Students navigate through their personal learning plans via TUMO World, a special learning interface that prepares them for hands-on practice. Intensive workshops, guest lectures and community events give members a chance to apply their knowledge and skills to the world around them. We aspire to motivate this generation to learn, and encourage them to create new possibilities for themselves!
Our flagship center sits at the end of Yerevan's Tumanyan Park named for the Armenian children's author and advocate, Hovhannes Tumanyan. Tumanyan Park—known to many as "Tumo"—inspired the name for a program dedicated to enriching and educating children.
TUMO was born from the imagination of Sam and Sylva Simonian. Born and raised in Beirut, the Simonians moved to the United States as teenagers. Sam enrolled in the engineering program at the University of Texas at Arlington and went on to co-found the 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. As such, The Simonian Foundation fully funds the TUMO Center in Yerevan, its programs, the adjoining plaza, and the revitalization of Tumanyan Park. Sam and Sylva are intimately involved at TUMO, with Sam lending his expertise on technology and its economic impact and Sylva contributing to the center's engagement with the environment and the program's unique curriculum.
There are currently four TUMO locations throughout Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. In the summer of 2011, the Simonian Educational Foundation unveiled its first center in Armenia's capital, Yerevan. With the support of the Central Bank of Armenia, TUMO opened its second center in Dilijan, Armenia in 2013. In partnership with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) the center has expanded to two critical locations: Gyumri, Armenia and Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. To be part of the movement write to us at email@example.com.
Good question! The students work with two types of instructors. The first are TUMO staff members who teach the permanent and regularly scheduled workshops. The second are those who are invited on a short-term basis to teach provisional workshops. This system assures that students receive the benefits of regularly scheduled lessons while also taking advantage of the constant variation and new opportunities offered by the ad-hoc workshops.
Yes! We are always looking for experienced professionals to work with. If you are energetic and passionate about your field and want to work with some of Armenia's most motivated teens, please fill out a form and let's get started!
If you're between the ages of 12 and 18, you can be a TUMO student! Seriously. That's it. You will need (1) a parent or guardian with you when you register (2) both your guardian and your birth certificate or passport. At registration, you'll be asked to make a one-time deposit of 10,000 AMD that will be returned upon graduation. Considerations can be made regarding this deposit, please contact us for further assistance.
TUMO does not have a membership fee. It is free of charge for all! At registration, you'll be asked to make a one-time deposit of 10,000 AMD that will be returned upon graduation or leave of the program.Considerations can be made regarding this deposit, please contact us for further assistance.
Yes! With much success, we've launched an initiative called Camp TUMO! Camp TUMO is a summer program that invites students from around the globe to come to Yerevan and take part in a jam-packed experience filled with education and fun. Teens are given the opportunity to take part in TUMO's learning system while immersing themselves in a new culture through guided tours and excursions. For more information write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TUMO does not issue diplomas upon graduation. However, we help students develop a portfolio chockfull of all the projects and various workshops they've participated in. When they leave the center, we want them to be able not just to talk about their skills, but to also show them.
Call us at (+37410) 398 413 ext. 2. Please leave your full name, age, and phone number and we will call you back with a good time to come in and register. We look forward to meeting you!
Of course! TUMO visiting hours are from 4 to 5 pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. To schedule a tour please fill out this request form OR send us a brief email. Please make sure that emails are sent 1 to 2 weeks before your preferred tour date.
Please be sure to include the following information in your email
We hope to see you soon!
Armenia is one of the few places in the world where you can visit a centuries-old monastery and attend a rock concert all in one day. The energy is always high, the food is rich, the nightlife is vibrant and the people are warm and friendly. Hey, if Armenia can make Kanye smile, it has got to be special.
