SOAR - Berlin Chapter

SOAR-Berlin joined the SOAR family in May 2013. Like much of the Armenian Diaspora, most Armenians immigrated to Germany after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. After the Second World War, many Soviet Armenians, former prisoners of war, fled to the American occupied areas of Germany. The first Armenian organization in Germany was the Armenian Colony of Berlin, established in 1923. By the mid-1980s, multiple Armenian associations were established in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart. There are more than 30,000 naturalized Armenians living in Germany today.

SOAR-Berlin oversees the Girls' Empowerment Program with SOAR-Boston.

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Board of Directors:

Zhanna Gevorgyan

Zhanna was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia and has lived in Germany since 2012. She has 2 Master’s degrees in International Relations from Yerevan State University and a degree in Social Sciences from Humboldt University of Berlin. Before moving to Germany, she worked for three years as a Regional Manager and Educational Program Manager in Yerevan, Armenia.

Her humanitarian interests are reflected in providing a proper education to children around the world. In summer 2015 she volunteered for AIESEC as an English teacher in the international Kindergarten in Perama, Greece. She feels honored to be part of SOAR family and support children to build a better future.

Ruzanna Harutyunyan

Ruzanna was born and raised in Armenia and moved to Germany just recently. Her professional study evolved in the State Engineering University of Armenia. In 2003 Ruzanna received her Bachelor's degree, earning her diploma with honors. She earned her Master's degree in the Computer Science field in 2005. The last eight years Ruzanna has worked in the project/product management field. She speaks Armenian, Russian, and English fluently.

David Leupold

David was born in raised in the Czech-German border town Selb, Germany. After completing his B.A. studies in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg and his M.A. studies in Social Sciences at Middle Eastern Technical University Ankara and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, he lived for one year in Armenia to conduct research for his doctoral thesis in the field of reconciliation and memory studies. His main focus in the field of education lies in methods for coming-to-terms with history and overcoming hostile images perpetuated through ethno-centric history narratives.

He speaks German, English, Armenian, Turkish, Farsi and Russian fluently.

Ara Shanlian II

Originally from the United States, Mr. Shanlian has worked for numerous tech startups including electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors and artificial intelligence start-up Inspirient . He has volunteered with the nonprofit community as a member of the Education Committee for Armenian National Committee of America’s Glendale Chapter. After graduating from the University of California Irvine with a Bachelor in Biological Sciences and a Bachelor in Sociology, he moved to Germany to pursue a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on International Healthcare Management. Ara developed a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector as a beneficiary of numerous scholarships during his undergraduate and graduate education. This gave him a deep appreciation for how nonprofits seek to improve access to healthcare and education. By means of a project at SRH Hochschule Berlin he has consulted on a market entry strategy for a novel biomarker for early detection of Congestive Heart Failure. He is currently finishing research on how interoperability of smart devices can improve outcome measurement to reinforce the adoption of value-based healthcare.

Ara Shanlian serves on the board of SOAR’s Berlin and Stockholm chapters overseeing the Orphan Transition Fund and Men’s Empowerment Program.

Lisa Van Biljon

Lisa was born in South Africa and grew up in Scotland. After completing a Masters degree in Medieval Studies, she took part in an EVS (European Voluntary Service) exchange to Armenia in 2011-2012, where she spent several months participating in social projects in and around Yerevan. Since then, she has worked as an English language teacher in Germany, Poland and Slovakia and has been living in Berlin since August 2015.