THRIVE is an AIWA-SF April project dedicated to highlighting Armenians who are doing amazing things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature Narine Sahakyan.
Narine Sahakyan, Resident Representative of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in North Macedonia. With almost 20 years of experience with UN system with increasing levels of responsibility from Project Coordinator to UNDP Resident Representative/Head of Office; 19 years of additional experience with the Government of Armenia, the scientific research institutions, the local and international NGOs, the WB, USAID and other international organizations. Since 2019 she has been leading the UNDP Team in North Macedonia. Previously, she served as UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in North Macedonia, Moldova, Turkmenistan and as Head of Programme in Armenia. Prior to joining UNDP she worked for the Government of Republic of Armenia, leading the Department of Diaspora Relations and Humanitarian Aid at the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations (1991-1993), Investments and Export Promotion Department at the Ministry of Economy (1993-1996) and Foreign Investment at the Ministry of Industry (1996-2000).
Narine has extensive experience in resource mobilization for development and investment programmes from donor and host-country governments, development partners, diaspora organizations and private sector. She is passionate and committed to UN values and to championing Human Development and Sustainable Development Goals. Narine holds a PhD in Economics and a BSc in Engineering from the Yerevan Engineering University. She is happily married, with a son, daughter, and two grandchildren.
@UNDPMK and @narine_sahakyan on Facebook and on Twitter.
Question: What is your life philosophy?
It may sound cliché but my life philosophy or as I call it – my formula of happiness, is Balance: balance in all aspects of life – work and life, family obligations and my personal life as an individual, helping others and asking for help, etc… This being said what moves and excites me in life is new challenges I set myself to undertake and new highs to conquer. I think the progress and change are an absolute must in order to achieve a fulfilling life, yet keeping it balanced will make sure you are able to sustain that progress for longer.
Question: What is your hope for the future?
I want to see the world as a less violent and stressful place for all of us to live in. And in this I always put a lot of hope onto the young/next generation. I am a believer that every generation brings with them their own step forward and I hope that this next step would be towards a more peaceful world, with more compassion and empathy for one another.
Question: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian?
Despite being a small country in terms of geography we are very rich in culture and history. And I think that as Armenians, having always lived on the crossroad of Asia and Europe, Christians and Muslims, Old and New civilizations we are pre-disposed to being culturally sensitive and have the ability to appreciate a wide range of backgrounds, yet preserve our very strong national identity. I also have to say that often I find there is no such thing half or ¼ Armenian, once it is in your DNA there is an inexplicable bond that people feel, and that I love! ☺
Question: How has the Armenian culture shaped / influenced you?
Throughout our history we always had the need to be adaptable to new situations and challenges. And I think this need has wired us in a way to be flexible and open to other cultures and be able to integrate into new societies. Yet I feel that through our identity we always bring something unique to the table, and I mean literally unique tastes through our cuisine or unique atmosphere through our unmatched (I think!) sense of humor. Also let’s not forget the uniqueness of Armenian mindset creativity coupled with rational decision making, no wonder we are so good at chess!