Laurens Ayvazian

Former Program Director (US-Russia Civil Society Partnership Program) at Eurasia Foundation

Laurens Ayvazian has developed, directed, monitored and evaluated programs in local governance, rule of law, civil society, and market reform in the Eurasia region, Balkans and the Middle East for 23 years, including twelve years living and working in Russia and the South Caucasus.  From 2011-2016, he resided in Russia and directed the US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange, a program that encourages peer-to-peer cooperation in education, health, rule of law and ethics, protection of vulnerable groups, local entrepreneurship, environment, and media.  He also directed the US-Russia University Partnership Program, through which 33 universities cooperated in programs promoting advancement in exact and social sciences, mathematics, higher education, and linguistics.  He was the founding regional director of Eurasia Foundation’s offices in Tbilisi, Yerevan and Baku in the 1990s and approved over 400 grants totaling $10M in support of NGO initiatives. 

He designed and launched Eurasia’s South Caucasus Regional Cooperation program that promoted partnerships across hostile borders in the South Caucasus through concrete work on joint projects and sharing of best practices. He also established the Eurasia Foundation Small Business Loan Program in Armenia. 

Mr. Ayvazian served as Director of Governmental Affairs for the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, DC, and was a key advocate for US ratification of the UN Genocide Convention.  He holds a degree in Russian language and literature from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown University and is a licensed attorney.