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TEDxAUA: Utilizing A Global Platform for Inspiration and New Ideas

TEDxAUA, 2023

TEDxAUA serves as a platform for students, alumni, staff, and faculty members to spark discussions, find connections, and as the TEDx slogan states, share “ideas worth spreading.” It has been a part of the AUA community for over five years, founded by AUA alumna Seda Babayan (BAB ‘19), with the help of the Office of Student Affairs and their first club advisor, Kristine Sargsyan, the founder of TEDxYerevan and adjunct lecturer in the AUA Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics.

“There were many great people at AUA with big ideas, unique experiences, and fascinating stories, which deserved a platform to be shared with a wider audience. This is exactly why I started TEDxAUA: I knew it had great potential and I intended to create something that would leave a lasting impact on AUA and the broader community. TEDxAUA serves as a two-way platform for spreading ideas from AUA to the world and bringing new ideas from around the world to our campus,” says Babayan.

Sona Gevorgyan (BAEC ‘23) and Gayane Yesayan (BAB ‘23) were the co-organizers of the TEDxAUA 2023 event, which took place on April 15. They joined the TEDxAUA in 2020, and in a time of uncertainty amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, their involvement in TEDxAUA became a motivating force for them as well as a space for bonding. Over the years, the co-organizers have witnessed the progress and the direct impact of the events, as well as their personal and professional development. “I have gained soft skills through this experience. Before joining TEDxAUA, I had no idea how to write a speech, edit text, or practice public speaking effectively. We stepped out of our comfort zone and gained a sense of professionalism, considering we were obliged to follow TEDx guidelines. This is an incredible platform and culture, and we aim to promote it among the freshmen class,” notes Gevorgyan.

Sona Gevorgyan and Gayane Yesayan

With a desire to expand the TEDx culture beyond the main annual event, the team is growing the TEDx mission on campus through club activities and organizes smaller annual events. The efforts are supported by the AUA Student Affairs Office, and their recent club advisor Dr. Elitza Kotzeva, assistant professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at AUA. 

In addition to the interpersonal and leadership skills the organizers developed, other ways in which the club benefits students is by giving them the unique opportunity to share their ideas on a global platform for the world’s most prominent thought leaders and innovators. “We received positive feedback and saw how the TED culture impacts the lives of the AUA community. One example, in particular, is the speech of Samantha Isabela Adalia (BAEC ‘23), an AUA student from the Philippines majoring in English and communications who brought many amazing ideas to the table. Her diverse background motivated her to give her talk on reading and writing and how the power of language can make a powerful difference in the world. Following the event, she went back to the Philippines and was involved in a number of conferences and writing workshops because the organizers loved her speech and the ideas she was raising,” remarks Yesayen. Adalia is now working at the Math & Writing Center at AUA as a writing consultant. 

Following their graduation this year, Sona and Gayane will continue to work on mentoring the new members of the TEDxAUA to ensure that the same quality and consistency is upheld for many years to come.