Born and raised in Beirut, the Simonians moved to the United States as teenagers. Sam enrolled in the engineering program of the University of Texas at Arlington and went on to co-found a leading telecommunications company Inet. The Simonians have always noted the significant contributions Armenian organizations made to their education and success over the years, and have made it a personal endeavor to extend that gift to the current generation of bright and motivated Armenians. TUMO is their greatest step in that direction yet.
Marie Lou Papazian
Marie Lou Papazian is CEO of the Simonian Educational Foundation and Managing Director of the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies. Prior to Tumo, she co-founded the Education for Development Foundation where she led the Three Pomegranates project linking Armenian students to their global peers through web-based educational activities. Marie Lou has a graduate degree in Education from the Columbia Teachers College and is a member of the Information Technology Council of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.
Arman Davtyan, commonly known as Nur, is a native of Yerevan and a leading jewelry designer. He has been credited with pioneering the genre of animated sculpture and the use of spectral gold in jewelry, among his other contributions to the field. He currently serves as the founder and director of Nur Design, a creative studio in Armenia known for its innovative jewelry art.
Engineer Lead, Uber
Raffi Krikorian is Engineering Lead at Uber and a former VP at Twitter. At Twitter, Raffi was in charge of the company’s core infrastructure and the software that powers the Twitter ecosystem. Raffi was also a co-founder of WattzOn.com which was named best idea of the year by Business Week. He’s the author of "TiVo Hacks," published by O'Reilly, and has taught at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Lead Creative, Fugitive
Known for his digital visual effects work on the AcademyAward winning “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers,” Kupelian has been creating virtual environments and cinematic sequences for the motion picture industry since 1995. His latest personal works are the two volumes of his Graphic Novel Series for his East of Byzantium project : War Gods, and soon, Warrior Saints.
CEO, Bazillion Beings
Pegor Papazian is a technologist and former diplomat, and the founder of Bazillion Beings. He has been CEO of the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia and Head of Program Development at the United States Agency for International Development. He has played a lead role in developing TUMO’s educational content and user interface.
Dr. Debra Porch
Lecturer, Griffith University
Porch is a practicing artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Australia. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, with her research focused on the relationship of presence and absence to memory, mortality, and the body.
A staple at Pixar animation studios since the 1990s, Sarafian produced the studio's “Brave,” which won the Oscar for best animated feature, and was co-producer for “The Incredibles.” She has also served several leading roles on landmark computer-animated films such as “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “A Bug's Life.”
CEO, Industrial Toys
Founder and former president of Bungie Software Products Corporation, Seropian is an American video game developer who is currently helming Industrial Toys, a mobile gaming company he founded in 2012. Seropian has held leading positions at Disney Interactive and Wideload Games. He currently serves as Game Designer in Residence at DePaul University, the first liberal arts university to offer a bachelor's degree in game design.
World-reknown as the lead vocalist for Grammy Award winning heavy metal band System of a Down, Tankian is a solo musician, composer, poet and activist. His music is usually paired with a socially-conscious agenda to empower youth to take charge of global society.
Artist, author, actor
Beirut-born Berberian is well-known in the diasporan Armenian community for his work as an author, playwright, actor, painter and social commentator. Currently based out of Los Angeles, Vahe has 65 solo and group exhibitions, four one man shows, two published novels and over a dozen plays on his ever-expanding dossier.
Born in Rhode-Island, Aram has been working with metal since the 1980s. After spending significant time in India and New York learning the art of craft-based metalwork and design, he launched his eponymous line of high-end products which range from tableware to furniture and are sold in galleries and specialty stores worldwide.
An Initiative of the Simonian Educational Foundation