x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Becoming Young

This event occurred on
September 24, 2011
10:00am - 10:00am +05
(UTC +5hrs)

Encouraged by the success of the inaugural TEDxYerevan event, “Beyond Borders” – held in fall 2010 – TED licensed the second TEDxYerevan for 2011. The second TEDx event in Armenia took place on Saturday, September 24, 2011 in TUMO Center for Creative Technologies.

The theme of TEDxYerevan 2011 was “Becoming Young.” The theme for this year’s conference focused on understanding youth, maturity, and transitions - individual, institutional and national.

The Civilitas Foundation ( is the affiliated organization to the TEDxYerevan licensee and its all resources and infrastructures were invested for the production of TEDxYerevan event.

Becoming Young
Halabyan st, Yerevan, Armenia
See more ­T­E­Dx­Yerevan events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Al Eisaian

Al Eisaian is currently the Global Head of Product Strategy and Marketing for Opera Solutions, a global Big-Data analytics company based in NY. Al Co-Founded IconApps Inc. a mobile data platform company in 2010. In 2005 Al Co-Founded and served as Chairman and CEO until 2008 and Executive Chairman of Integrien Corporation until its acquisition by VMWare in 2010. Al Co-Founded CreationPoint Systems, a systems management consultancy. From 2000 until 2001 Al served as the SVP and General Manager of LowerMyBills, Inc. acquired by Experian Corporation. Al has also served as Associate Partner at USWebCKS, Business Development Director at LaunchPad an idealab company and Business Unit Manager at NMB Corporation. Al is the author of three staged plays, "Who Gives a Damn?" staged in 1992, "Chaos Unlimited!" staged in 1996, and "Emptiness" staged in 2004-2005. Al earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BSEE from Oklahoma State University. An avid traveler, hiker and yoga practitioner, he has witnessed human kindness and oneness in nearly 30 countries in 4 continents. One of his current projects is the building of a Yoga and Meditation Retreat in the village of Aghtsk in Armenia. Eisaian's talk is entitled “Thinking with your heart!”

Sara Anjargolian

Sara Anjargolian is a documentary photographer focusing on visual storytelling projects that seek to inspire social change. She is a recipient of the Fulbright scholarship and a United Nations award for her photography. Anjargolian has partnered with numerous non-profit organizations to raise awareness on humanitarian causes around the world. Her body of work has been exhibited widely and most recently includes: the story of AIDS and drug-resistant tuberculosis among the Zulu people in South Africa; “How We Live” a photography installation, book and film documenting poverty in Armenia; “Not Here” a project focusing on labor migration from Armenia to Los Angeles; and, “Zenne Dancer” a feature film in Turkey about the honor killing of a gay man by his father (for which she served as the still photographer). Anjargolian graduated summa cum laude from the University of California Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science/Public Policy, and then went on to law school, receiving her law degree from the University of California Berkeley. Anjargolian’s legal career has included serving as a trial lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean at the American University of Armenia Law Department, and policy advisor to the Los Angeles City Attorney. Anjargolian’s talk is entitled “A Quiet Corner: What the Zulu People Taught Me About Photography and Life.”

Nazik Armenakyan

Nazik Armenakyan has been working as a photojournalist and photo editor since 2002, for companies such as ARMENPRESS news agency, Yerevan Magazine, and Forum Magazine among many others. She has done freelance work for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Reuters agencies and is currently a photojournalist with Armenakyan is a graduate from the one-year photojournalism program at the Caucasus Media Institute and has a keen interest in long-term documentary projects especially in the realm of human rights. For her first such photo project, called “Survivors”, she won a Grand Prix and first place in the People and Faces category in the Karl Bulla International Photo Contest in Russia, and third place in the Portraits/Stories category in the Photojournalism Development Fund contest. Armenakyan is a recipient of New York University's Magnum Foundation Human Rights scholarship in photojournalism and Open Society Institute's production grant for photographers for her second ongoing project in Armenia. Armenakyan’s talk is entitled “Survivors.”

Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian is world-renowned Armenian chess player, Olympic gold medalist, and Grandmaster. On the May 2011 World Chess Federation (FIDE) list he has an Elo rating of 2808, making him number three in the world and Armenia's number one. Aronian led the Armenian national team to the Gold medals in the 2006 (Turin) and 2008 (Dresden) Chess Olympics and at the World Team Chess Championship in Ningbo 2011. He won the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010, qualifying him for the Candidates tournament for the World Chess Championship 2012. Other past titles include the World Chess960 Champion in 2006 and 2007, and the World Rapid Chess Champion in 2009. Aronian was declared the best sportsman of Armenia in 2005 and was awarded the title of "Honored Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia” in 2009. Aronian will talk about women in chess.

