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.
Ashot Mkrtchyan has been part of Ayb since 2009.
President of VISA CONCORD GROUP, Armenia, RF
Ayb mentor (has eight mentees)
Hobbies: football and team games
When you earn some money, you have to direct a part of it to the society: this is how the cooperation with Ayb started.
“The people behind Ayb's creation are all my friends. I have known them since my student years when we were all studying in Moscow. We were members of an organization called Armenian Students’ Association, and were in very active contact with each other. Then I learned my friends had initiated a program in which I had a great desire to participate, but constantly having been in different countries, we could not sit down and discuss our ideas and possible cooperation. But lucky for me, Fr. Mesrop (Ayb's co-founder and creator of the Ayb idea) came to Cyprus during the time, and I invited him to play football. He accepted the invitation, played football with us with great eagerness and injured his leg; as a result we even had to go to hospital. That was a groundbreaking meeting, an opportunity for me to get acquainted with the Ayb idea more thoroughly and become determined to be part of it. I consider that when you earn some money, you should direct a part of it to the society, otherwise your work will not make sense. You are what you are thanks to the society.
Ayb's greatest achievement is the Aybian community.
Ayb is first of all a community of interesting people who speak in one language, and everyone in the community understands each other. Finding people who think in the same way as you, takes a very long time. In Ayb, I immediately got such a feeling. We came to the Ayb idea taking into account the fact that children need the best education. I wish that over the coming 15 years of Ayb we could be able to implement one more big idea and have a unique higher education institution which, at least in the region, I am sure would be the best. At the same time, I realize that today it is very difficult to persuade people to get involved in educational activities and patronage. Maybe the problem is about the decline of spiritual values․ We have strayed very far from faith and spiritual values. Today faith has become more like a tradition and has lost its primary meaning.
We must be able to manage chaos and make the learning process something equal to worship.
There are different educational systems in the world. Living and working in several countries, such as Russia, Cyprus, and Finland, I become constantly convinced that parents should have the freedom to choose their child's educational model. In this process, the existence of different schools and a healthy competition between them is very important. Public schools should not be conservative, and they should also offer alternative education. I wish Armenia had schools following different educational traditions. I also see the need to create a worship of education in our country. For that purpose, all layers of the society must cooperate. In Soviet Armenia—where I grew up—there was no such cooperation—communism was taught at schools; there was anarchy in the streets; and parents did not even know which path to show to schoolchildren. A true citizen cannot be brought up in such ideological diversity. Now the same chaotic situation is in Armenia. We should be able to manage the chaos and make learning something equal to worship. In order to achieve this, we must first appreciate and give high salaries to teachers, creators of our future.
Education first of all is an environment where an individual is shaped.
I am convinced that it is impossible to achieve great goals without good education. The educational environment first of all is the most powerful platform for making ideological friends. In the 21st century, it is possible to get the best education possible without leaving home, but the educational environment is the most important factor that influences human development. My first business partners were my student friends who had a huge impact on shaping my worldview. My friends were the first consumers of my business. I think the university is not only a place where you acquire knowledge, but also an environment due to which you grow personally and professionally.
Now is the time of the youth; they know better how to build the country.
I have a strong attachment to young people and I love my mentees very much; I try to help them as much as I can. When I am in Yerevan, I visit Ayb School and, of course, meet with my mentees. When talking to them, I always say that first of all they should forgive our generation as they have little to learn from us; we have not left them a very good legacy: war, the ruins of the Soviet Union, cultural chaos. That is why I believe that now is the time of the youth; they know better how to build the country. And for that goal we must have good schools. I really want our country to have different schools like Ayb, and I want public schools to be like Ayb as well.