Ambassador Richard Mills, Agribusiness Teaching Center – Graduation Ceremony

Deputy Minister Karine Harutunyan, Deputy Minister Armen Harutunyan, Mr. Tarverdyan, Mr. Oorootyan, Mrs. Gaas-Paryan, Chairman Nichols, members of the faculty, very proud friends and family, and most importantly, the bachelor and master of agribusiness classes of 2015, it is my great pleasure to be with you today.

The Agribusiness Teaching Center (ATC) of the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) is an example of the strong relations and a unique cooperation that exists between the United States of America and the Republic of Armenia.  I am very proud that because of the collaborative effort between ANAU, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Agribusiness Teaching Center has introduced Armenian agribusiness students to the best practices in American agricultural education.

Today, twenty of you will receive undergraduate degrees and another eighteen will receive their masters. You have had the privilege of receiving an education at ATC that positions you to be leaders in your field, an education that combines U.S. expertise with practical lessons from the Armenian agriculture sector. An education that makes you extremely competitive in the Armenian job market. Soon, many of you will start working in agribusiness, financial institutions, international agencies, and the public sector. Others of you will pursue advanced degrees.

As we say in the United States, you are about to enter the “real world.” Whatever path you pursue, I would like to offer three pieces of advice:

Do more than is expected.

Don’t be afraid of failure.

And if people are not laughing at your dreams, then those dreams are not big enough.

And remember that with the privilege of an Agribusiness Teaching Center degree comes the responsibility to contribute to Armenia’s development and the betterment of society.

I commend your achievements and wish you success as you move into the next phase of your lives and careers.  I would like to ask you to consider this question as you receive your degrees today: Vorn e Hayastani apagayi dzer teslakanә yev inchpisin kelini dzer nerdroomә ayd apagayi hamar?

Let your answer guide the choices you make and the path you take.