Halabyan 16, Yerevan, Armenia
+374 010 398413
May 27, 2016
On any given day and at any given TUMO center, hundreds of people pass through the TUMO world. But even in this mass of people, it would be impossible to miss TUMO Gyumri coach Haykuhi Hovhannisyan. You see, Haykuhi’s big and vibrant personality is matched only by her big and vibrant hair. However, her luscious locks are just one aspect of Haykuhi’s unique character.
Despite working at TUMO Gyumri since its opening last September, she knew well before that she wanted to work with students. It was after gaining experience as a summer camp counselor that she realized she enjoyed spending time mentoring teens. So naturally, after seeing the announcement for a TUMO learning coach position, she applied. And as far as we know, she’s never regretted that decision! “Here, not only do I have the opportunity to learn as I’m working, but I also get to turn around and teach what I’ve learned.”
Haykuhi’s currently studying economics in school, but harbors a love for photography and music. “I’ve always had the desire to learn more about music, but unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to do so just yet.” Fortunately, the same can’t be said about her other hobby: tennis. For Haykuhi, tennis is much more than just a way to get fit. “Tennis is an art form. It lends both your body and soul a kind of beauty and I love that.”
To some, calling tennis an art form may seem a bit of a stretch, but it falls perfectly with Haykuhi’s overall attitude toward life. “I’m abnormally optimistic to the point where people have told me they think I’ve just got my head in the clouds.” But she’s not fazed by the haters and rightfully so. “It just seems so plain to me. Things are always going to turn out well and get better.”
FUN FACT: Haykuhi is an anomaly among the TUMO staff in that she strongly dislikes watching movies and considers time spent watching them time lost. In fact, she’s only ever sat through a handful of movies.
May 24, 2016
TUMO's best and brightest were featured at TUMO Portfolio on May 20th. Running concurrently at Yerevan, Dilijan, Gyumri and Stepanakert, the event showcased six months of TUMOian efforts. Friends, family and reporters got to check out the results from a variety of workshops. 3D Modeling, Programming, Calligraphy and the Aurora prize design were but a few of the ones featured.
May 18, 2016
One of our favorite PR mavens, Jackie Abramian, spent two weeks at TUMO Gyumri working with the students to establish TUMO News at the center. The teens learned all about marketing, public relations, advertising and how to communicate through different avenues of social media. As a result of all their hard work, TUMO Gyumri now has its own TUMO News team made up of eager and enthusiastic teens ready to take on the challenge of reporting on daily center life!
P.S. You may notice the balloons in the pictures. It was Jackie's last day and the students wanted to show their appreciation for their awesome lab leader!
May 17, 2016
One of our favorite photographers has returned to TUMO! That’s right, world-renowned photojournalist Scout Tufankjian, who first taught at TUMO Yerevan in 2013, is back and this time she’s in Stepanakert.
TUMO is partnering with the HALO Trust to raise awareness of the organization’s humanitarian work in clearing landmines and explosives from Nagorno-Karabakh as well as teach students the fundamentals of documentary photography.
During the lab, the students will create photo-stories highlighting the beautiful landscape, day-to-day life and charming people of Karabakh. The stories will focus primarily on the areas cleared by HALO, the local people who have benefited from the organization’s work and the dedicated staff involved in making Karabakh a safer place for its residents. By the end of the lab, the students will have produced a portfolio of Karabakh photo-stories. The best works will be exhibited further in Armenia and the US.
Scout couldn’t contain her excitement after just the first day of the lab, commenting, “I am beyond thrilled to be back in Karabakh and at TUMO again! The most recent conflict has really underscored the importance of HALO’s work in making sure that the communities of Karabakh are safe, as well as how critical it is to show the world what an amazing place this is. I’m really excited to be working with such great and enthusiastic students to bring these two things into focus. I can't wait to see what they produce!”
The workshop kicked off on the 12th and will run until May 21st. On Thursday, May 19 at 8:00 pm, Scout will be giving a talk on her experience photographing for her book There is Only the Earth: Images from the Armenian Diaspora Project. The lecture will be at the TUMO center in Stepanakert (Knunyantsneri 2). It is free and open to the public.
