First of all, Ayb is about people who believe in Aybian ideas and their feasibility. The series created on the occasion of Ayb's 15th anniversary aims to reveal the individuals behind the Ayb idea, their path, and future plans. These people have invested their time, professional and financial resources in the implementation of the idea due to which today we have not only innovative educational projects but also a strong, well-established community standing by education.
Artak Hovhannisyan is an IT Specialist, Manager, Candidate of Economic Sciences
Deputy General Director of EPAM
Hobbies: Travelling, literature, painting
Sports: Swimming, running, table tennis, football, basketball
Likes writing stories, studied creative writing
How David Yang made an Aybian out of me
In 2006, Yerevan Magazine issued a series of publications dedicated to the successful Armenians in the IT field. David Yang, who was among them, mentioned in his interview the establishment of Ayb School which he assisted. Shortly after, when I met David at a conference for IT specialists in Sochi, I asked him about the school and learned that it was established by several PhysMath School graduates to help Armenia. From that day on, I joined Ayb, embarking on my Aybian path.
Education is an environment where smart children enrich and inspire one another rather than compete.
When we were in Tsarskoye Selo, near Saint Petersburg, our guide told us about one smart thing that the emperors and empresses once did, which was to bring the gifted children together. The truth is that you may not only double or triple but also increase by ten times and more the impact of the gifted by just bringing them together. In that regard, PhysMath in our times was an exemplary school, for it united all those who wished to become scientists one day. Remarkably, my classmates and I are still very close; the first thing I used to do upon arriving in Yerevan was to meet them.
To me, education is an environment, and the idea to create such an environment, where smart children would enrich and inspire one another rather than compete, was laid in the basis of Ayb's establishment. All successful universities, including MIT, Stanford or Moscow State University, are centers that cluster gifted people together to create brain hubs. Ayb is one of them. I believe that the Ayb graduates are those agents of change.
Even if we were to eliminate the emotional aspect of the issue, the British and American scientists have long proved that exponential economic growth and livelihood improvement occur where technological, brain network and even humanitarian hubs are created, changing people and everything around. In that sense, I believe, Armenia lacks Ayb-like structures on a higher education level. Apart from that, we need to be more open towards the world and make sure people come to Armenia to study. America is where it is today owing to hosting the best students from all over the world.
The question the Ayb Community poses is, “What can I do for the state?”
There are two approaches towards the relations with the state. The first one inquires what the state can do for us, while the other, conversely, seeks to identify what we can offer the state. Ayb, I believe, is a unit that operates in compliance with the second approach. In addition, we ask ourselves, “What have we already done for our country?”
Every time I travel around Armenia, I notice that the roads and building entrances are in an extremely poor state, yet when I enter people’s houses, I find everything in perfect order, neat and clean. This clearly illustrates our approach to public space, which can be summarized as, “I am not responsible for what I do not own.” In Western countries the situation is quite the opposite; the decrees that envisage, for instance, the responsibility of homeowners to take care not only of their private property but also of the surrounding territory, were issued not on the state’s initiative but following the public pressure. It is not the case with us, unfortunately.
We should acknowledge that we are a poor state with limited resources, whose rescue or development is not in any state’s political interest, so we should rely on nobody else but ourselves. As they say, charity starts at home; so we should start with supporting those closest to us and those who need it most.
We should be ready to plant trees in whose shade we shall never sit.
Just like the Greek and other old nations, we Armenians tend to retrospect and live in the past. It should therefore be important for us to foresee what is going to happen in 50 or 100 years, i.e. to face and trust the future rather than dwell on the past. We should be ready to plant trees in whose shade we shall never sit. We should be ready to accept that no matter where we may be, the developments in Armenia are going to impact us, and this became particularly obvious during the recent war. I kept thinking those days that apart from having established and invested in the school, we should have invested in our army as well. I thought a lot about the causes behind our defeat, and in my opinion, there were several of them. One was our political immaturity; we lacked professional diplomats with a state-oriented mindset who could establish efficient relations. Secondly, we lacked drones and were technologically inferior to the adversary, and neither our diplomats nor the military leadership had taken care of that. Israel, for instance, which has to fight the vast army of a state several times bigger than itself, had prepared for this well in advance and ensured that its army is equipped with higher technologies, thus replacing soldiers with machinery.
As for higher technologies, we should be more ambitious in the field, striving to move from our current role of a service provider to that of a designer of information security systems and cross-system platforms.
The heart and center of Ayb is in Armenia but it also has a global presence.
Ayb’s greatest achievement is our graduates, and not only the Ayb School graduates but also those tempered in various Ayb projects, such as Kangaroo and Meghu contests or the World Robot Olympiad, to name but a few.
Ayb is a concept and an education system that enables gifted children from all over the world to receive a solid education, lay the foundation for their future at the best school, and eventually, become leading specialists in their fields. The heart and center of Ayb is in Armenia but it also has a global presence; you can go to Stanford University and see Ayb’s logo there, or to see it in Paris, Tokyo, or Beirut. We should not limit ourselves with our current accomplishments but aspire to become a country of educational export that has a lot to offer to the world.
Here you can read one of Artak Hovhannisyan's stories, and below, you can see one of his paintings.