A rendering of the SMART center by architect Paul Paul Kaloustian (Photo: Paul Kaloustian)
YEREVAN—The Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) has been at the forefront in advancing rural communities throughout Armenia since 2004, with nearly $40 million (USD) being raised over the years in support of numerous infrastructure improvement projects and comprehensive community-led programs in education, healthcare and social services. On its 10th anniversary, COAF announced its novel SMART Initiative as the vehicle for expanding its vital work in each of Armenia’s rural provinces.
The innovative rapid expansion strategy will establish state-of-the-art educational SMART Campuses throughout Armenia, offering rural populations with groundbreaking programs in education, economic development and healthcare. The flagship COAF SMART Campus will open its doors in the Lori region of Armenia on May 27, providing its 150,000 people with access to technology-driven programs from a broad and diverse range of disciplines.
As one of the most trusted organizations engaged in rural development in Armenia, COAF has been empowering the country’s rural population by utilizing collaborative and inclusive approaches. COAF’s main objective has been to serve as a catalyst in fostering a sense of ownership among Armenia’s rural inhabitants, encouraging them to become active stakeholders in their future advancement. Customized approaches addressing the specific needs and challenges of each community have provided COAF with crucial knowledge and experience on how to bring about dramatic changes in rural education, as well as raising awareness on a global level.
The COAF SMART Initiative will continue connecting rural Armenia to the international community via technology, providing access to experts worldwide. The COAF SMART Campuses will offer rural teachers, healthcare professionals, social workers and businesses with vital skills that will spawn a new era of creativity and innovation. Additional emphasis will be placed on language and communication, local entrepreneurship/economic development, active citizenship and personal development. Information technology and foreign languages are a priority for SMART programs; hence, all programs and learning materials will utilize digital solutions and English.
During the opening ceremony of the COAF SMART Campus on May 27, guests from around the world will have the opportunity to tour the regional educational hub and learn about the various SMART programs being offered, such as blockchain technology, robotics, agriculture, child development, media literacy, arts, science and health education.
A number of COAF SMART partners will also be showcased at the official opening. One highlight is the SAP Next-Gen Lab which will bring the latest blockchain technology to students at the COAF SMART Center. Students in the region will gain access to SAP’s instructional resources in virtual reality design and iOS application development. Other key partnerships include Arloopa, a leader in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) founded in Armenia and operating globally.
COAF is also collaborating with PicsArt, an app that allows over 100 million monthly users worldwide, the ability to edit and share photos in fun and creative ways. A new partnership has also been forged with Instigate Robotics and Instigate Training Center, aimed at bringing diverse technology and educational knowhow to the COAF SMART Center.
Creative Educational Technologies (CET), the official representative of LEGO in Armenia, will also be conducting workshops with children on the day of the opening. FreeEnergy, a producer of clean energy and solar power will also support the opening. In addition, artwork by Syrian-Armenian children will also be exhibited on loan from the Cafesjian Center for the Arts.
Special guests will include high level Armenian government officials, heads of international institutions, members of the diplomatic community, COAF donor and supporters, along with individuals from the Diaspora who will be in Armenia to mark the 100th anniversary of the First Armenian Republic. The event is by invitation only, however, a limited number of space will be available for additional guests. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and additional information.