Participants of the 10-day school were graduates of higher educational institutions and students of Master programs, journalists, young scientists, researchers, activists of civic initiatives and political movements.

Sixth Evening DemSchool alumni with AIISA team Photo: Sixth Evening DemSchool alumni with AIISA team

Evening classes of the sixth DemSchool were held at the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs (AIISA) in the period of 15-28 June, 2016, organized in partnership with National Endowment for Democracy (NED) within their joint program.

Participants of the 10-day school were graduates of higher educational institutions and students of Master programs, journalists, young scientists, researchers, activists of civic initiatives and political movements.

Day 1: June 15

Styopa Safaryan, AIISA founder, introduced the program and speakers of the 10-day school, which were adapted to the needs enshrined in the applications of the participants.

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AIISA expert Armen Vardanyan introduced features inherent to democracy from the standpoint of comparative analysis. The speaker reasoned privileges of democratic regimes in comparison with authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

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Then lively discussion was developed on democracy and security, during which the participants assessed major challenges to Armenia’s security and democracy, as well as highlighted urgency for the country’s full democratization in order to productively meet them.

Day 2: June 16

Day’s speaker was Styopa Safaryan, AIISA founder, who touched upon interrelations of democracy, domestic and foreign policies.

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Together with the participants S.Safaryan thoroughly reflected to evolution of the notion of security, focusing on its wider concept, where human rights, economic development, sovereign international relations and military security are interrelated components of one agenda.

The practical workshop was devoted to distinguishing security norms, values, functions, institutes and specialized community in the political system, as well as security objects.

Day 3: June 17

Ruben Mehrabyan, AIISA associate fellow, delivered a lecture on “Eurasian Economic Union (EEU): Armenia’s membership and its political implications.”

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The speaker provided detailed information on political purposes of the EEU foundation, developments preceding, accompanying and following Armenia’s membership, touched upon main challenges, appeared for Armenia’s sovereignty. Under the light of the April four-day war Mehrabyan and the participants discussed wider range of issues referring to West-Russia, Turkey-Russia confrontation.

Day 4: June 20

Speaker of the day was Ashot Yeghiazaryan, AIISA associate fellow, Doctor of Economy, who introduced to the participants the economic perspective of processes in Eurasian region. Doctor Yeghiazaryan also touched upon EEU-EU confrontation, competition, economic policy led by Russia and its political targets, economic implications of Armenia’s membership to EEU. 

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The economist covered complex economic indices, in particular, main socio-economic indicators of EEU member countries for the period of January-December 2015 (in comparison with the respective period of the previous year), foreign trade turnover of EEU member countries for 2015, as well as volumes of external trade of EEU member countries throughout January-April 2016, volumes of mutual trade of EEU member countries for 2015 and etc.

Day 5: June 21

The school hosted Ashot Aleksanyan, PhD in political science, senior expert in the Center for European Studies of Yerevan State University, whose lecture was devoted to democracy level index and methodology of its calculation.

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Dr. Aleksanyan touched upon methodologies applied by well-known international organizations, and then introduced the approach, developed by experts of their center, by which they periodically assess the democracy level not only for Armenia, but other post-Soviet countries as well. Indices calculated for Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, as well as analysis of foreign and domestic factors impacting on them became a fertile material for the practical workshop.

Day 6: June 22

Speaker of the 6th day was David Shahnazaryan, head of “Concord” Political Research Center, politician. The speaker and the participants exchanged their views on developments in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Caucasus, attempting to assess the latter’s possible after-effect on Armenia.

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During the heated discussion the speaker also reflected to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the first war over the region, standpoints of three Armenian presidents on conflict settlement, as well as ongoing processes, their influence on Armenia’s internal and external developments.

Day 7: June 23

Syuzanna Barseghyan, AIISA associate fellow, presented methods of applied researches in social sciences, covering qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis, as well as their application possibilities.

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Theoretical knowledge provided through the lecture, was followed by practical workshop.

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Two groups formulated a research issue upon their preference, presenting their plan for its survey, research hypotheses and applied research tool after the group work. The workshop was concluded by Q&A and a debate.

Day 8: June 24

Day’s speaker was Daniel Ioannisyan, coordinator of the “Union of Informed Citizens,” who appeared with a presentation on “Public awareness on issues of foreign and domestic policies.” The speaker stressed public awareness as a crucial precondition for bringing Armenia’s sovereignty and public interest into the agenda of foreign and domestic policies.

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Experience of the organization was rather cognitive for doing small researches and raising public awareness towards foreign and domestic policies. The participants watched numerous animations prepared by the organization covering those topics, which became a subject for further discussion.

Day 9: June 27

Emma Begijanyan, AIISA associate fellow, provided in-depth analysis of Iran’s domestic and foreign policies, sustainability of normalization of its relations with the USA and the West in mid- and long-term perspectives.

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To diversify the country’s economy, to strengthen its independence and sovereignty level, and to seek new resources for security, Iranian dimension in Armenia’s foreign and domestic policies became a topic for extensive discussion. The participants had the opportunity to recognize and examine a wider field of Iran-Armenia shared interests, rather than it’s introduced or they were aware.

Day 10: June 28

Speaker of DemSchool’s last day was Gevorg Melikyan, AIISA associate fellow, political analyst. The political scientist touched upon “Russia-West confrontation and mutual threats.” The participants simulated Russia-West interests and confrontation through a role play, with two groups. 

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Another part of the lecture covered theses of main schools of international relations, which allow casting a more scientific glance at the world’s ongoing processes.

The lecture was followed with the certificate award ceremony of the sixth evening DemSchool. 

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AIISA founder Styopa Safaryan, members of the board of trustees Seda Safaryan and David Sanasaryan,  as well as AIISA experts Ofelya Amirkhanyan, Armen Vardanyan and Gevorg Melikyan attended the ceremony.

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Photo-history of the 6th DemSchool is available here:

Events team of the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs (AIISA)