Karen Balayan

Karen Balayan has been the head of the AYAS Nautical Research club in Yerevan since 1985. Balayan is a Master of Sports in fencing and an honored coach of the Republic of Armenia in sailing. He has also received a first degree medal for service to Armenia and an Admiral Isakov medal. Balayan was heavily involved as a leader, captain and project head of building a 13th century Armenian sailing ship replica, named the Cilicia, which he tested and tuned, and conducted a two-year seven-seas navigation around Europe. He currently heads a project on reconstructing traditional boats in Lake Sevan and completed an underwater research expedition there last year in as part of a French-Armenian cooperation. Balayan’s talk is entitled “Cilicia. The Aftermath."

Vahé Berberian

Vahé Berberian, a painter, author, playwright, director and actor, was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1955. He grew up in Beirut amongst intellectuals and his parents' home was a meeting place open to friends from the worlds of theater, literature and the arts. After traveling through Eastern and Western Europe, he returned to Lebanon confronted with the onset of the Lebanese Civil War in 1976. He later relocated to Los Angeles, where he lives now. Berberian studied art in both Lebanon and the United States and he received a degree in journalism with honors in 1980. His experiences have brought about over 65 solo and group exhibitions, four one man shows, two published novels, and over a dozen plays written and directed by him, worldwide. “Ultimately I suppose I am a story teller, whether in words or paint. I started out as a figurative painter. Throughout the years, gradually, as I got rid of everything that was decorative or didactic, my work became more and more abstract, eventually minimalist. Occasionally some of the old elements creep in and survive the process of purification. The perfect painting is the empty canvas. I fill it up because I love the process of painting,” says Berberian. Berberian’s talk is entitled “Rock the Boat.”

Eames Demetrios

Eames Demetrios is the creator of Kymaerica and the Kcymaerxthaere, an alternate history of the world. He is the grandson of the legendary husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames. The Kcymaerxthaere is "a global work of three-dimensional fiction" that overlays alternative stories onto the physical world. Eames Demetrios, the project's Geographer-at-Large, travels the world exploring stories of imaginary peoples, movements, and even physical laws. He then memorializes these stories on bronze plaques. Kymaerica, which Demetrios references in the talk, is one area within Kcymaerxthaere. Demetrios is active in preserving the Eames legacy, as principal of the Eames Office, a clearinghouse of resources for researching, shopping and exploring the work of these legendary creative people. Demetrios was instrumental in creating the interactive version of the Eames' groundbreaking film, Powers of Ten. Demetrios also curates the online, with a new film each month on design, architecture and sustainability. Demetrios will talk about Kcymaerxthaere.

John Marshall Evans

John Marshall Evans was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25, 2004 and was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia on August 11, 2004 where he served until May 24, 2006. A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, Evans earned a BA in Russian history at Yale University and pursued doctoral studies at Columbia University before joining the U.S. Foreign Service. In the first part of his career, he served in Tehran, Prague, and Moscow as well as serving at the Executive Secretariat and Office of the Secretary of State, the U.S. Mission to NATO, and as Deputy Director of the Soviet Desk. His role in coordinating the American response to the Armenian earthquake of 1988 earned him a medal and statement of appreciation from the Armenian government of that time. Having won a Cox Fellowship, Evans set about studying Ottoman history at the Kennan Institute; however, the tumultuous events of 1989 resulted in his being recalled to serve as deputy chief of delegation. In 1991, he went on to serve as Deputy Chief of Mission in Prague, followed by Consul General in St. Petersburg 3 years later. He was then chosen to lead the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Moldova. On his return to Washington in 1999, Evans assumed direction of the State Department’s Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia, winning a Meritorious Honor Award and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director’s Exceptional Performance Award. From May 2002 until his appointment as Ambassador in Yerevan, he directed the Office of Russian Affairs. Evans talked about honesty in diplomacy.

Arpine Grigoryan

Arpine Grigoryan, known by her internet personality 'arpik', is a new media professional, trainer, marketer and tech guru with 10 years of teaching and training experience. She graduated from the State Engineering University of Armenia and is currently the head of communications at PanARMENIAN media company. Grigoryan went from leading a web design club for kids to conducting an Internet marketing course at a local university. She has been involved in several youth organizations, including Manana Youth Educational Cultural Center and AIESEC youth non-governmental organizations in Armenia. Her youth center work includes leading projects in information systems, participation in various international youth conferences and serving at the AIESEC International headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Grigoryan is also involved in the TED Open Translation Project. Grigoryan's talk is entitled “Guinea Pigs in Technology.”

