Harout Bronozian: His Perspective on the Role of AUA in Bridging the Diaspora with Armenia

Harout Bronozian is a successful entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. Born in Lebanon in 1950, he has lived in different continents, forging his unique path to success ultimately helping himself with a cure for his ailment and benefiting humanity. 

Bronozian’s ancestry goes back to Cilicia in Turkey, with both parents born there but moved to Syria at an early age and subsequently to Beirut, where Harout grew up. He attended AGBU elementary and secondary schools. After graduating from high school, he studied at the American University of Beirut where he earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry. His subsequent journey of building a strong career took him to the United Kingdom and the United States, where he studied and earned graduate degrees in petrochemical, chemical, and environmental engineering. He worked in Saudi Arabia for five years in water, wastewater, and sewage treatment projects before launching a successful private enterprise in environmental consulting, HB Environmental Engineers, Inc., dealing with water, wastewater, and industrial wastewater treatment.  

In the year 2000, he started an entrepreneurial new venture that literally sprouted from his constant search for a remedy for his severe stomach and digestive ailments. Having spent too much money and time seeing different doctors to no avail, he took on his own research to come up with a probiotic formulation, which consequently served as the catalyst to establish his company, Custom Probiotics, Inc. “I took on my health issue and converted it to a viable solution. People challenged with problems should never give up and should always try to find solutions. In my case, there was no other choice — when you’re pushed to a corner, you start thinking of ways to get out. Much like people in the face of the current state of affairs in Lebanon or in Armenia, we feel cornered and must do something to rectify the situation — we have to get creative,” he explains. 

Bronozian expounds on these thoughts offering advice to AUA students, asserting them that knowledge is power. While educational institutions do provide a platform and direction for youth to grow, to gain knowledge, it is equally important for students to supplement what they have learned through a continued quest for truth. Continuous learning will reinforce the knowledge they have acquired until they find the right path for themselves. “Knowledge is the best investment in your future and nobody can take it away from you,” he says.  

Bronozian commends the AUA visionary founders and subsequent leadership  for being able to realize the AUA system of education, which is serving as a model that will continue to influence and improve the quality of higher education throughout Armenia.

Considering the challenges Armenia has faced and continues to do so, Bronozian stresses how important it is for the country to be able to retain its young talent and cultivate an environment conducive to growth and success. Wherever AUA alumni may reside and despite geographical distances, “it’s important for them to support AUA as well as champion other development projects, and also consider repatriation to Armenia, which will bring forth positive change,” Bronozian advocates. He continues his counsel adding that it is equally important for the country to focus on the quality of higher education at all universities in Armenia to graduate informed and responsible citizens who will work together and collaborate for accomplishing different initiatives that create public value. Such cooperation with the Diaspora is essential. 

Bronozian also underscores the importance of the Armenian diaspora’s role in engaging in different projects, calling on professionals to share their expertise to benefit Armenia. “Everyone has their own specialty, and after a certain age, with a certain level of personal maturity, experience, and wealth, one can transfer significant knowledge, technology, and resources to Armenia. But building a strong Diaspora-Armenia relationship should flow naturally. In that process, AUA plays a prominent and supportive bridging role.”  

With the establishment of the Harout Bronozian Scholarship, he has chosen to directly support AUA students majoring in business and political science. He is hopeful that AUA students will become catalysts in discovering innovative solutions for building a stronger economy and military, improving diplomatic ties, and developing new policies that would promote population growth and facilitate repatriation to attain a more sustainable Armenia.