Alen Gasparian Amirkhanian
Director, Acopian Center for the Environment
Alen Gasparian AmirkhanianDirector, Acopian Center for the Environment

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 2023, he became the inaugural Chair of the Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences (ESS) at the AUA Akian College of Science and Engineering. He teaches graduate and undergraduate environmental courses at AUA. Before 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.

Email: alen(at)
Tel: +374 60 612690

Litta Muradyan
Project Manager, Environmental Education and Outreach Projects
Litta MuradyanProject Manager, Environmental Education and Outreach Projects

Litta Muradyan is the project manager for the Environmental Education and Outreach projects at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. She organizes and coordinates environmental education activities/programs, campaigns, camps, and outreach throughout Armenia (including with communities, schools, other universities, and more), scientific and policy conferences, as well as workshops and seminars. Currently, Litta is managing the GAtES and the ITAMSPE  projects. As a project manager, she oversees the project and is responsible for its planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure. Additionally, Litta prepares and edits reports and articles for environmental education and outreach.

Before joining the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, she worked as an event manager at the Armenian branch of Publicis, one of the world’s largest communications firms. She is an AUA Alumni who graduated with an MBA in 2014.

Email: lmuradyan(at)
Tel: +374 60 612692

Aghavni Harutyunyan
Adjunct Lecturer, GIS Specialist, Project Manager
Aghavni HarutyunyanAdjunct Lecturer, GIS Specialist, Project Manager

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. Ms. 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. Ms. Harutyunyan holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the Yerevan State University from the Department of Geography and Geology.

Email: a.harutyunyan(at)
Tel: +374 60 612687

Tatev Haroyan
Outreach Coordinator
Tatev HaroyanOutreach Coordinator

Tatev Haroyan joined the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment as a project assistant in September 2018. Tatev has a key role in assisting the implementation of multiple projects within the AUA Acopian Center. Her primary responsibilities include assisting in organizing project activities, handling its administrative and financial components as well as contract processing for Sustainable Energy Academy and UNDP funded “Development of E-learning Course on Environmental Education,” projects, organizing center’s events, and other activities.

Tatev Haroyan is a graduate’18 of the American University of Armenia and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business. Prior to joining the center, she has worked and done internships in different spheres, including banking, agricultural and cultural industries.

Email: tharoyan(at)
Tel: +374 60 612520

Vardan Hayrapetyan
Vardan HayrapetyanResearcher

Vardan Hayrapetyan is an Environmental Research Scientist at the American University of Armenia (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining. He is running an Environmental Laboratory at AUA. From 2017-2019 he has been an Adjunct Lecturer and Teaching Associate of several environmental courses, including ENV 203-Environmental Monitoring and ENV 212-Mining. The area of his research and work involves investigation and assessment of toxic sites affected by mining and other industrial activities.

Before joining the American University of Armenia, he worked at the Environmental Monitoring Impact Center of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA and Molecule Structure Research Center of the National Academy of Sciences of RA.

Mr. Hayrapetyan holds a Master’s degree in Physics from the Yerevan State University from the Faculty of Physics.

Email: vhayrapetyan(at)

Sean Reynolds
Adjunct Lecturer
Sean ReynoldsAdjunct Lecturer

Sean joined the Acopian Center in 2017 as a lecturer on Disaster Management. He has worked with both local governments (City of Palm Bay Florida) and private sector companies (Harris Corporation, Chevron) on disaster preparation, response, and impact modeling. His expertise is in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, with a specialization in data analysis and quality control. He holds a Masters Degree in Geographic Information Science from Florida State University. Sean came to Armenia initially in 2008 as a United States Peace Corps volunteer working on environmental awareness at Halidzor Secondary School in Syunik Marz. He is continuing this work through teaching and other projects at ACE.

Email: sreynolds(at)


Harutyun Alpetyan
Program Manager and Lecturer
Harutyun AlpetyanProgram Manager and Lecturer

Harutyun Alpetyan is a waste management expert at the American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment. His current research and work aim to promote and accelerate the transition towards a circular economy through education and innovation, cross-sectoral collaboration, and policy change. While acting as a leading expert and principal investigator, Harutyun also takes the role of policy liaison in many projects on waste initiated by the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. The area of his research and work involves waste handling and landfill mapping, national policies and strategies, sustainable waste management and landfill operations planning, waste quantity and composition studies, and other topics. Passionate about awareness-raising and education, Harutyun also teaches environmental courses at the American University of Armenia.

