor at the University of Minnesota.
“The monopoly of training special education specialists is more than obliging, and we need supporters in that responsible mission. Our first supporter is the ASPU leadership and the entire university staff. Thanks to them we have a driving force that always pushes us forward,” said Armine Avagyan, Dean of the Faculty of Special Education.
Stressing UNICEF’s role in the programme, she said they receive different types of aid, and the United Nations Children's Fund not only finances the programme offering beautiful and useful ideas, but also provides continuous support and guidance.
Armine Avagyan once again thanked all supporters and assured everyone that their ultimate objective is to provide education for all children.
Alvard Poghosyan, UNICEF Armenia's Education Officer, conveyed the guests’ admiration for the country and its people, hospitality of the ASPU, the level of preparedness of the academic staff. She expressed hope that the strong foundations that were laid with the cooperation would get even stronger as ‘the Fund highlights the role of educators in inclusive education and is open for cooperation.’ “There have been attempts but the result is more successful when the other person sees one step ahead,” she said.
Mr. Mirzakhanyan once again thanked UNICEF and Dean of the Faculty of Special Education, Armine Avagyan, for making the cooperation possible and for the effective work.
At the end of the meeting, the sides exchanged souvenirs.