“FAR taught me to be grateful to my benefactors, those who helped me to pursue my education. It’s the most important thing. FAR taught me the art of saying ‘Thank you.’ And through my Thank You letters, I truly tell my benefactors about my life, my studies, and my achievements,” said Naira Sardaryan, 24, one of our most energetic and ambitious scholarship students.

Naira received FAR’s Karapet and Zambak Scholarship, which enables her to now study sociology at Yerevan State University. Her master’s research centers on conflict and migration.

Naira was born and raised in the village of Arshaluys, in Armavir Province, to a teacher and a farmer. (Her father Hrachya died of heart attack in 2016). “Being the eldest child in the family puts you in charge of everything; often you take on loads of responsibilities that further draw you into leadership positions,” said Naira with a smile, referring to her parents’ bold decision to push her to study well at school and become the first of their four children to get a college degree.

In 2010, Naira entered the State Linguistic University after Brusov to study intercultural communications. It was the first time she ever set foot in Yerevan. “I felt like an urban girl who suddenly found herself in a big city,” she recalled.

Between 2010 and 2014, Naira vigorously attended trainings, seminars, and workshops focused on human rights, youth policy, migration, and child protection, among others. Apart from her lessons, she also volunteered at the Eurasia Partnership Foundation as an administrative assistant, then at the Zatik Orphanage where she helped the kids with the lessons. In 2014, she volunteered at the FAR Children’s Center, helping the staff to translate books and publications on child protection and social integration. “You learn a lot when you volunteer, but you also help vulnerable children. When working with the kids, I felt personal reward and satisfaction,” she said.

In 2016, Naira applied to her master’s program at Yerevan State University, and with FAR’s support is currently working in her program to study conflict and migration. In 2017, Naira received a grant and traveled to Northern Ireland to conduct research on the conflict there through interviews with Irish migration experts. “The research I collected is more than enough for my master’s thesis,” she said.

According to Naira, there is a huge gap of migration experts in Armenia. The growing rate of community migrants says a lot about that. “When you grow up in a village and see how the villagers struggle for a daily living, you realize that there is something wrong in the state system. Armenia needs professionals who will certainly make efforts to reduce migration,” remarked Naira, reiterating her thought on why she decided to specialize in the field of migration.

Currently, Naira works as a project manager at the German Business Association of Armenia and coordinates the programs aimed at contributing to the economic integration of Syrian-Armenians.