Liana Aghabekyan

Nationality: Armenia
Program: One-year MAPP
Graduated: 2014
Current job: Senior Democratization Assistant at OSCE
Location: Yerevan, Armenia

Beyond Work

+1. Which Hungarian words do you still remember?

Egészségedre [Cheers or Bless you], szia [hi], köszönöm szépen [thank you very much], igen-igen [yes, yes] 

+2. What is your favorite city in the world?

Can't name one. Barcelona, Rome, and Prague are among them, but Budapest is my special city.

+3. What was your dream job when you were ten years old?

I wanted to be a fashion designer. I used to draw women's clothes on paper and dream of actually designing them later on. It has nothing to do with public policy, but I might still turn to it one day as a hobby.

+4. What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day at work?

Switching from work mode and relaxing with friends and/or family.

1. What led you to study public policy at CEU?

Why public policy? Both my educational and professional backgrounds were related to the public sector. I graduated from the Armenian State University of Economics with a specialization in state and municipal management and afterwards chose without hesitation to work in the public sector. I joined the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration in 2007. My experiences taught me the importance of continuously improving one's knowledge and skills and deepened my interest in policy development and implementation. Eventually, my thought that I might pursue a master's degree abroad evolved into a real plan. Why CEU? I am certainly not unique in saying that CEU has a good reputation and also that it is quite famous in my region. However, the most important factor that influenced me was my participation in a summer school course at CEU in 2012. This gave me an opportunity to experience for myself the quality of education and meet CEU graduates, whose way of thinking somehow differed from other people I'd met.

2. What do you remember most about your time at CEU?

Honestly, the first thing I associate with CEU is deadlines. In a sense, my year at CEU was a kind of marathon from deadline to deadline. Looking back now, I often wonder how we managed. I remember sleepless nights in the study room of the residence center and five-minute naps in the library. But more importantly, I remember the inspiring professors and the amazing atmosphere of multiculturalism and diversity generating all those memorable discussions with people from around the globe. Another thing I will definitely not forget is the great time spent with my classmates and other members of the CEU community, many of whom became real friends.

3. What have you been engaged in professionally since graduating from CEU?

I returned home from CEU in September 2014. The next couple of months were dedicated to an intense job search full of hopes, disappointments, and huge uncertainty about the future. For a short while, I went back to my previous job while looking for other opportunities. Since March 2015, I have been employed at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) office in Yerevan. As a senior democratization assistant I am responsible for the coordination of the gender portfolio, including the development of project proposals and budgets, coordination of project implementation, evaluation, as well as the preparation of analytical overviews on recent developments in the field and relevant recommendations.

4. How have your policy studies at CEU contributed to your career?

The year at CEU contributed enormously to my personal and professional growth. While I wouldn't want to underestimate the importance of rich theoretical knowledge, I would highlight the value of the critical approach that was impressed upon me at CEU. CEU significantly developed my analytical and critical thinking skills, greatly widening my professional outlook.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question has never been a favorite, but I will answer it here from the perspective of my current occupation. Being responsible for gender portfolio coordination at my current workplace, I see myself making a contribution to gender equality in Armenia by influencing policy in this field and creating better opportunities for women.

6. Do you have any advice for current students?

Shortly and simply: just make the most of the time at CEU. Apart from focusing on classes, I would recommend attending public lectures by professionals you might not otherwise get a chance to learn from, getting involved in CEU clubs, and initiating new ones.

7. What is your favorite thing to do in Budapest?

Since the moment I left Budapest, I have desperately missed this lovely city. One can name many must-dos: the baths, spending time with friends in ruin pubs, relaxing in small parks, or taking advantage of Margaret Island. However, my number one source of energy and inspiration were nighttime walks and talks along the Danube, enjoying the fascinating views of Buda and Pest.

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