The HALO Trust is a global humanitarian mine clearance NGO which has been working to clear landmines, cluster munitions and other explosives in Karabakh since 2000. It has cleared 85% of the minefields and is now raising funds to finish the job. An extremely generous anonymous donor who has pledged to match the funds raised for the clearance of mines in Karabakh. For more information, go to www.halotrust.org/nagornokarabakh
May 16, 2016
At some point or another, we’ve all thought, “Boy, if I could design my own toys, I would make some incredible stuff.” (C’mon you can admit it.) Unfortunately, there aren’t too many toy developers in the world. Fortunately, one of them is Nickelodeon toy designer, Derek Rippe. Derek is currently in Yerevan and has been spending a large chunk of his day at TUMO teaching students all the intricacies involved in his line of work.
This is Derek’s first time in Armenia, and he’s joined us all the way from Brooklyn. However, the biggest culture shock he’s had so far is the fact that, well, he hasn’t had one. He’s noticed a lot fewer differences than he’d expected. “When I’m walking down the streets of Yerevan, sometimes I feel like I’m in New York. Even the style and restaurants are similar…but there is one thing that was entirely unexpected for me; I’ve never seen this many respectful and hard-working students who genuinely love to learn and are completely dedicated to doing so.”
Having been in the field for 15 years and having turned many of our beloved Nickelodeon characters into stuffed realities, Derek’s expertise is without a doubt invaluable. “Good toy design must be equal parts creativity and practicality. You have to have a big imagination as well as an understanding of material items, engineering and mechanics.” With each session, our TUMOians are delving deeper and deeper into these facets. After all, they’re expected to develop and produce their own plush toy by the end of the three weeks.
“I really love my work and I consider myself very lucky because of that, but I have to say that what I’m doing right now at TUMO is among the highlights of my professional career.” Derek’s experience here could possibly have led to his own personal “aha” moment. “To be honest, I never considered teaching before I came to TUMO, but now I want to stay longer. The more I spend time working with my group, the more I want to spend time working with my group.” The feeling is mutual!
May 13, 2016
They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. The saying especially holds true in the fashion world where designers spend years trying to get their creations onto the elusive runway at New York Fashion Week. For fashion designer and new learning lab leader Vicken Derderian, making it to New York Fashion Week is the pinnacle of greatness; a pinnacle he’s already reached. Oh, and did we mention he showed his thesis project while he was still a student? (Of course we didn’t. That was rhetorical!) But right now, it’s all about his students.
Over the next few months, Vicken will be bringing his budding fashionistas(os) back to the basics. Before they can create fabulous details, they must know how to create fabulous frocks. However the final student collection will be no parade of little black dresses, Vicken warns. “The lbd has been done, many times. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but I do want them to move away from that and to start focusing on the fabric and the handiwork and to cultivate an appreciation for the hands-on construction process as well.”
The more theoretical goal of the lab is to deconstruct Armenian fashion, what it is and where it’s going. “We’re at a really interesting time right now where Armenians are reinventing Armenian style and fashion and I want them to be a part of that conversation. They’re bringing in examples of what it means to be Armenian to them and what inspires them and they’re translating that to create their designs.” Besides looking critically at what it means to be Armenian, the students will also be exposed to international designers such as Balenciaga, Dior and Yamamoto to get a better understanding of the global world of fashion and how they can play a role in it.
The lab will culminate with the students bringing their designs to life, construction and all. But behind every carefully placed bead, seam and button will be the students’ own unique viewpoint. And really, that’s the whole point. “It’s about the quality, having a point of view. You can’t define what that is in just one class, but I think they’ll eventually get there. You have to have a point of view, you have to say something with your designs. If you’re not saying something, then companies like Zara, H&M and Forever 21 will eat you alive.”
Looking forward to seeing these TUMOian designs grace the Halabyan runway soon.
