The Head of the best Innovative center worldwide talks about her most ambitious professional project
The TUMO Center for Creative Technologies is a new non-formal learning environment where thousands of young people of 12-18 age carry out their own individual study plan under the guidance of experienced teachers and media professionals. Specially designed educational platform prepares them to practical work. Specialised courses, lectures and events provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in everyday life. The goal of TUMO is to expand the minds horizons of young people and to allocate resources for the full revelation of their creative potential. TUMOis non-profit organisation: participation in TUMO project is free and it is open to all local youth.
In 2016 french magazine “We Demain” has ranked Ten Best Schools worldwide with Armenian TUMO Center for Creative Technologies on the top of the list. TUMO has left behind such renowned educational institutions as AltSchool of Silicon Valley, Fuji Kindergarten of Tokyo, and Steve Jobs School.
The TUMO Center for Creative Technologies has been my most ambitious professional undertaking and the one that has been the most rewarding for me. I started my professional career as an engineer in New York and managed the construction of some prominent high-rise buildings in Manhattan. But I also had a love for education, and was excited about the idea of combining education and technology. I started the Three Pomegranates educational project while living in the US and created a network of schools in Armenia that collaborated with Armenian schools in all the major diaspora communities worldwide. After getting a master's degree in education from the University of Columbia and moving to Armenia with my family, I helped design and launch TUMO, which has been like a dream come true for me and, I'm sure, for many of my colleagues.
Our secret of success is simple — aiming high; being very demanding of yourself and your collaborators; always respecting the people you work with and provide service to; making sure you love what you do and you do what you love; and surrounding yourself with very capable and motivated people.
The only lasting way of attracting people to your project is to show amazing results. Our experience at TUMO has shown us that the more we focus on the projects positive impact and successful outcomes, the easier it becomes to strengthen your team. And right now, we have an amazing team that I'm very proud of.
We are always interested in cooperating with other countries and organizations, including the EU. In fact, we are currently working on a project that was financed by the EU and will be implemented by TUMO. The Next Generation Anti-Corruption Game is intended to show students how to combat the different forms of corruption, from petty to large-scale, that they may face and how to deal with each situation accordingly. It will be an interactive and entertaining game which will engross the audience enough so they internalize the impact corrupt behavior may have.
Another example of the successful partnership TUMO shares with the EU is with a competition sponsored and announced by EU together with “ReAnimania” International Animation Film Festival in the frames of “Talent Hunting” program. TUMO startup Yelling Animation won the competition and created a short animation "Magic Man" that highlighted positive values such as tolerance and acceptance. We look forward to further cooperation and know that future partnerships will be just as fruitful.
Some of the works of our students can be viewed on the TUMO website.
Marie-Lou Papazian is the executive director of the Educational Foundation Simonyan and TUMO centre. She is also one of the co-founders of “Education for Development” foundation. Previously, she led the project “Three grenades” that connects the Armenian students with their peers around the world through online educational activities. Marie-Lou has specialized in the field of education, she graduated from Columbia Teachers College, worked as a manager of commercial and residential skyscrapers’ construction in New York. Ms. Papazian is a member of Information Technology Development Support Council adjunct to the Prime Minister of Armenia.
Photo by Eric Grigorian