Meet MC/MPA Mason Fellow Hovhannes Avetisyan

August 19, 2013

Every year the Mid-Career/MPA Mason Fellows are the first to arrive on campus for a two-week summer seminar program. This year, several of them have volunteered to introduce themselves through the Harvard Kennedy School School (HKS) admissions blog with a self-authored post.

Below is a selected portion of the blog recently written by Hovhannes Avetisyan:

I am from Armenia. I come from a family of public servants; my mother being a public school teacher and my father a civil servant, both in service for more than 30 years now. In addition to being inspired by my parents to serve the public good, my decision to choose a career in public service was influenced by the enormous social challenges Armenian people have been experiencing after gaining independence in 1991. I chose a career in public service to bring about my dream of making Armenia and our region a safer and better place to live.

After graduating from Armenia’s State University of Economics and serving two years in the Armenian Military Forces, I joined the Ministry of Finance to start my life-long journey of service to people. I have been in public service for more than decade now.

In my last position starting in 2012, I was in charge of the Investment Policy Department of the Ministry of Economy. At the same time, I was leading an Armenia-U.S. trade and investment working group called the U.S.-Armenia Task Force, which was quite challenging. In addition, I served as the focal point in Armenia for Asian Development Bank, was the secretary of Free Economic Zones Regulation Committee, and coordinated several other important projects.

I should confess, while being in public service I realized my hard work was not affecting people’s life in a positive way. Not only was I very far from my dream, but I was not on the right path to achieve it.

In 2008, amid this self-dissatisfaction, I experienced a mid-life crisis caused by the death of my first and only child. 2008 was not only the hardest in my life, but also the most important in terms of reassessing my achievements, goals, and purpose in life. My fear of vanishing from existence having done nothing good for my people and this world made me strive even more to achieve excellence and significance in my work and life.

At that time I made an important decision to leave my comfort zone and travel to the U.S. for developing new knowledge and skills at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. In 2012, I was awarded a fellowship to study public policy at another school, and while it was an excellent institution, I felt it lacked the “naive” people Dean David Ellwood often refers to. I wanted to learn from and find answers from people who are passionate about changing the world for the better. This was one of the main reasons I applied to the HKS Mid-Career MPA program in the fall of 2012.

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Hovhannes Avetisyan, Mason Fellow

Hovhannes Avetisyan, Mason Fellow

"I wanted to learn from and find answers from people who are passionate about changing the world for the better," says Avetisyan.