Engage Armenia Forum 2024

Attend this interactive event to rethink and revitalize your engagement with Armenia. Find us in one of these eight European cities from March 6th – 13th, 2024.

Official language of the event: English

Panel Discussions, Presentations of Initiatives & Networking

Panel discussions provide a platform for speakers to share their personal experiences and insights. Topics will include volunteering, internships, expertise sharing, supporting projects, higher education opportunities, career options and business investments, repatriation and integration in Armenia, as well as tourism. This interactive format allows attendees to ask questions and engage directly with the panelists.



6 - 13


Join us in









Speakers from Armenia

Vartan Marashlyan
(Repat Armenia)

Vartan was born in Armenia but lived in Moscow for over 25 years. He moved back to Armenia in 2010. Before co-founding Repat Armenia Foundation in 2012, Vartan was the Deputy Minister of Diaspora. He also worked as Economic Advisor to the British Department for International Development. He’s also an international expert on State-Diaspora relations. His private sector experience includes real estate development and banking. Vartan strongly believes that Armenia should be the key element of our identity.

Nelly Poliakov
(H. Hovnanian Family Foundation)

Nelly, a French native with a degree in communications, moved from Paris to Yerevan in March 2020 to join Birthright Armenia and Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) as their marketing director. Since March 2022, she has served as the Head of Communications for the H. Hovnanian Family Foundation and its four programs: Birthright Armenia, Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC), Repat Armenia, and HIKEArmenia. She believes that the best way to understand what Armenia has to offer is to live there, even for a short time.

Sevan Kabakian
(Birthright Armenia & AVC)

Sevan has served as the Country Director of Birthright Armenia since his relocation to Armenia from California in 2006. Formerly an aerospace engineer, Sevan brings over 35 years of experience in fostering connections between Armenian youth and their ancestral homeland. Sevan believes that emotional connections to Armenia are not sufficient and that the key to harnessing the diaspora potential is to create practical connections and engagement opportunities.

Nazareth Seferian
(Impact Hub) 

Nazareth was born to Lebanese-Armenian parents and grew up in India, before moving to Armenia in 1998. He has been working in sustainable business since 2008, including the development of CSR and social entrepreneurship in Armenia. Nazareth joined the board of Impact Hub Yerevan in 2021 and helped establish the VIA Fund, the first impact investment fund for social enterprises in Armenia. Nazareth is married and has three children, and he believes Armenia is the best place to raise kids.

Sisian Boghossian
(RA Tourism Committee)

Originally from Iran, Sisian grew up in Toronto. She came to Armenia through Birthright Armenia in 2019, and then joined the iGorts program of the Diaspora High Commissioner’s Office in 2021. Within 3 months of the program, she was appointed as the Head of the Tourism Committee. She is now dedicated to elevate Armenia’s profile as an attractive tourism destination with the sole purpose of showcasing the beautiful, authentic, and captivating country that is Armenia.

Gevorg Poghosyan
(ReArmenia Platform)

Gevorg is from Armenia. He co-founded Idram, the first e-payment system in Armenia, TCF in 2016, the world's leading marketing agency in the field of crowdfunding, and Prelaunch.com in 2022. Gevorg was also a founding president of “GlobalAM” foundation, developing the Armenian Startup Ecosystem. He also acted as a business angel and invested in Armenian startups. Since 2021, he has been engaged in social entrepreneurship and is the CEO of ReArmenia platform.

Hrayr Barsoumian
(Optimize Consulting)

Hrayr was born into an Armenian family in Lebanon, he followed his heart and relocated to Armenia in 2018. Further to his current role as founder and CEO of Optimize Consulting, he is an Executive MBA instructor. His journey, marked by resilience and entrepreneurial drive, reflects the spirit of repatriation. Hrayr shares insights into his experiences, offering a compelling narrative of reconnecting with his roots and thriving in the Armenian business landscape.

Larisa Hovannisian
(Teach For Armenia)

Larisa was born in Yerevan and raised in the USA, moved to Armenia in 2012. She is the Founder & CEO of Teach For Armenia. Recognized by the Armenian Government for her contributions in 2016, Larisa's focus remains on the achievements of her students and the dedication of her Fellows. As a dynamic speaker, she shares insights into transformative education practices and the pursuit of excellence.

Garik Gevorkyan (Move2Armenia)

Garik was born in Yerevan and pursued his education in Russia. His professional experience at Troika Dialog as a financial consultant led him to the founding of General Invest, an Investment Company. In 2020, he returned to Armenia with his family and co-founded Move2Armenia, an organization aimed at making a positive impact. He is a loving husband and devoted father, raising four children with the same values and aspirations that have driven him throughout his life.

Shoushan Keshishian
(Hub Artsakh)

Shoushan is from Lebanon. She studied abroad before moving to Armenia in September 2020. Shoushan relocated to Stepanakert after the 2020 war to found Hub Artsakh and contribute to the rebuilding and development of Artsakh. Now based in Yerevan, she continues to run Hub Artsakh. She also co-founded the Sunrise Stepanakert annual art festival which took place in Artsakh for the past four years. Shoushan is passionate about creating a positive impact in Armenia.

Raffi Kassarjian

Raffi was born in Lebanon and grew up in San Francisco. He first went to Armenia after independence in 1992 and moved permanently there in 2008 with his family. Since then, he has led several organizations as CEO, including iCON Communications, TeamViewer Armenia, UATE and now Sensyan LLC, and is a founding board member of Repat Armenia, Impact Hub Yerevan and EVN Report. His wife and he are very proud of their two children’s decisions to return to Armenia after university studies in the USA.