Email: alpetyan(at)
Tel: +374 60 612693

Siranush Harutyunyan
Grants and Projects Manager
Siranush HarutyunyanGrants and Projects Manager

Siranush Harutyunyan has been with the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment as a Grants and Projects Manager since July 2017. In her position, she supports grant and proposal writing, manages grant requirements and reporting, reviews project budgets, and handles their accounting to ensure that grants are implemented according to the operational and financial needs of the Center. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from AUA. Previously, she was the program coordinator at the AUA Turpanjian Rural Development Program, has worked at the ICHD think-tank and at the Human Rights Defender’s Office of International Cooperation and Strategic Development.

Email: siranush.harutyunyan(at)
Tel: +374 60 612688

Alexander Arakelyan
GIS and Hydrology Expert
Alexander ArakelyanGIS and Hydrology Expert

Dr. Alexander Arakelyan joined Acopian Center for Environment in 2018 as a GIS and Hydrology Expert. He joined AUA Acopian Center for the Environment and AUA Center for Responsible Mining in 2018.  Dr. Arakelyan is managing projects related to environmental education and responsible mining issues.

Alexander also leads GIS Lab in the Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. His expertise is in hydrology, GIS analysis and modeling, water resources management planning, environmental research as well as disaster risk assessment and assessment of climate change impacts on water resources. He has been involved as a GIS and Hydrology Specialist in more than 30 State and donor-funded projects in Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Alexander has a PhD in Engineering (Surface Hydrology, Water Resources, Hydrochemistry) from the Institute of Water Problems and Hydraulic Engineering after Academician I.V. Yeghiazarov.

Email: alexander.arakelyan(at)

Vicken Aprahamian
Visiting Minerals Industry Specialist
Vicken AprahamianVisiting Minerals Industry Specialist

Vicken Aprahamian is a visiting minerals industry specialist with the AUA Center for Responsible Mining. He is a senior process metallurgist currently on sabbatical leave from the Royal Canadian Mint, Ottawa, Canada. He provides support on mine waste and tailings initiatives as well as projects related to health and safety and best practices in the extractive industries.

He has more than thirty years of metallurgical process and research experience particularly in the fields of copper and precious metals refining. He has worked for a number of metallurgical facilities in Africa, North America, and Europe and is a member of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum.

Mr. Aprahamian holds a Masters in Metallurgical Engineering from McGill University.

Nellie Kesoyan
Project Assistant
Nellie KesoyanProject Assistant

Nellie Kesoyan joined the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment in August 2020 as a Project Assistant for two projects. She will be assisting the team of Mining Policy Dialogue, Mining Data Portal, and Youth Engagement, funded by the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center with funds from USAID. In addition, she will assist  Developing Guidelines for Transitional Waste Disposal Facilities in Armenia, funded by the Manoogian Simone Foundation (MSF) and implemented in collaboration with the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure.

Nellie has seven years of work experience in information technology, telecommunications, and legal fields. Previously, she worked at the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies as a Talent Acquisition Coordinator of the EU TUMO Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Science project, funded by the EU.

Nellie graduated from the Poznan University of Economics and Business, where she studied International Business Management. She also graduated from Brusov Yerevan State Linguistic University with a master’s degree in Linguistics and Literature.

Email: nkesoyan(at)

Armen Sahakyan
Impact Expert
Armen SahakyanImpact Expert

Armen V. Sahakyan, a specialist in international political economy, is an Impact Expert at the American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian  Center for the Environment. Most recently he served as a Project Director at the Westminster Fund for Democracy and an Adjunct Lecturer at the American University of Armenia. With an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and B.A. from Bloomfield College, he has prior experience in the U.S. grassroots political advocacy sector for seven years. He has consulted for the World Bank Group, taught at Bloomfield College, and worked at the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the UN. Sahakyan has and continues to serve on several nonprofit boards and is passionate about community service initiatives. His articles and commentary have appeared in American and international media.

