The International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) Foundation is a non-governmental and non-commercial organization established in Yerevan, Armenia in 2005 by Texas A&M University. ICARE is an umbrella institution for the Agribusiness Teaching Center (ATC), EVN Wine Academy, as well as for agribusiness research and rural development projects.
The Agribusiness Teaching Center is the first and the flagship unit of ICARE that provides agribusiness education to achieve sustainable entrepreneurial activities in the food and agriculture sector in Armenia. It prepares agribusiness specialists at undergraduate and graduate levels, armed with broad economic, marketing, and managerial skills, up-to-date communication abilities, and excellent knowledge of English. These skills make ATC graduates competitive in the growing regional agribusiness sector. The curriculum is Western-structured, based on the undergraduate (Agricultural Economics) and graduate (Master of Agribusiness) curricula of Texas A&M University. Courses are taught in English by American and Armenian instructors.
Agribusiness Teaching Center, as an academic program, was started in 2000 as a collaborative effort between Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) and Texas A&M University, with financial and technical support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). ATC was established to run the Undergraduate Agribusiness (UAB) program. Professors from universities in the United States joined to incorporate and teach a Western-structured curriculum. In 2002 the first class of 28 students graduated from ATC and received State Diplomas of Economics from ANAU and Certificates from Texas A&M University. In 2013, ATC was named the best ANAU Department at the 7th Annual ANAU Golden Ear Awards.
In 2005, the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) was established by Texas A&M University as a collaborative effort between ANAU, Texas A&M, and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
The Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program was launched at ICARE in 2010. The MAB is a professional degree program focused on the agribusiness sector with an emphasis on combining economic, business analysis, and quantitative methods for managerial decision-making. In 2012, the first MAB class of 14 students graduated and received a Masters Degree in Economics from ANAU and a Graduate Certificate from Texas A&M University.
In 2011, an academic program review of ICARE was conducted by professors from the U.S. and Australia. Team members from Texas A&M University, the University of Queensland (Australia), Michigan State University, and the University of Florida reported that ATC has a unique and extraordinary agribusiness education program that serves the needs of many stakeholders in Armenia with an internationally competitive academic program.
A videoconferencing classroom was established in 2012 as a contribution from Viva-Cell MTS, an Armenian telecommunication company, to provide students an efficient platform for learning from international professors.
In 2014, at an Armenia-US Partnership in Agriculture workshop, ICARE was recognized as an internationally competitive agribusiness education and research center and among the most successful results of US-Armenian cooperation. Also in 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Armenian National Agrarian University, Virginia Tech and ICARE to promote academic, personnel, and cultural exchange between these institutions under the framework of the USAID-supported InnovATE/Armenia project. The five-year (2015-2019) cooperation includes empowering ICARE as a model agribusiness education and research center.
EVN Wine Academy
The EVN Wine Academy, a joint initiative between ICARE and Geisenheim University, Germany, was launched, through the financial support from GIZ. The first cohort of students was admitted in October 2014. EVN offers an 18-month English-language professional certificate program in Enology and Wine Business for prospective and practicing wine technologists and entrepreneurs as well as short courses for wine enthusiasts. The program empowers its students the latest knowledge from the global wine industry.
2015 was marked with triple anniversaries: we celebrated the 15th anniversary of ATC, the 10th anniversary of ICARE, and the 1st anniversary of EVN Wine Academy.
Greenhouse Crop Production and Management & Food Safety Systems Management (FSSM)
In January 2017, ICARE launched a pioneer Food Safety Systems Management (FSSM) course through the USAID-funded InnovATE/Armenia project. This innovative program was taught by Dr. Joe Marcy, Virginia Tech University and Dr. Catherine Cutter and Dr. Siroj Pokharel, Penn State University. The senior undergraduate class of ICARE received Certificates of Completion from Penn State and Virginia Tech handed over by the Armenian Minister of Agriculture.
In February 2018, ICARE launched its 8-month Greenhouse Crop Production and Management innovative educational program to meet the unprecedented demand in specialists in the Armenian greenhouse industry that plays a significant role in the nation’s agriculture. 19 participants were selected as a result of very tough competition. They are trained not only in modern plant cultivation techniques but also will be well aware of marketing and management best practices. The curriculum was developed based on the experience and best practices of world-class international universities.
Dr. Dunn, Texas A&M University, took his assignment as the Education Coordinator with the US Department of Agriculture Marketing Assistance Project in 1999. He knew at the very beginning that the best way for USDA MAP to assist Armenia in education is to actually establish and run a western-style education structure within the Armenian Agricultural Academy (now the Armenian National Agrarian University). He soon enjoyed the understanding and the support by the Director of the USDA MAP, Dr. Bill Miller, as well as the moral and organizational support by the Rector of the Academy, Prof. Arshaluys Tarverdyan.
The Agribusiness Teaching Center was established in 2000. Seven years of Dr. Dunn’s professionalism, patience, loyalty, and hard work, along with the support and dedication from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Texas A&M, ANAU, and the colleagues from ATC, made ATC what it is now, a leading Western-structured agribusiness and marketing educational institution in the South Caucasus.
Towards the end of his more than successful mission as the Director of ATC, Dr. Dunn was awarded for Distinguished Service by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Norman Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture in recognition of excellence in international program development. The certificate verifying this recognition was handed to Dr. Dunn by John Nichols, Professor of Texas A&M, in Yerevan on June 4th. The Certificate says the award is presented to Dr. Dunn “for seven years of exemplary service to the people of the United States and Armenia in the establishment of the Agribusiness Teaching Center in the Armenian State Agrarian University, in the fostering of agribusiness industries in Armenia and the Caucasus Region through the development of society-ready graduates, in the establishment and growth of the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education, and in representation of the highest ideals in professional education for the future leaders of the agribusiness and the food industries”.
Dr. Dunn is also an Honorable Professor of ANAU.
Dr. Vardan Urutyan who helped Dr. Dunn to establish and develop ATC to today’s prospering western educational center was the most reliable fit and the good-hand choice to further Dr. Dunn’s tremendous success. Dr. Urutyan took charge as the Director of ICARE/ATC in September 2007 pursuant to the unanimous decision of the ICARE Board of Trustees.
Dr. Dunn occasionally returns to ATC to teach Marketing, Business Ethics and other courses to the current ATC student.