Global Solutions From Local Soil: Teach For Armenia's CEO Welcomes the Network to the 2019 Global Conference

Larisa Hovannisian, Founder & CEO, Teach For Armenia

The following is an excerpt from the opening remarks by Teach For Armenia's Founder and CEO, Larisa Hovannisian, at the 2019 Teach For All Global Conference in Yerevan, Armenia:

In 1998, a team of excavators found buried under Lake Sevan a symbol. It showed one of the earliest visions of the planet Earth. Thousands of years later, this is now the symbol of the Teach For All Global Conference, and the reminder of the faith that brings us here: that the big solutions that can shape the world are actually buried in our local soil. While solving local problems, we are actually finding breakthroughs that can have global transformational power.

This is especially relevant for Armenia. We have always been a global nation. Since biblical times, when Noah’s Ark is said to have landed on the mountains of Ararat, Armenia has been at the crossroads—and often the battleground—of the great empires, the great religions, the great civilizations. But this has become a literal truth as a result of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when millions of Armenians were killed and millions more spread out across the world to form Little Armenias everywhere. The Republic of Armenia is actually the center of a global nation, and so the solutions we discover must necessarily have cross-cultural and global resonance—in healthcare, in culture, in education.

My own life experience has been one of traversing that global nation, in Russia, in the U.S. and now back in Armenia. I began my career in the classroom, as a Teach For America teacher—and it was life-changing, not only because of all that I learned from my students and the community, but also because I came to realize that I was part of something much larger. There was an approach and a spirit to our work that was harnessed from the collective experience of the then 35 partners of this great Teach For All global network.

I was excited to bring that experience to Armenia. And now it’s especially thrilling to contribute Armenia’s own experience back to the growing network and its now 53 partners. It has been an experience of success against all odds—bringing to life the dream of an educational revolution in Armenia.