Email: asahakyan [at]

Former staff

Varant Meguerditchian
Former Manager, MLRI
Varant MeguerditchianFormer Manager, MLRI

Varant Meguerditchian joined the AUA Center for Responsible Mining in September 2018 to run 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 natural resources. Prior to joining AUA, he 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 policies that support sustainable communities.

Varant holds a Masters in Management (2010) from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, and a Masters in International Relations (2014) from Griffith University.

Carl Ulbricht
Former Consultant
Carl UlbrichtFormer Consultant

Carl Ulbricht is an international consultant, specialising in legal and administrative reform in a variety of sectors. Currently, he is advising on Armenian and international mining legislation at the MLRI. Carl has more than 20 years’ experience on projects in Armenia and Central Asia, focusing on public and private sector reform. He trained in law in London and worked initially as a commercial lawyer in the UK and Italy.

Lilia Khzmalyan
Project Assistant
Lilia KhzmalyanProject Assistant

Lilia Khzmalyan joined the Acopian Center for the Environment and the Center for Responsible Mining as a Project Assistant for MLRI and ITAMPSE projects in March 2019. Lilia assists in the handling of these projects’ day to day activities, their administrative and financial components, contract processing, as well as organizing centers’ events and other activities.

Lilia graduated from the English-Japanese faculty of the Yerevan Institute of Humanities. From 1998-1999 she was an exchange student in the US. Prior to joining our team Lilia has worked with the “Armenian Water and Sewerage Company” CJSC, RA Ministry of Finance, USAID Tax Improvement Program, “Tetley Tea” Ltd in Moscow, Russian Federation and freelanced for the US Embassy in Moscow, Russian Federation.

Email: lkhzmalyan(at)
Tel: +374 60 612689

Lena Nazaryan
Former Mining Community Monitoring and Outreach Coordinator
Lena NazaryanFormer 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.

Liana Margaryan
Former Senior Researcher and Environmental Toxicologist
Liana MargaryanFormer 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.

Former Staff – Meri Galstyan
Former Deputy Manager of Mining Legislation Reform Initiative
Former Staff – Meri GalstyanFormer Deputy Manager of Mining Legislation Reform Initiative

Meri Galstyan serves as the Deputy Manager of Mining Legislation Reform Initiative, a project of the AUA Center for Responsible Mining since 2015. She is 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 training. She has LLM degree from American University of Armenia, and BA in Political Science from Yerevan State University of Languages and Social Sciences.

Vahe Vardanyan
Former Mining and Environmental Adviser
Vahe VardanyanFormer Mining and Environmental Adviser

Vahe Vardanyan joined AUA CRM starting from July 2016 and is responsible for establishing sound communication between the CRM and mining companies, as well as developing grounds for sharing knowledge and experience intended for continuous improvement of industry corporate responsibility.  Before joining CRM, Vahe worked for a Canadian mining company “Dundee Precious Metals Kapan” (DPMK) for about 9 years first in the role of Environmental Manager then promoted to Director of Administration Services. He was also part of Mott MacDonald team in Armenia, which was responsible for developing EIAs, RAPs, and EMPs for Millennium Challenge Corporation financed projects in Armenia, as well as expediting the environmental permitting process and environmental oversight of construction works. At the earlier stages of his career, Vardanyan was also working for UN WFP as a program monitor for Syunik marz.  Vardanyan was awarded Edmund S Muskie Graduate Fellowship in 2009 for a Master’s Degree program in the US. He received his MS in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho in 2011. He is also a graduate of Yerevan State University of Economics in the field of World Economics.

Elmira Ayvazyan
Research Assistant
Elmira AyvazyanResearch Assistant

Elmira Ayvazyan joined the AUA Center for Responsible Mining as a research assistant in the Climate-Smart Re-Mining Project starting August 2020. The project is funded by Leiden University with funds from the World Bank.

Elmira graduated from the American University of Armenia with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BAB ’20). During the academic years, Elmira took Environmental Sciences and Sustainable Cities. Through these courses and the mentorship of lecturers, she became passionate about environmental topics.

Through AUA’s work-study program, Elmira joined the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment and conducted stakeholder interviews within the Eco-Smart Triangle Park Project. She also worked in a non-profit organization, targeting the rural communities of Armenia with programs focusing on environmentalism and gender equality.

Elmira is currently also an intern at the Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia, assisting with the shaping of Armenia Transformation Strategy 2050.