| From Moscow, Russia | Moved in 2014
Born in Yerevan Armenia, Aram Pakhchanian originally left in 1985 to study physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He always dreamed of becoming a physicist, but as graduation approached his interests had shifted to computers due to the rapid growth in the field of information technology. It was also in Moscow where he met his future wife through mutual friend in college. “Despite being in Moscow I was inclined to come back to Armenia,” Aram recalls and thus following graduation he came back to Armenia in 1991 during the decline of the USSR. Despite the harsh environment of a post-Soviet Armenia the couple was married and soon had their first child.
“Towards the end of 1992 I got a call from my good friend David Yang, who was running a small software company and offered me a position in his firm to help him get the business going. So I agreed and flew over to Moscow.” [The firm today is know as ABBYY and is an international software company that provides optical character recognition, document capture and language software for both PC and mobile devices. The majority of ABBYY products, such as ABBYY FineReader, are intended to simplify converting paper documents to digital data. In 2007, a branch specializing in publishing dictionaries, reference books, encyclopedias and guidebooks, ABBYY Press, was established. ABBYY also owns ABBYY Language Services, a high-tech translation and localization agency]
“Even though I had a job in Moscow I always felt Armenia as an important part of my life, but back then the idea of returning was like a nice dream. I was considering ways to establish a business in Armenia and gradually move over. However I had invested a lot of time and energy into ABBYY and the company was doing so well that there was little reason for me to look for other opportunities even if it was somehow related to my motherland. Then circumstances changed.
I can remember sitting in my flat in Moscow not even thinking about introducing any sharp changes in my life, when I received an email which my wife sent out informing her friends and acquaintances that she was planning to be involved in a project in Armenia and so she would be spending more time in Yerevan. I replied asking her to find something for me in Armenia as well, as I would greatly miss her if we were going to be apart for so long.”
As it’s known to happen Aram’s words materialized and within ten minutes he received a call from Yerevan offering him a job in Armenia. From emails to phone calls to reality Aram is now the Director of Ayb School and still represents ABBYY as the vice president.
However the whole idea of a new school was born much earlier during a meeting of friends who decided to invest in Armenian education. “There were eight of us. We all felt indebted to our motherland and we thought it was high time to take action. Initially our intention was to make a few repairs to our former highschool (Physical-Mathematical School after A. Shaninyan) and gradually we discovered that there was much more to be done. We believe education is something which serves society as a whole. Therefore we chose to educate a new generation, invest in the future for the sake of the future.
[The Ayb Foundation was founded in 2006 by Aram Pakhchanian (Russia, Vice president of ABBYY), Arthur Berd (France/USA, financier), Ashot Aslanian (Armenia/Russia, Founder of Aeorsib Company), David Pakhchanian, David Yang (Russia, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABBYY Company), Fr. Mesrop Aramian (Armenia, Chairman of Vem Radio), Karo Sargsyan (Russia, businessman, Founder of Spetstorg Company) and Kharen Musaelian (USA, banker).
The mission of Ayb is to unite society around the idea of education and develop a global network of education supporters, creating a community of people who realize the crucial role of education in achieving the vision of Armenia’s future.]
“Analysis, discussions and small projects gave us an idea how modern education should be constructed. When we started to compare our own vision to the best internationally performing education systems, we found a lot of common ground. This helped us solidify the belief that we were on the right track. We feel that we’ve found a gold mine in education here”.
“Our current collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Education of London helps us go one step further and formalize the work we’ve done so far. Our goal now is to document and improve this concept so that it becomes a working philosophy to Ayb School. We want Ayb School to become an established institution as opposed to something that runs because of a few enthusiasts. Ultimately we hope that our methods will be applied to other schools in Armenia.”
Many people are concerned about the emigration of the well educated youth, however Mr. Pakhchanian believes that everyone has free will. “We can’t constrain them. It would be like clipping their wings. The only thing we can hope for is that in the years they spend with us they felt total happiness which was ensured by a completely devoted staff at Ayb School. We hope that these feelings will result in a bond so strong that at some point in their life [even if they venture abroad] they will decide to repay the debt to their Alma Mater and consequently to their motherland. That is the same bond that we felt: Give back to the next generation so that this process become continuous.”
“Our students have seen the change their school has introduced to the society and now they are eager to make their own contribution.They are eager to do something exceptional. We help them to realize that by making an effort, by striving to be the best they can, they also can introduce change, they can make a difference”.