AESA President’s Message
Aram Ter-Martirosyan – President
Dear AESA Members and Followers,
One of the main directions for the years to come for Armenians around the world should be the advancements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If Armenia is to survive and thrive in the future as an independent and viable nation-state, Armenian professionals, especially professionals in science and technology need to dedicate their time and efforts for this advancement in Armenia. To that extent, the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America, AESA, has a key role of connecting diasporan engineers and scientists to homeland professionals and become one of the main enablers of realizing such a vision for the Armenians. In the last thirty years due to political and economic situations in Armenia, there was a big outflow of engineers and scientists from Armenia. To make matters worse, Armenia did not produce enough and in some cases no engineers and scientists in specific disciplines. Now, the AESA mission should be to reverse this situation and use the vast potential, knowledge and experience of diasporan engineers and scientists to reestablish Armenia’s rich traditions in technology.
AESA’s mission is to enable and empower an Armenian STEM Community worldwide to reach its fullest potential and to facilitate progress through STEM education, collaboration, and humanitarian initiatives in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diasporas. We envision AESA to be the leading platform for enabling the Armenian STEM Community worldwide to network and address global challenges through innovative solutions and to foster a world where Armenian STEM professionals are empowered, enabled and influential. We are building a future upon our values of scientific rigor and endeavor, innovation, teamwork and collaboration, mentorship, integrity, accountability and transparency as well as diversity in disciplines, age, and gender.
Our long-term goals include transforming AESA into a 21st-century global organization and becoming a role model for professional organizations in the Armenian nation-state, creating a strong community of Armenian STEM professionals worldwide, implementing high-impact/high-value STEM-based projects and initiatives in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diasporas, attracting youth towards STEM, registering hundreds of new AESA members, and lastly, creating a strong AESA presence across all online platforms and media.
To make substantial progress towards our long-term goals in 2022, AESA leadership is focusing on organizational development and rebranding, engaging our members to strengthen existing AESA chapters across the United States and establishing new ones in the US and globally, registering AESA in Armenia as a foundation and collaborating with various STEM-based organizations, institutions, universities, and centers in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diasporas.
To that end, we are institutionalizing AESA by creating permanent programs such as the AESA STEM Academy, AESA STEM Conference and Expo, AESA Leadership and Entrepreneurship Academy, and the AESA Advanced Research and Development Program. These initiatives will help us better utilize AESA’s resources by focusing on programs that are aligned with our vision, mission and long-term goals. The AESA STEM academy will focus its attention on the standardization of STEM education across the diaspora and Armenia, creating ties between young Armenians in the diaspora and homeland through Pan-Armenian STEAM camps in the homeland and science competitions.
To guarantee our success, we are revamping AESA’s organizational hierarchy, bylaws and constitution to further modernize our organization, accommodate all the necessary roles and integrate modern decision making, communication and financial procedures and processes to grow the organization, serve our members, and achieve our goals.
We as the AESA know that our community’s future depends entirely on the next generation of engineers and scientists. In 2015, the Young Professionals Committee was created to build a stronger connection to the youth and bridge the expertise of our organization with the ambitious minds of tomorrow’s professionals.
Learn more about the Young Professionals Committee here.
Dr. Hagop Panossian recalls that the nucleus for creating AESA started first as a dream during his early years in college. He wished for a worldwide Armenian scientific organization with the objective of creating venues for all engineers, scientists and industrialists of Armenian descent so that they might network, interact and help one another. The organization would include all Armenians under its wings, those from Armenia and the rest of the world.
During the late seventies, Dr. Panossian met with his friend, Dr. Stepan Simonian, in UCLA. They discussed the idea of a worldwide Armenian scientific organization to which Simonian expressed his great excitement. Panossian also presented the concept to the late Professor George Adomian who was a well-known mathematician and professor at the University of Georgia, in Atlanta. Panossian was further encouraged by the Professor’s enthusiasm. Upon this, Dr. Panossian and his wife Ani compiled a list of engineers and scientists from all around the world. They sent letters expressing the intent of forming an all Armenian engineering and scientific organization and received numerous positive responses but, of course, not without some negative ones as well.
During one of Professor Adomian’s visits to Los Angeles, Panossian with the help of Stepan Simonian and Misak Apelian contacted nearly 40 Armenian engineers and scientists and organized the first and official founding meeting on June 30, 1983. The founding meeting was held in the Castaways restaurant in Burbank and was attended by 23 people, they are:
Hagop Panossian, Stepan Simonian, Misak Apelian, Khachig Demirjian, Raffi Ohanian, Hrair Jabaghchourian, Varoujan Demirjian, Emil Maghakian, Robert Hartounian, Zaven Guiragossian, Asadour Hadjian, Zohrab Bedrossian, Abraham Bouyadjian, Varoujan Bedoyan, Hagop Bedikian, Alex Grigorian, Harutiun Surmenian, Ara Chutjian, Souren Bouickians, George Adomian, Ed Boyajian, George Mutafian and Vanagan Tatevosian.
The actual name “Armenian Engineers & Scientists of America” was coined at a later time during one of the succeeding meetings of the organization.
Later, in 1984, Panossian appointed an organizing committee consisting of Asadour Hadjian, Dr. Alex Grigorian, Misak Apelian, Dr. Stepan Simonian and Dr. Panossian himself. The organizing committee was tasked to develop the bylaws, obtain an official nonprofit status and organize the operating structure of AESA overall. Dr. Ara Chutjian, Harutiun Surmenian and Hagop Bedikian later joined the committee. The committee used the bylaws of the American Physical Society as a template, made some modifications to them and established a set of bylaws for AESA.