An Armenian-American vice-president of Twitter has met with President Serzh Sarkisian and held workshops in Yerevan during a weeklong visit to Armenia aimed at supporting its burgeoning information technology (IT) sector.
Raffi Krikorian arrived in his ancestral homeland on Saturday at the invitation of Yerevan’s Tumo Center for Creative Technologies that trains teenage students interested in IT. He spent the following days holding workshops there and helping the center, set up and financed by other Americans of Armenian descent, improve its computer programming curriculum.
A statement released by Tumo said Krikorian also met this week with local IT educators and entrepreneurs to “discuss emerging global trends and issues of concern to the Armenian IT community.” The San Francisco-based executive will give a public lecture on his professional experience at the world’s leading microblogging network on Friday.
Krikorian, who leads a large team of engineers supporting Twitter’s databases, server clusters and software libraries, was received by Sarkisian on Thursday. Sarkisian was quoted by his press office as stressing the importance of developing IT in Armenia and the role of Diaspora Armenian professionals in that endeavor.
“Serzh Sarkisian attached importance to advising, developing close cooperation, and exchanging experience with Armenia’s IT specialists,” the office said in a statement. Krikorian, for his part, was said to have described his first contacts with those specialists as encouraging.
Krikorian took a picture of himself and Sarkisian and posted it on his Twitter page. “Need to get a @twitter account for him,” he wrote above the “selfie.”
The Armenian president is not known to have official accounts on Twitter, Facebook or other social media.
There are presently some 300 IT firms in Armenia employing between 7,000 and 10,000 engineers. According to government data, the sector grew by an average of 23 percent annually from 2008-2012. Its combined output was worth around $244 million in 2012.