Shushan Harutyunyan

Shushan Harutyunyan is an editor and media consultant specializing in multimedia reporting and social media. She worked as a journalist in mainstream media for six years including being an anchor at A1+ TV company, a reporter at, a journalist blogger at daily, an Editor in Chief at Sobesednik weekly, and an Editor at environmental publication. Harutyunyan is currently the Web Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan Armenia and the recipient of “Na-Ne” women journalists’ award among others. She is also the initiator of Armenian Students' Information Network online campaign and the “One Woman-One World” photo project. She has also served as a volunteer in BarCamp Yerevan and in the School for Young Leaders. Harutyunyan’s talk is entitled “No Journalism, No Worries.”

Vrej Kassouny

Vrej Kassouny is a 2D animation director, filmmaker, painter and a caricaturist. Kassouny graduated from M. Saryan Fine Art School in Aleppo, Syria in 1996, and in 2000 he received his Painter and Art Teacher Degree from the P. Terlemezian Fine Art College in Yerevan. In 2011 he spent a month serving in a TV series production at Titmouse animation studios in the US-NY branch. Vrej Kassouny has cooperated with many newspapers and magazines with his caricatures, both locally and abroad, and has organized yearly individual exhibitions. He has also illustrated more than 10 children’s’ books. Kassouny moved to Armenia in 1999 and in 2001 started his own animation studio, KASSart production, specializing in animation, advertising and film making in general. Outside of his animation studio, he served as a member of IFASC (Independent Film Makers Association of South Caucasus) from 2006 till 2009 and as Chair Person for one year. In 2008 Vrej Kassouny founded Arabian Nights Films Festival in Armenia, which has turned into a successful annual program since then. He founded ReAnimania International Animation Film Festival of Yerevan the same year and launched it in 2009. Kassouny will talk about how ReAnimania came to life.

Stepan Khzrtian

Stepan S. Khzrtian is a 2011 graduate of the University of Cambridge, where he obtained his Commercial LLM degree and served as a graduate member on the faculty board. Prior to this, he also obtained a General LLM degree from the American University of Armenia, graduating with Valediction Honors after receiving a BA in Political Science from Yerevan State University, summa cum laude. Khzrtian has practiced law at Arlex International, a Yerevan-based international business law firm. His experience also includes translating high-profile governmental documents for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, LSAT tutoring for prospective law school students, and interning at Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, in New York. In pursuit of his passion for youth civic involvement, Khzrtian co-founded and coordinated the HENQ Youth Initiative and the Youth Division of the Armenian UN Association. Khzrtian’s talk is entitled “Bee-coming Young – Making Honey Doesn’t Require a Visa.”

Narineh Mirzaeian

Narineh Mirzaeian is a Los Angeles based designer and associate at Gehry Partners LLP where she has played a key role on numerous projects completed and under construction in California, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Paris, Basel, Sydney and Abu Dhabi. Previously she was a project designer at Graft, where she contributed to the realization of several American Institute of Architects (AIA) award winning projects and co-principal of GeAr, which received an honorable mention for their entry in the 'Designing the Highline' competition of 2002 and were awarded second prize at the 2003 Miami Biennale for the 'TransTatou' project. Mirzaeian holds a professional degree in Architecture from the University of Southern California and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her UCLA master’s thesis project, in collaboration with Pritzker winning architect Thom Mayne, was published as part of the LA NOW series, and acquired numerous awards, including the prestigious P/A Award. She is currently a Lecturer at UCLA and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Most recently she served as exhibit designer and curator of the ‘How We Live’ project, which drew interest from various art and photography collectives, as well as the support of dedicated non-government organizations. Mirzaeian's talk is entitled “Random Acts of Design.”

Aram Pakhchanian

Aram Pakhchanian is the Director of the Data Capture Products department at ABBYY, a privately held computer software company. After his graduation from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology he played different roles at ABBYY, including serving as the Deputy Chief of Research and Development, before being promoted to lead product line development. His interests lie in different core technologies related to recognition and applied linguistics, as well as enterprise content management. Pakhchanian’s talk is entitled “Let Our Children Free.”

Onic Palandjian

Onic Palandjian is a seasoned venture capitalist and entrepreneur with 19 years of experience in Europe and the U.S. He co-founded Capital Connect fund in 2003 and has been spearheading the fund's clean-tech investments as a founding investor and CEO of Herco SA & Mavin SA. Previously, Palandjian headed the international expansion of the leading mobile marketing company Velti based in the U.K. Prior to that, he founded two sister technology companies; ihavemoved Ltd in London and ichziehum GmbH in Hamburg. The companies were acquired by Royal Mail Plc and Deutsche Post AG. In the early '90s, he financed and operated new projects at Dorian and Eagle Financial Partners. He earned a BSc in Management from Bentley University and a CSS in Business Administration from Harvard University. Palandjian’s talk is named “Small Country BIG BUSINESS.”

