A professor's journey from a Kiva loan to a 'once in a lifetime' trip to Texas

Often when we think of education loans on Kiva, we  think of helping a student finish school and join the workforce. But Artur's story represents the other side of this coin. Artur is a university professor, and his Kiva loan was also an education loan - but one that enabled this teacher to provide a better learning experience to his students and to publish a book on conflict resolution.

Artur in his classroom

Currently a professor at the Yerevan State University in Armenia, Artur took out his first loan through Kiva's Field Partner SEF International in July of 2013. A loan of $1,475 from 36 lenders helped him pay for a printer, fax machine, projector and books for his conflict-resolution and private personal training sessions. Artur's deep interest in conflict resolution began because of Armenia's history, and the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. The training sessions give his students a chance to to move past theoretical knowledge and get practical training, and are an important source of income for Artur.  

Before reaching SEF International, Artur had requested a loan from local financial institutions several times. His loan requests were rejected every time because his business isn't registered as a formal business. Kiva’s unique patient capital and partnership with SEF International made Artur’s loan possible.

Artur and his students, back in 2013

By June 2015, Artur received his second loan. The $1,700 he received from 65 lenders enabled him to pay for printing of his book on conflict resolution and to cover further research costs, ensuring that his students could use the book on this subject for his course.  Having his book publised was a proud moment because "[it] is the only one of its kind, especially in Armenia," Artur said.

After publishing his book, Artur was invited to speak at the third annual Conflict Conference at the Moody College of The University of Texas at Austin. Held in April, 2016, this was Artur’s first time in the U.S.

“The Conflict Conference attendance gave me a tremendous opportunity to exchange scientific thought, to collaborate with high professionals...and gave an unprecedented opportunity for personal growth. The structure of University of Texas is admiring, the size of the building and the approach of university to students and to lecturers. Every condition is created for students’ professional growth and for improvement of professorial staff.”

Artur speaks at The Conflict Conference, University of Texas at Austin, 2016

Artur remains fascinated by conflict resolution and eagerly explains why he finds it so exciting. "The mystery of humans is always fascinating. The way we think, feel, desire and act… Our area (Armenia) has been in conflict for many years, and the fact enforced me to study social-psychological determination of interethnic conflicts since 2005, by taking into account the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. There was a need to consider the problem from a social-psychological viewpoint. My study showed that the foundation for these actions is especially Xenophobia...a threat not only to Caucasus, but also to the whole civilization.”

Artur also shared a message for the Kiva community. “I’m filled with gratitude and gracefulness. This was an amazing and surprising adventure for me, once in a lifetime. If you decide to support other participants, you can be sure that you will strengthen their belief in optimism, self-esteem and reinforce the confidence in their own business.”

If you wish to support an entrepreneur like Artur, make a loan today!

About the author

Diana Baule

Diana was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, where she graduated College with a Law Degree. After one year working with Constitutional Rights and Freedom of Speech in Brazil, she decided to move to the Bay Area. In San Francisco she graduated from Hult IBS with a Master’s degree in International Business. Diana then discovered a passion for online marketing and data analytics. While at Kiva, she wants to help all the entrepreneurs tell their stories, while driving even more people to Kiva.org. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and the empowerment of women, and hopes to learn tons about micro credit and community development. She also loves traveling to new places and collecting stories and laughter from across the globe!