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Veronika Zonabend: International school in Armenia may become a call for economic and political stabilization

  • by Elita Babayan

  • Friday, January 24, 16:10

The presence of an international school in Armenia may become a call for economic and political stabilization in the country, Veronika Zonabend, the wife of well- known Russian businessman and philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan, said at today's press conference in Yerevan when commenting on an ArmInfo correspondent's concerns about the low probability of the Dilijan project's self-repayment amid the probable economic and political shocks in Armenia.        

"Even the countries that seem to be calm and stable face some cataclysms. Let's look at the act of terrorism in Boston or the developments in the Middle East. As you see, there is no absolutely safe place in the world, and Armenia, like any other country, faces certain risks. However, these risks should not hinder implementation of projects", said Zonabend. 

She stressed that in Costa Rica and Swaziland the UWC colleges (the Dilijan International School is a full member of the UWC network - editor's note) have been operating for a few decades, and these schools have become one of the factors contributing to the safe situation in these countries. "Certainly, it will take the school much time to become self-sufficient, but we have an idea to create a rather big endowment, which will allow the school to operate regardless of the future students' well-being", she said. Zonabend expressed confidence that the opportunity to get high quality education in Dilijan would also interest well- off people from all over the world.    

The United World College Dilijan (Dilijan International School) is the 13th member of the United World Colleges (UWC) movement, one of fourteen colleges around the world, and the first international boarding school in Armenia. It will accept its first flock of 90 11th graders in September 2014. Initially the school will only operate grades 11-12, and is scheduled to accept the first class of 8th graders in 2017. It will reach a full capacity of 650 students in 2013. The mission of the UWC movement and of the school is to "make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future". The college will follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program for grades 11-12, while using IGCSE curriculum for the grades 8-10.

To recall, the project on construction of the Dilijan International School is the benevolent project of Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend. Businessmen Danil Khachaturov, Nubar Afeyan, Vladimir Avetisyan, Gagik Adibekyan and Ziyavudin Magomedov are also among the founders of the School. 

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