Artur Papyan

Artur Papyan works as website editor and Internet journalist for Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL) for their service in Armenia. He also freelances as a media and technology consultant and trainer. Before working for RFE/RL, Papyan was the Armenian country coordinator for the London based Media Diversity Institute and trained journalists and media specialists in professional ethics and balanced media coverage, as well as produced a number of documentary films, radio programs, and newspaper supplements. He has also worked in the sphere of development assistance as Program Officer at World Vision Armenia's ADP program in Gyumri, and has been engaged in youth activism and leadership development as a board member of the Armenian National Alliance of YMCAs. Papyan will talk about his idea of net-workers.

Sergey Sargsyan

Sergey Sargsyan is a satirical writer, stand-up comedian, and the co-founder of the first Armenian political satire website news outlet, Sargsyan joined the Civilitas Foundation editorial team after 7 years of development work at USAID on civil society projects. His work at USAID included projects on Armenia electoral process improvements, youth activism and fostering dialogue between political parties and non-governmental organizations as well as coordinating anti-corruption legal services to Armenia. Presently Sergey Sargsyan maintains a full-time comedian career, which includes running Sargsyan holds a Ph.D. in Philology from Yerevan State Linguistic University, where he lectured for five years. He also serves as a board member at the U.S. Alumni Association of Armenia. Sargsyan's talk is named “Mocking for Change.”

Lara Setrakian

Lara Setrakian is a Dubai-based correspondent for Bloomberg Television and ABC News, covering business, politics, and major events in the Middle East. She has interviewed high-profile leaders and led the network's coverage of the Arab uprisings throughout 2011. As part of Bloomberg Television's on-the-ground coverage of the crisis in Egypt, Setrakian reported live from Tahrir Square as President Hosni Mubarak ended his three-decade rule. Prior to joining Bloomberg Television, Setrakian was a reporter for ABC News in New York and Dubai. While at ABC, Setrakian won acclaim for her reports on Iran's 2009 presidential election, including groundbreaking use of Twitter to collect and report information from the Islamic Republic. Setrakian covered Lebanon's violent unrest in May 2008 and reported from Saudi Arabia during the oil price crisis. Other highlights include her exclusive report on a $3 billion collection of modern masterpieces in the basement of Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art. She was also the only network reporter with the US Navy's counter-piracy taks force when it caught its first band of suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden and was the first American to interview the new president of war-torn Somalia, Sheikh Sherif Sheikh Ahmed. Setrakian graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in Government and a certificate in Spanish. She was an inaugural fellow at the Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution, included among Foreign Policy Magazines's "Twitterati 100", and named one of the most influental young voices in US foreign policy by the Diplomatic Courier. Her talk is entitled, "Five Things I've Learned as a Foreign Correspondent".

Artyom Shamtsyan

Artyom Shamtsyan is the Founder and CEO of Innovation Lab, the first Armenia community-based start-up accelerator. Shamtsyan has more than 10 years experience in information technologies, specifically in sustainable product innovation, new product development, management of global teams and operations. He has founded and managed a number of venture-backed products in Russia, Kazakhstan and the U.S. This work experience includes founding technology companies such as Youtego LLC and INTESYS Group and serving as Director at the Center of Excellence on eGovernment for the Republic of Kazakhstan. Before starting his career in information technologies, he received an MS from the State Engineering University of Armenia, an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Technology Management/Software Process Management, and completed the Executive Business Program at the University of Cambridge. Shamtsyan’s talk is entitled “Youth Manifesto.”

Jason Sohigian

Jason A. Sohigian is the Deputy Director of the Armenia Tree Project (ATP). He is responsible for fundraising and communications among donors, the media, and the environmental community. In addition to his leadership role at ATP, Sohigian is a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University for a series of courses on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and greenhouse gas management. He was appointed as staff for Governor Deval Patrick’s Special Commission on Financing Forest Conservation in the State of Massachusetts. Sohigian has been quoted and published in a number of periodicals and websites including, National Geographic, Russian Conservation News, Boston Globe, Village Voice, Harper’s, and New York Times. His research on the opportunities and challenges of ATP’s Backyard Nursery Micro-Enterprise Program was presented at the World Forestry Congress XIII in Buenos Aires. He holds a master’s degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University. Sohigian is a member of a number of organizations including the Earthwatch Institute, Greenhouse Gas Management Institute, Net Impact, and the Nature Conservancy. Sohigian will talk about redefining economic systems; could a forest be worth more than a gold mine?

Organizing team


Yerevan, Armenia
  • Salpi Ghazarian
    Organizing Team Member
  • Armen Devejian
    Organizing Team Member
  • Zara Sargsyan
    Organizing Team Member
  • Luiza Hakobyan
    Organizing Team Member
  • Arpine Grigoryan
  • Gohar Khachatryan
  • Armenuhy Hovakimyan
  • Hakob Manukyan
  • Nina Azizyan
  • Seda Grigoryan
  • Daron Titizian
  • Mane Gevorgyan
    Event Manager