In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the FLEX program, American Councils organized a TED-inspired event that brought together 157 alumni from the South Caucasus region. Participants gathered for a day of networking and storytelling, the highlight of which was ten alumni sharing personal stories that highlighted the value of exchange programs and the impact the FLEX program had on their lives. Hovhannes Stepanyan ’97 (San Bernardino, CA) of Armenia, the most senior alumnus who spoke, shared how his host family gave him a life-changing experience. Esma Gumberidze ’13 (Ocala, FL) of Georgia described feeling “limitless” during her time in the U.S. Garanfil Hasanova ’08 (New Oxford, PA) of Azerbaijan explained how her FLEX year transformed her from a shy introvert into a confident, outgoing individual. Jeffrey K. Reneau, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, Diana Sitt, Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, and Ramina Murshudova, Education Specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan also spoke at the event.
Throughout the year and throughout the 25th anniversary celebrations, the FLEX Alumni team will regularly release videos of the ten outstanding FLEX Talks. The video below is for those of you who did not make the event! It’s a taste of the fun and fellowship at the FLEX Talks South Caucasus event.
A new season of FLEX Talks is coming soon! Enjoy this short highlight of the evening. See a familiar face? Tag them below.
Posted by FLEX Alumni Program on Wednesday, May 23, 2018
On the second day of the event, senior alumni from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia met for brunch and a networking event, where alumni were seated according to their professional fields. Alumni spoke about their exchange experiences and professional pursuits, finding ways to connect with their fellow alumni from the region.
A full list of the FLEX Talks speakers includes:
Kristi Milorava ‘07 (Muncie, IN/ Tbilisi, Georgia)
Hovhannes Stepanyan ‘97 (San Bernardino, CA/ Yerevan, Armenia)
Gunay Ismayilova (Bowie, MD/ Baku, Azerbaijan)
Nino Sakvarelidze ‘10 (Avondale, AZ/ Tbilisi, Georgia)
Anahit Bagiryan ‘17 (Lexington, AL/ Yerevan, Armenia)
Levan Chutlashvili ‘14 (Kennewick, WA/ Dedoplistskaro, Georgia)
Garanfil Hasanova ’08 (New Oxford, PA/ Lenkeran, Azerbaijan)
Magda Markosyan ‘02 (Marysville, WA/ Yerevan, Armenia)
Esma Gumberidze ‘13 (Ocala, FL/ Tbilisi, Georgia)
Suliddin Bagirov ‘11 (Louisville, TN/ Ganja, Azerbaijan)
Follow all of the 25th Anniversary events and excitement by using the hashtag #FLEX25.
This year, we kick off another season of FLEX Talks with Anahit Bagiryan who talks about her experience, expectations and excitement during her FLEX year in Lexington, Alabama. Enjoy!
Posted by FLEX Alumni Program on Friday, June 1, 2018