USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies welcomes two new team members with an ambition to grow its academic programming and global reach.

“There has never been a more important time to invest in the field of Armenian Studies. For an Institute that examines the contemporary Armenian experience, the catastrophic developments in Artsakh and Armenia have amplified the urgency and relevance of our work. Attracting world-class talent is essential to the expansion of the Institute,” says Institute director Dr. Shushan Karapetian.

Margarita Baghdasaryan is the Institute’s new associate director. In this role, she will oversee the Institute’s global communication efforts and manage the USC Tacori Center in Armenia. She holds a Master of Science in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from UCLA. In addition to her multidisciplinary academic background, Margarita brings years of work experience in government, advocacy, and nonprofit management.

Prior to joining the team, Margarita worked at the Republic of Armenia Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, where she established the Repatriation and Integration Center and led key programs and policies to promote diaspora engagement. She has also worked for several diaspora institutions in Southern California, including the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region and Glendale Chapter, as well as the Hidden Road Initiative—a nonprofit organization that provides educational and leadership opportunities to underprivileged students in Armenia and Artsakh. Margarita was also a recipient of the Institute’s 2019 research grant, “From a Democratic Breakthrough to Challenges of Consolidation in Armenia” to conduct research in Armenia.

“I am thrilled to be part of an Institute that is a pioneer in contemporary Armenian studies. Having studied under the tutelage of Dr. Karapetian at UCLA, I am invested in her vision and look forward to amplifying the impact and contributing to the advancement of Armenian Studies,” says Margarita.

Adam Bantad is the Institute’s new administrative and budget specialist and has spent his career working with research teams, helping build capacity by managing grant budgets and projects. Prior to joining the staff at the Institute, he worked at the UCLA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he oversaw the administrative and purchasing work of the department chair. In 2019, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in global politics at California State University, Long Beach.

Adam and Margarita join a talented team devoted to expanding the field of contemporary Armenian scholarship and pursuing academic excellence.