Campus: CSU Northridge -- January 30, 2004

CSUN Signs Agreement with Armenian University to Exchange Students, Faculty

Cal State Northridge officials have signed an agreement with a university in Armenia that encourages the exchange of students and faculty between the two institutions.

The agreement formalizes the terms of academic cooperation between Yerevan State University in Yerevan, Armenia, and Northridge. Hermine Mahseredjian, who heads CSUN's Armenian studies program, said the agreement presents a wonderful opportunity for faculty and students at both universities to learn more about each other and their cultures.

It also provides further evidence that Cal State Northridge is becoming a home away from home for Armenian Americans who want to learn more about their heritage, said Mahseredjian, who started and taught the university's first class in Armenian studies 20 years ago.

"The Armenian community in the Los Angeles area, and in particular the San Fernando Valley, is large and growing," Mahseredjian said. "For the past 20 years, CSUN has offered classes that give the Armenian community, and those who are interested, a chance to learn more about the Armenian culture, and now this agreement expands their opportunities to learn even more."

University officials are celebrating the agreement with a special reception for Dr. Radik Martirosyan, president of Yerevan State University, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, in the Northridge Room of the University Club, on the southeast corner of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

Mahseredjian said CSUN first started offering classes in Armenian studies 20 years ago, and formally created an Armenian studies program about 10 years ago with a gift of $115,000 from philanthropist Alex Manoogian.

The program started out with only a handful of classes and currently offers 13 different courses, and students can now receive a minor in Armenian studies. Mahseredjian pointed out that there are currently more than 3,500 students of Armenian descent attending Cal State Northridge. It is the largest concentration of Armenian students at a four-year institution of higher education outside of Armenia.
In recent years, Mahseredjian said individual students have gone to Armenia for cultural exchange programs. She has taken students to Armenia for cultural immersion programs, and is planning such a trip this summer.

The agreement with Yerevan State University now presents a more structured opportunity for students and faculty to take part in cultural exchanges, and encourages faculty at both universities to work collaboratively on projects.

"It's a really exciting step for our program," she said.

For more information about the Armenian studies program at Cal State Northridge, call (818) 677-7228.

Media Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,

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