The YaleGALE Volunteer Consulting Services (VCS) visited Yerevan, Armenia on April 14-16, 2016 for meetings and a two-day conference on alumni relations titled, “Yale to Yerevan: Scholars and Alumni Without Borders: Making a Difference” to address the concept of building civil society through alumni engagement and networks.

Members of the VCS team were Kathy Edersheim ’87, Senior Director of AYA and Chair of YaleGALE, Barbara Wagner ’73, and Scott Williamson ’80. The conference, was sponsored by the American University of Armenia (AUA), the Luys Foundation (Luys) and Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU).

Vasken Yacoubian speaking, other panelists include Kathy Edersheim, Scott Williamson, and Barbara Wagner

On April 14, the hosting organizations arranged for the YaleGALE team to visit the Training and Research Center of the Central Bank of Armenia, located in Dilijan, to discuss the concepts of building community around education and the responsibility of institutions with bank representatives. They also visited a new school in the local community being sponsored by the Central Bank to attract families to the area.

Scott Williamson presenting

The conference itself, which began on April 15, was attended by approximately 70 individuals, representing several Armenian universities, the US embassy and several NGO’s. Introductory remarks were given by Jacqueline Karaaslanian, Executive Director for Luys Foundation, AGBU Central Board Member Vasken Yacoubian, and Anahit Ordyan, Director of Administration at AUA, as well as Dr. Gevorg Yaghjyan, Specialist in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, who had initiated the meeting. The VCS team presented sessions on Structure and Management of Alumni Relations – Steps in Creating an Alumni Association, Volunteer Engagement and Cultivating the Culture of Giving Back, and Alumni Relations and Social Media. In the afternoon, three simultaneous workshops were held on The Challenges of Developing and Maintaining Alumni Associations Abroad, Fundraising and Engaging Alumni of Different Ages and The Role of the University in Building Civil Society.”

Barbara Wagner presenting with Kathy Edersheim and Scott Williamson

Following the day’s session, the three Yale representatives, along with representatives of the three sponsoring organizations, visited Vigen Sargsyan, Chief of Staff to the President of the Republic of Armenia to discuss the importance of supporting robust alumni networks.

Kathy Edersheim speaking before a room filled with people, other panelists include Scott Williamson and Barbara Wagner

On Saturday, VCS team members and representatives of the sponsoring organizations made additional presentations on the Role of the University in the Community. The group was joined by a representative from the Bologna Project on Education and the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Education. For additional program details see

The breadth and depth of the material presented by the VCS team in Armenia was much appreciated.

If your university or organization would be interested in taking advantage of this YaleGALE program and would like to be a Host Institution for a VCS visit, please contact Kathy Edersheim at, or Lynn Johnson at