Marie Lou Papazian

Marie Lou was raised in Lebanon and moved to Armenia in 2005 from the USA. As TUMO’s founding CEO, Marie Lou Papazian developed the center’s educational program and led the design and construction of its flagship facility. Prior to TUMO, Marie Lou led the Education for Development Foundation linking Armenian students to their global peers through online educational activities. Previously, she was lead construction manager on prominent high-rise buildings in New York City.

Samson Avetian

Marina Ghazaryan
(M.A.M Foundation)

Gaia Manukyan
(National Network Media Cultural Platform Foundation)

Local Moderators and Speakers

Tatiana Der Avedissian

Tatiana, born in London, is head of business development for Economist Impact's World Ocean Initiative and sits on The Economist Group's sustainability steering committee. She helps lead the strategy and fundraising efforts for two charities in the UK, serving as trustee and co-president of Alkionides UK, and chair of the board of trustees of the Armenian Institute. She is co-founder of The Armenia Project, an initiative of the H. Hovnanian Family Foundation, co-president of the Harvard Kennedy School Women's Network and sits on the board of the UK-Cyprus Enterprise Council.

Heiko Jessayan

Heiko was born in the Netherlands as the (grand)son of stateless refugees who had fled from Turkey to Greece because of the Armenian Genocide. His parents came to the Netherlands in 1956 with a so-called “Nansen” passport. Heiko studied philosophy and musicology in Amsterdam. He has worked as a journalist since 1985.

André Gumuchdjian
(Brussels and Alfortville)

Andre, a Belgian-Armenian philanthropist and entrepreneur, founded Hay Doun in Brussels, when he became vice-president of the Armenian Committee of Belgium. He has been involved in different projects in Armenia and Artsakh since 2013. Motivated by the belief that forests are crucial for Armenia's sustainable future, he founded My Forest Armenia in 2018. His mission is to build a healthy environment for generations to come.

Tigrane Yegavian

Tigrane was born in Paris and grew up in Portugal.
As a PHD candidate and journalist, he is currently teaching at the Schiller International University (Paris Campus). He is the author of many books focusing on the geopolitics of the Middle East, eastern minorities, and Armenia.

Vartan Kaprielian

Vartan, born in Lebanon, is an entrepreneur who later moved to Paris. His background includes five years at the Theological Seminary of Antelias, followed by studies in Aix-en-Provence.
Since 2009 he co-founded Ilsis Consulting and Modd Events companies in Armenia. Currently, he owns Noah Voyages in Paris and is the founder of the newly established All-Armenian social media, MIASIN.

Vicken Bayramian

Vicken, born in Beirut, is an international business lawyer and serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in counseling international trading concerns, banks, multinationals and shipping companies. He is a founding partner at Field Solutions in Geneva, specializing in dynamic solutions, and a co-founder of Cryptolex, a blockchain pioneer with innovative products such as Masterblock and VOIX.

Vaner Harutyunyan

Vaner has served as the Deputy Consul at the Consulate General of Armenia in Lyon between 2013-2015 and has served as the diplomat in the Embassy of Armenia in Paris and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia (2000-2017). He is the co-founder of Passenger.am and currently the director of the French-Armenian Council (CFA). Vaner contributes with over 10 years of expertise in management, international relations, and law.

Charig Osipian
(Marseille and Lyon)

Charig, born and raised in France, visited Armenia for the first time in 2010 and later relocated there. Actively involved in many projects in Armenia, she contributed to the international development of Armath labs abroad. She is an active member of the Armenian Relief Society and has also co-founded a French Armenian school in France, where she serves as the board member. Charig urges people to engage with Armenia through different projects, as it is the best way to impact the development of the homeland.

Carel Hofstra

Carel, born in Amsterdam, has almost 20 years of experience managing teams in Armenia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Among others, he led the Armenian Office of International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), worked at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as Program Manager and Deputy Head of Office, overseeing administrative and legislative reforms. He holds a master’s degree in Dutch Civil Law from Leiden State University. Carel is the former Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in Armenia.

Narek Setrak

Narek, originally from France, is a railway engineer by profession. He has been involved with the AYO association since 2011 as a volunteer for summer humanitarian missions and has been its President since 2016. He believes that even if one is not physically present in Armenia, much can still be done from distance, to make a difference for Armenia. Through his association, he has contributed to the construction of Armenian schools in France and the renovation of infrastructure in Armenian villages.


30 min

Registration & Reception

20 min

Opening remarks: Why to be engaged with Armenia today?

40 min

Panel discussion and Q&A : Experiencing Armenia

60 min

Showcasing Opportunities for Engagement

60 min

Networking with our speakers and partners

Why would you come to Engage Armenia Forum 2024?

In Armenia, the challenges are great, the times uncertain. And this is when we all need to increase our engagement. The question of why one should engage with Armenia may already be on the minds of many in the Diaspora. Some have long standing connections, while others are considering this opportunity for the first time. The Engage Armenia 2024 tour provides a platform to rethink, revitalize, and put into practice your engagement with Armenia, regardless of where you currently stand.

By participating, you are taking a significant step towards reshaping your connection with Armenia.

We will see you all this March!

Event partners

United Kingdom

The Netherlands





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