Larissa Howhannisjan

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Larissa Howhannisjan, October 2015

Larissa Virginia Howhannisjan, b. Ryan  ( Armenian Լարիսա Վիրջինիա Հովհաննիսյան ; born October 21, 1988 in Yerevan , Armenia ) is an Armenian social entrepreneur and education activist .

Howhannisjan is the founder and CEO of Teach For Armenia , a nonprofit that brings college graduates and working professionals to work as full-time teachers in Armenia's most underserved schools. Teach For Armenia is the 36th partner of Teach For All , a global network that aims to improve educational opportunities in countries around the world.

childhood and education

Howhannisjan's parents are the Armenian Maja Leonidi Hurunzi ( Armenian Մայա Լեոնիդի Հուրունցի ) and the Irish-American John Patrick Ryan. When Howhannisjan was 3 months old, the family moved first to California and then to Russia. Howhannisjan spent most of her childhood in Moscow and Yerevan. After graduating from high school, Howhannisjan moved to the United States to attend college. Howhannisjan is the granddaughter of the well-known Armenian writer Leonid Hurunzi ( Armenian Լեոնիդ Հուրունցի ) from the Artsakh Republic . She has a younger sister named Margaret Ryan.

Howhannisjan holds a double degree in International Business and French and Graphic Design from St. Norbert College , a liberal arts college in De Pere,  Wisconsin. She also holds a Masters in Special Education from  Arizona State University .

Working life

In 2010, Howhannisjan joined  Teach For America , a nonprofit that selects, develops, and mobilizes promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for equal educational opportunity and excellence. To this end, it carries out a selection and recruitment of college graduates from the best universities in the USA to work as teachers. Howhannisjan taught special education through the Teach For America program in a understaffed elementary and middle school in Glendale, Arizona .

Larissa Howhannisjan, June 2015

Inspired by her teaching experience in Arizona, Howhannisjan decided in 2013 to go back to Armenia and start Teach for Armenia , an organization that aims to increase the educational output of all children in Armenia and unlock the huge potential of the country's young people. The organization recruits and promotes exceptional graduates for at least two years as teaching staff for the worst-staffed schools. Recent research shows an increase in academics and managerial staff. Beyond the classroom, teachers help students develop non-academic skills and an attitude of mind through extracurricular activities and community projects that are designed to help them throughout life.


In 2015 Howhannisjan recorded the Armenian lullaby “Come, my nightingale” ( Armenian Արի՛ իմ սոխակ Ari im sochak ) together with the front man of the Armenian-American rock band System of a Down Serj Tankian . The song became the soundtrack of the 1915 film , a psychological thriller about the Armenian genocide . The music video directed by Howhannisjan's husband  Karin Howhannisjan was released on April 22, 2016.

In February 2017 Howhannisjan released a cover version of the old Armenian song "I will die on sand" ( Armenian Սարերի հովին մեռնեմ Sareri howin mernem ) together with Tamar Martirossean .

Social and educational activism

Howhannisjan at  Tedx , in October 2016

In addition to her professional career, Howhannisjan works as an educational activist. In an interview she said, “ I have long believed that change — true, meaningful change — begins in our schools. ”(German:“ I am deeply convinced that change, real, meaningful change begins with our schools ”). Howhannisjan appeared in 2016 as a spokesperson for Tedx Yerevan.


Howhannisjan is fluent in English, Russian and Armenian. In 2016 she married the Armenian-American writer and filmmaker Karin Howhannisjan. You live in Yerevan.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Larisa Ryan. In: October 1, 2013, accessed June 27, 2018 .
  2. Core values ​​- Teach For Armenia. In: Retrieved June 27, 2018 .
  3. Serj Tankian ft. Larisa Ryan - Ari Im Sokhag on YouTube , accessed June 27, 2018.
  4. ^ Diana Hovhannisyan: Larisa Ryan on singing Armenian lullaby with Serj Tankian. In: May 20, 2016, accessed June 27, 2018 .

Web links

Commons : Larisa Hovannisian  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files