May 10, 2016
Each of the four hundred students at TUMO Dilijan is unique. They vary in appearance, age, interests and personalities, but among these four hundred, there are two boys who will make you do a double take. That's because Edmon and Samvel Hovhannisyan are identical twins. However, our fun little game of finding similarities between the two ended abruptly after one question in particular.
“Boys, is it true that twins frequently have the same thoughts and interests?”
At the same time, and with the same level of confidence, the two boys answered:
These two are always competing against one another to see who can complete the most activities in one day, but they always make sure to be together when navigating through their TUMO experience. Edmon loves animation while Samvel is interested in game development. But when the time comes to participate in a learning lab, they go to each one together. “Right now, we are in the second level of motion graphics. The prompt is to recreate the intro for our favorite films. Obviously, both of us chose martial arts films.”
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where their interests and hobbies ends. Outside of school and TUMO, the boys play football, draw and dabble in chess. Well, actually, dabble might not be the best word to describe it. The two 13-year-olds are already participating in international competitions and have reached levels of, according to them, “almost mastery.” The brothers have ambitious plans for the future. Samvel is practicing to become a professional soccer player and aims to play on any of the European teams. Edmon’s goal is to become a lawyer defending developing countries around the world.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
May 06, 2016
It may be near impossible for these two to be in close proximity to each other without letting a joke or sarcastic comment (often directed towards the other) slip. If you’re lucky you’ll be treated to an impromptu concert as one will break out into song and the other quickly follows, complete with hand gestures and choreography. Lilit Tovmasyan and Samvel Berkibekyan are the people behind every TUMO-related item you read, like, comment on and share. The two feed off of each other’s energy and humor, but don’t let their levity fool you. When they do what they do, nobody does it better.
23-year-old Lilit is a former TUMOian who was hired two years after she first registered. She works in both the visual and literary fields as a photographer and a writer and her interests outside of the TUMOsphere reflect just that. “I love poetry. It gives you the chance to communicate your thoughts in an abstract way, free of restriction. Poetry no longer needs to be sweet or beautiful; it can be raw, rough.” But her love of the written word is dwarfed only by her love of photography. “A photo, a good photo, has to communicate a message, have the right composition, the right color – all in one shot! It may look like photography is just one click of a button, but it can take years for someone to take that kind of shot. Oh, but when you do, it’s amazing.”
Sam was enrolled on the first day of registration at TUMO Yerevan.He started September 2, 2011, and exactly two years later, as a photographer for TUMO. (We can’t make this stuff up, people.) Although he began his career with a focus on fashion photography after working at ArmenPress, he was hooked on photojournalism. Aside from his keen eye for the right shot, he also has a passion for music, primarily hip hop.
And when these two are together?
“If one of us doesn’t come into work,” Sam explains, “something just feels missing.”
“Sam? He’s my partner in crime. He’s managed to keep this fun quality about him while being as reliable as an adult, without the accompanying cynicism. One minute we can be laughing about the most inane thing together and the next we’re serious and working.” And work they do. Together, they've come up with all of the iconic TUMO images that you love, from that elusive Kanye smile to the unique characteristics of our own rockstar students.
But it wasn’t always warm and fuzzy. “I was hired as photographer and then two months later she was hired as another photographer. She’d take and use my camera all the time. I didn’t know her name and I didn’t want to know it.” But as time progressed and they began helping each other at work, they grew close and became inseparable. Although they work together, their styles are actually quite different.
“He is much more structural in his approach to photography while I am more emotional in my process.”
“My style is more like a photojournalist and she’s more artistic. Also, I like shooting with more light and she prefers it to be darker.”
Regardless of their differing styles, they still complement each other. “You don’t pick your coworkers, they just sort of get thrown at you, even people who don’t necessarily like you right off the bat,” Lilit muses with a grin. “But slowly, inch by inch, they enter your life and grow to occupy such a space there that you can’t imagine your life without them.”
