Through research, training, and advocacy, the American University of Armenia Center for Responsible Mining (AUA CRM) promotes the creation and adoption of global best practices in socially, environmentally, and economically responsible mining of Armenia and the region.  To archive this, AUA CRM will engage with all key stakeholders including industry, civil society, environmental advocacy groups, financial institutions, and the public sector.  IMG_8135
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 About Staff

Alen Amirkhanian

Acting Director
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Alen Amirkhanian is the Director of the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment, a position he has held since 2013. In 2014, he established AUA Center for Responsible Mining and is acting as its Interim Director. He teaches graduate and undergraduate environmental courses at AUA. Prior to AUA, he was Senior Vice President of Research at Michael Porter’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. He has consulted with the World Bank, UNDP, and the Brookings Institution on energy efficiency as well as economic and urban-growth issues. His current academic interests include urban environmental sustainability, “greening” the built environment, and circular economy esp. as it relates to “greening” cities. Alen holds a Masters in City Planning (’97) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.


Mining Policy and Legislative Reform Manager
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Varant Meguerditchian runs the Mining Legislation Reform Initiative (MLRI), a multi-year project funded by the Tufenkian Foundation.
Varant is from Sydney, Australia, and brings with him significant stakeholder engagement, government relations and policy development experience across multiple sectors of the economy including technology, energy and the natural resources. Prior to joining AUA, Meguerditchian was General Manager Stakeholder Engagement at Australia’s national standards organization, Standards Australia. He was also the first Executive Director and President of the Armenian National Committee of Australia between 2010 and 2012. His interests lie in the development of polices that support sustainable communities. Varant holds a Masters in Management (2010) from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, and Masters in International Relations (2014) from Griffith University.


GIS Specialist
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Aghavni Harutyunyan is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) and AUA Center for Responsible Mining (CRM) starting in 2015. Harutyunyan is creating maps and providing data analyses through GIS. Before joining AUA ACE and AUA CRM she worked at the National Survey for Seismic Protection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of RA. Harutyunyan holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the Yerevan State University from the Department of Geography and Geology.

Environmental Laboratory Technician & Teaching Associate  

Vardan Hayrapetyan serves as the Environmental Laboratory Technician at the AUA Center for Responsible Mining since 2015. He also is a Teaching Associate of several environmental courses, including ENV 170-Chemistry in Everyday Life, ENV 203-Environmental Monitoring. 



Mining Community Monitoring and Outreach Coordinator

Lena Nazaryan worked at AUA Center for Responsible Mining from March 2015 until December 2016. She was responsible for organizing soil, water, and blood testing in mining communities including preparation of agreements with local communities and organizing educational and awareness activities in mining communities. Before joining CRM, she worked at the Transparency International Anti-corruption center NGO as a Project Coordinator. Through her work at TI she has gained professional expertise in research, project management, project monitoring and evaluation. Lena Nazaryan graduated from Yerevan State University, Department of Journalism and holds a Master’s degree from the same institution in Media and Communication. 


Senior Researcher and Environmental Toxicologist 

Liana Margaryan served as the Senior Researcher and Environmental Toxicologist at the AUA Center for Responsible Mining from September 2015 until December 2016. She designed monitoring and research projects to assess the environmental risks in the Mining communities. She was a 2014 winner in the nomination for Scientific and Practical Achievements and Socially Significant Activity in the Field of Ecology in the CIS member-countries from the Republic of Armenia. Prior to AUA worked as a Deputy Director in the Environmental Impact Monitoring Center SNCO of the Ministry of Natural Protection of RA. She has consulted UNIDO and USAID on water quality assessment. Liana holds a PhD from the I.V.Yeghiazarov Institute of Water Problems and Hydro-Engineering and is an Associate Professor in Geo-Ecology.



Deputy Manager of Mining Legislation Reform Initiative

Meri Galstyan served as the Deputy Manager of Mining Legislation Reform Initiative, a project of the AUA Center for Responsible Mining, from 2015 until December 2017. She was in charge for implementation of the project in components of domestic and international mining legislation review and analysis, coordination of project partnership with the state institutions, civil society representatives and international agencies. She is also lecturing Mining Law at AUA LL.M. programme. Her previous areas of expertise include legal and policy analysis of draft bills for RA National Assembly, alternative dispute resolution and negotiation consulting and trainings. She has LLM degree from American University of Armenia, and BA in Political Science from Yerevan State University of Languages and Social Sciences.

GIS and Remote Sensing Expert, Lecturer
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Stefan Schlaffer is a Center for International Migration and Development (CIM) integrated expert in remote sensing who worked at the AUA ACE from February 2017 until April 2018. He was actively involved in the development of AUA’s GIS and Remote Sensing Lab. He has an M.Sc. degree in geoecology from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and a Ph.D. in microwave remote sensing from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. Before joining AUA, Stefan has worked as a researcher at the Vienna University of Technology in the field of remote sensing of geophysical variables and as a hydrological modeler in the private sector. His current research interests include time series analysis of remotely sensing data and applications in flood monitoring, hydrology and vegetation dynamics.