What was it like growing up in your family?
AREN: I was the only child. My parents were of Soviet “intelligentsia”, my mother is a philologist and journalist, my father was a mathematician and professor at Yerevan State University.
Did you grow up with parents hovering over you and your decisions all the time?
AREN: I was lucky. My parents would always give me the freedom of making decisions and mistakes on my own.
When people say speak the language of your kids and not speak for them, do you think it is possible for parents to stick to this rule?
AREN: It’s always very difficult to stand the temptation for one not to speak for their kids, but we try very hard.
How do you think parents can identify the strengths of their children, rather than identifying careers for them?
AREN: Just watch your children closely and try to understand their strengths, see what makes them happy and help them succeed in that.
Should you discuss all careers with your children or only those you find attractive and profitable?
AREN: We don’t discuss careers yet, but we try to help them in finding what they can do best and what their interests are.
Parents often time push prestige rather than passion. Back in 80’s Armenia, law school or medical school were the top choices for young adults. How has the landscape changed?
AREN: The landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Careers in IT and technology are now more prestigious than that of a lawyer or a doctor and kids clearly understand that.
You have two children. Tell us about your relationship with your kids.
AREN: We try to make friends with our kids and not push on them too much. We don’t demand them to study for marks but for their own future, learn what they are interested in and not waste too much time on studies that they don’t like.
As parents do you and your wife have an equal amount of input in upbringing and education of your children?
AREN: Almost equal, depending on our work schedule we substitute each other.
At what age where you asked first what did you want to become?
AREN: I can’t clearly remember when was it, but I do remember that I dreamed of becoming a zoologist because I admired animals.
Your career choice: Why do you do what you do now?
AREN: I graduated from Law school in Moscow, but that was a choice of prestige rather than a job I really wanted. Luckily, I understood that very early and decided to get another degree in Management and that is what I do now. I like to create and implement new business ideas, build and manage teams, and grow value.
Things you would import to Armenia.
AREN: I would import more educational programs like TUMO, Lego Education, Tech Universities etc. I believe that the future of Armenia is its human capital.
Are you content with where you are at the moment, in terms of your career?
AREN: I’m always content with what I have, but always looking forward. My motto in life is: Be happy every minute.
Cityzen: can you tell us about the concept?
AREN: Cityzen is a city of professions for kids, where kids “live”, play and make decisions. We have built a city where kids can have their first glance into adult life, work, earn and spend money, pay taxes, decide everything on their own, be real citizens.
Photographic art by Ken Holden