Fostering civil discourse: American University of Armenia announces the opening of Media Lab - Mediamax.am

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Fostering civil discourse: American University of Armenia announces the opening of Media Lab


Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax


On June 6, the grand opening of the Media Lab took place at the American University of Armenia (AUA). Through the Lab, the University aims to promote civil discourse in Armenia, strengthen democratic culture, and curtail the misinformation pervading the media landscape.

 

The creation of the Media Lab was made possible thanks to a grant from the Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded to AUA in October 2021.

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The grand opening of the Media Lab was attended by AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian, Chairman of the AUA Board of Trustees Dr. Lawrence Pitts, trustees, deans, faculty, members of the AUA community, and USAID Mission Director John Allelo.  

 

Congratulating all those present on this unique occasion in the University's history, Dr. Boghosian presented the primary goals that serve as the foundation for the creation of the Media Lab.

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“Through cutting-edge equipment and tools, the AUA Media Lab will serve as a medium for pinpointing targeted areas of media intervention most crucial for the industry. The Lab will promote the co-creation of well-grounded and reliable approaches to curtail pervasive misinformation and disinformation that pervade the media landscape, undermining democracy and democratic values, contributing to the hybrid war being waged against Armenia, and calling into question even the very existence of objective truth,” he emphasized.

 

Dr. Boghosian added that the Lab will also serve as a platform for fostering public trust, tolerance, and empathy between and among various communities.

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Equipped with modern tools, the Lab consists of several rooms and studios that provide opportunities to create diverse media products. It also offers the best conditions for the future operation of the Center of Excellence in Journalism and the accompanying Master of Arts in Journalism program funded by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan.

 

According to Dr. Boghosian, the Media Lab will not only promote civic engagement among the members of the AUA community, but also expand institutional linkages and collaborations with other local and international universities and research centers.

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On behalf of the entire AUA community, the president of the University expressed his gratitude to USAID for supporting the creation of the Media Lab and for always standing by AUA's side.

 

In turn, USAID Mission Director John G. Allelo emphasized the commitment and dedication of the University’s team to turning the idea into a reality. He also highlighted the importance of launching the Media Lab in these difficult times for Armenia.

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“No one knows better than all of us here the challenges that Armenia has faced recently and will continue to face. A large part of those challenges are fueled by misinformation and disinformation, and outright lies in many cases. Having journalistic ethics and providing opportunities for students, faculty, and civil society to come together to critically analyze what is happening and obtain accurate information to share with the audience will enable decision-making that will impact not only today, but also the future of this wonderful country,” he noted, underlining that this will only be possible through citizens taking on responsibility as members of civil society.

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Prior to the official opening, the Media Lab had already started its activities, with the first being  the “Focus Series” podcast. The Media Lab team promises to offer a number of interesting projects in the near future and to continuously develop the Lab to best serve the stated goals.

 

Gaiane Yenokian

 

Photos: Agape Grigoryan

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