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Tigran Aghbalyan

University of California, Berkeley
B.A. Political Science (with double major in Performing Arts)
Huys Scholar 2023

Headshot of Huys Scholar Tigran Aghbalyan

Words possess an inherent ability to persuade, but they can also act as deceptive mirrors, distorting our perception of reality and influencing our thoughts and decisions on an emotional level. In recent years, I have witnessed the media’s oppressive impact within my community as it gradually transformed into a source of social disharmony.

Motivated to understand the underlying causes and seek viable solutions, I gathered a group of like-minded schoolmates and collaboratively surveyed the community representatives, focusing on media usage and literacy. Among those questioned, 68% expressed their belief that the media today primarily conveys fear and uncertainty. Furthermore, an alarming pattern emerged as all respondents favored blind acceptance over a comparative and critical analysis. The remaining 32% voiced their disappointment and a growing inclination to disengage from the media, gradually distancing themselves from processes that shape our community and drive change.

Delving into international research and analysis, I discovered that limited civic engagement is a pressing global issue. However, as someone born and raised in the Tavush region, I strongly believe that our Armenian heritage instills a profound sense of responsibility to be a pillar of strength for our local and global community. With this conviction, I have chosen to contribute to advancing informed social justice advocacy, social literacy, and the cultivation of community problem-solving potential in response to emerging needs.

True wisdom necessitates transcending boundaries and unifying individuals from diverse backgrounds in the pursuit of practical solutions. To effect systemic transformation, one must possess both internal and external perspectives, fostering a comprehensive understanding. Consequently, I recognize the growing importance of implementing international best practices, promoting intercultural networks, and establishing a meaningful framework for collaboration with the Armenian diaspora. In light of this, I aspire to pursue a high-quality education at UC Berkeley, an esteemed multicultural institution with historical and academic ties to the Armenian diaspora. I firmly believe that my education at UC Berkeley will empower me to address the aforementioned integral issues through the following pathways to solutions.

Educative-Creative Centers Driving the Future Transformation.

The bedrock of social development is the proliferation of applied education and data-driven decision-making. In the 21st century, educational approaches need to evolve to encompass interdisciplinary problem-solving and the utilization of various resources. While one aspect of these resources should focus on academic policy development, the other should emphasize collaborative innovation through socio-cultural institutions, with theater being a longstanding symbol of the latter. 

The Future Transformation centers will aim to provide a comprehensive education in art, culture, law, policy-making, and leadership to address the existing gap in social values, human rights, and socio-cultural literacy. These multidisciplinary centers will promote a research-based approach to social service, nurture creativity, and encourage system-as-cause thinking, thereby empowering the younger generation to become proactive citizens.

Drawing inspiration from the Human Rights Investigation Lab at UC Berkeley and the participative theater model, the Future Transformation Centers will adopt and adapt the best international practices. By fostering an interdisciplinary mindset, these centers will empower individuals to identify the needs of their communities, develop innovative solutions to pressing social issues, and collaboratively work towards shaping a brighter future that respects and builds upon our rich cultural heritage.

Establishing these centers will create a ripple effect by instilling an ambassadorship mission in their alums. Graduates will carry forward the knowledge, skills, and values acquired, becoming catalysts for positive change in their communities. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and proactive engagement, the centers will contribute to the overall advancement of society. Through an ambassadorship mission, the project aspires to create a lasting impact on society and shape a future that implies social literate, collaborative community.

Leveraging the best international practices through multilevel collaboration and a double major in Political Science and Theater will provide me with insight into the comprehensive context of the centers and their continuous agile impact. 

Propagation of National Values through Media Law and Regulations

In the midst of our current critical situation, it has become imperative to thoroughly reassess and promote our national values, reinstating the principles of national identity, belonging, and pride. In a time when the media often has a detrimental influence, I am committed to making a legislative impact by prioritizing and encouraging media practices that reflect and uphold our cherished national values. Through my interdisciplinary studies with a focus on political theory, I will delve into extensive research and analysis of contemporary media policy, aiming to redirect its focus toward fostering a heightened sense of national awareness and dignity.

Scientific Basis for International Relationship Policy

The internal social issues in Armenia are significantly influenced by external policies and the state of the economy. Therefore, focusing solely on internal awareness campaigns will have a limited long-term impact. It is crucial to engage in a thoughtful analysis of international relationships and negotiations. While many post-Soviet countries tend to rely on intuitive and reactive politics, Armenia should strive to develop proactive policies. By studying the game theory approach, I can contribute to this transformative process and make a meaningful impact.

While I am assured that engaging in those projects will significantly contribute to my impact, it is essential to note that my career aspirations extend beyond them. Looking toward the long term, my ultimate goal is to become a lawyer and dedicate my efforts to advancing justice within the legal system. I am passionate about making human rights and laws easily accessible to the public while actively addressing the potential challenges within the current legal framework. By doing so, I aim to enhance social justice in diverse socio-economic contexts and ensure a more equitable society.

I am aware that Huys Foundation is granting the Huys Scholarship to me with the anticipation of my good faith pursuit and implementation of the projects and undertakings described in this letter, to which I hereby commit.