Founder and CEO of Teach For Armenia
Ten years ago, Larisa Hovannisian repatriated to Armenia from the United States and founded a nonprofit education organization called Teach For Armenia. To this date, Teach For Armenia is one of the largest nonprofits in Armenia and the region, impacting over 30,000 students from across the nation. Every year, the organization recruits and trains the most committed and passionate leaders from Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora to serve as Teacher-Leaders in our nation’s most underserved public schools for a minimum commitment of two years. After completing their commitment, Teacher-Leaders become Alumni-Ambassadors and continue actively working throughout their careers toward ending educational inequity in Armenia and Artsakh, so that all students can unlock their full potential.
Larisa’s journey as a social entrepreneur started back in 2010 in a classroom in Glendale, Arizona. She taught special education through Teach For America, an organization working to eliminate educational inequity in America by "nurturing the leadership of leaders ready to commit at least two years of their careers to work in public schools." It was during those years that Larisa thought about the educational inequities that exist in Armenia and Artsakh since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Being a byproduct of that educational system herself, Larisa knew that Armenia and Artsakh urgently needed a similar movement of justice and equity-oriented leaders who would contribute to catalyzing true, systemic change so that all of our nation’s children would fulfill their potential. This was the idea that brought Larisa to this path and led to the founding of Teach For Armenia.
Teach For Armenia is part of Teach For All, the global network of over 62 independent, locally led and funded partner organizations whose shared mission is to expand educational opportunity around the world by increasing and accelerating the impact of social enterprises that are cultivating the leadership necessary for change.
For her contribution to the advancement of Armenia through her work with Teach For Armenia, Larisa was nationally recognized by the Armenian Government in September 2016. But it’s the dedication of the Teacher-Leaders, Alumni-Ambassadors, and the leadership of Armenia’s students that most drives Larisa in her quest.