Ruben Vardanyan is an Armenian-Russian business leader, social entrepreneur, and venture philanthropist. Together with his spouse, Veronika Zonabend, and partners in various countries, he invests in large-scale, multifaceted projects in the sphere of global education, the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, and solving humanitarian ... Learn More
Ruben Vardanyan is an Armenian-Russian business leader, social entrepreneur, and venture philanthropist. Together with his spouse, Veronika Zonabend, and partners in various countries, he invests in large-scale, multifaceted projects in the sphere of global education, the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, and solving humanitarian problems. A prominent financier, Ruben is known for both his commercial as well as his deep-reaching philanthropic projects that produce a chain of interconnected changes and create an ‘inclusive ecosystem’ which offers each individual the opportunity to develop and to create, nurturing new talent in the process. Among these projects are the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology, SKOLKOVO Business School in Russia and the United World College Dilijan in Armenia, programs for tourism and urban development, as well as the preservation of cultural and historical heritage in Armenia and abroad, commercial, research and educational projects connected with wealthcare and succession planning, socio-entrepreneurial projects aimed at professionalization of philanthropy, the ecological platform and many others.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ruben was part of a group that initiated a public discussion of the future of Russia and Armenia. Together with other professional managers, in 1999 he founded the “Club 2015” in Moscow, and in 2002, together with the American inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist of Armenian origin Noubar Afeyan and other partners, he launched the “Armenia-2020” project. Many of today’s development projects initiated by Ruben and his partners are a direct result of these two initiatives.
Ruben outlined his views on the world’s most pressing challenges and the ways to address them, as well as on the future of Armenia and Armenians in the manuscript “At the Crossroads” co-authored in partnership with Nuné Alekyan and with the participation of Noubar Afeyan. This paper gave a kick-start to the project “Armenia-2041” which aims to continue a large-scale public debate about the future of the country and the nation which was triggered back in 2002 within the framework of the “Armenia-2020” project. The targeted outcome of this debate is the design of a long-term development strategy until 2041. To conduct research and host discussions, Ruben and his partners co-founded Futures Studio, an independent non-profit organization, which includes an analytical unit and a discussion platform.
Ruben has received many awards, both in Russia and on the international stage, for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities. Among them are the AIB Presidential Award for contributions to education and the Common Ground Awards, which is awarded by the international nonprofit organization Search for Common Ground to honor outstanding accomplishments in conflict resolution, negotiation, community building, and peace building. In 2001, Fortune magazine included him in the list of “25 rising stars of the new generation,” and the World Economic Forum named him one of the “100 global leaders of tomorrow.” Ruben is a holder of the orders of St. Gregory the Illuminator (the highest award of the Armenian Apostolic Church) and St. Mesrop Mashtots, awarded to him in recognition of many contributions to defending Armenia’s national interests and extensive and productive work for the country’s benefit.