Seems like the feeling is mutual.
“Lilit? I like her. But I’d never actually tell her that.”
Lilit’s Facebook name used to be “Lilit Lennon” because of her love of John. And Sam’s used to be “Sammy Carter” ala the Lil’ Wayne/Jay Z collab. This was not coordinated. Once again, we cannot make this stuff up.
May 06, 2016
The learning lab led by TUMO’s Natacha Kalfayan at the TUMO community center is accepting new participants. The TUMOians and the community members are creating the furniture of their dreams and are collecting local, old and worn pieces to make that happen. By the way, the lab is creating a new group. If you want to participate, apply at TUMO Dilijan if you’re a student or at the Dilijan community center (Miasnikyan 61) if you aren’t.
May 04, 2016
Why do we set boundaries on land, ideas or imaginations? 16-year-old Anahit Mkrtchyn already knows that boundaries are set to limit things, but she has no intention of letting them stop her.
• When I came to TUMO the first time…
It was the first Tuesday in December of 2011, right when I had turned twelve. That’s when everything changed: I now had access to the best experts, the best workshops and the space to develop myself independently. I knew immediately that I could find everything in the world within these walls, everything but a routine way of thinking.
Name a workshop and I’ve participated in it: Hack the TUMO Fountains, filmmaking, graphic design, photography, creative writing, calligraphy, motion graphics, branding and even the recent Aurora project. It was during that workshop that our leader, Ayman Hassan, turned all of our previous ideas about creative work upside down. We were playing around with ideas and the experimentation happened to yield beautiful results. It was unbelievable…but at the same time it wasn’t. It’s also not surprising that after each workshop, that one becomes my new favorite. While the impact from each workshop is still fresh in my mind, I become inspired. Then, I participate in a new workshop and each time I get more and more impressed. But the thing that leaves the biggest impression on me is being a member of a creative team.
• Taking responsibility for one’s own free will
Last year, I decided I wanted to spend some time volunteering to establish ties with my community. But aside from that, I wanted my day-to-day to be less uniform and at the same time, be of use. It’s true, I’m young and I still have to work hard to make a big impact, but I want to do something that corresponds to my capabilities. In the end, I finally found the right organization, Development NGO, that fits perfectly within my realm of interests. Right now we are working to integrate schools into the local community life. We’ve held various public lectures and organized events for the neighborhood.
• Balancing culture and individual identity
Being Armenian and/or growing up in Armenia seem to automatically add Armenian symbols to our work. The environment and the people create a feeling in me that’s all mine. But regardless of how much I love Armenian ornamental art, it’s not mandatory that I include them in my work to feel Armenian or say my work is Armenian.
• Extreme arts
In Armenia, being involved in intellectual work is almost like playing an extreme sport. Yes, we have centuries of culture to draw upon, but at the same time, everything is new; the path is a bit bumpy. But all that does is give me the opportunity to think, explore and make that bumpy path a little smoother. I really want to receive an international education, interact with different cultures and experience new things, and bring all that international experience to Armenia in order to benefit my country.
• Next stop, UWC Dilijan
I saw the UWC presentation at Dilijan two years ago. It was then that I decided that I would one day be admitted. To be honest, I didn’t believe that I would get in. The ideas they asked me about during the admission process, the very ones that I guess got me into the school, were all because of TUMO; ideas such as what education and motivation are to me. Actually, the first time I really felt motivated was at TUMO.
• The most important thing is inspiration
And to be alone. At the very beginning, at the start of any idea formation process, you must be alone. Particularly at night, when everything in my room is very neatly organized; nothing can distract or bother me. Later on, group discussion and teamwork will help me develop an idea.
The best of the best, according to Anahit
Favorite book: Crime and Punishment. In general, the book should be thick and realistic.
Favorite type of music: Rock. Really, really, really rock. Crazy, emotional and vibrant.
Favorite band: The Beatles. This love was born in her from a young age.