27 June 2016
Panel Discussion moderated by AUA Professor Gregory Areshian
Parallels Between Armenia And Israel: Reflections on the Current Discourse in Armenia.
Should Armenia Be Like Israel, If Yes, Then How? And What Does It Mean to Be Like Israel?

It has become a popular discourse in Armenia via various media outlets and everyday conversations claiming that Armenia should follow the model of Israel. The discussion is aimed to contribute the common discourse (stated above) with a critical analysis on whether these parallels can be drawn, and examine the possibilities of how Armenians can follow the Israeli model in various ways.

About the panelists:
Nancy Kricorian
 – Novelist, poet, and social justice activist. Serves on the Executive Committee of the Armenia Tree Project. Member of the PEN American Center.

Markar Melkonian – Philosophy professor and a non-fiction writer. Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Alvina Hovhannisyan – Assistant professor at the Yerevan State University. PhD. in Arabic philology from Yerevan State University.
Harutyun Marutyan – Leading research fellow at National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. Visiting professor of anthropology at the Yerevan State University. 

01 March 2016
Guest Lecture: Looking at an International Financial Institution Through a Political Economy Lens:
How Development Banks Function and What Role – if any? – Political Economy Plays in Their Mission, Mandate, and Operations
Guest Speaker: Laura E. Bailey, Armenia Country Manager, World Bank

The international financial institutions that support economic development – global ones like the World Bank as well as regional banks like ADB, EIB, EDB/EFSD, EBRD, KfW – have missions like “reduce poverty” and “support economic growth” that are apolitical, but they exist in a world of nation-states where politics, or at least political economy, is central. Our discussion will use the example of one of these development banks – The World Bank – to explore the intersection of non-political economic development goals and global political dynamics. Question of interest may include: Who owns the world bank? How does the WB establish and apply factors and criteria to make decisions? How does politics play in the decision-making process? Does the recipient country’s performance matter and to what extent? Does the country’s institutional capacity make a difference?

18 February 2016
Guest Lecture: 
Community Consolidation and Local Democracy: Reform in Armenia and European Experience
Guest Speakers
Pawel Swianiewicz, Professor, Head of Department of Local Development and Policy, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, Adviser to the President of Poland
Tony Levitas, Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University

Armenia is in the midst of ambitious and far-going local government reform. In 2015 Government of Armenia started territorial administrative reform (TARA), assuming consolidation of small and financially weak communities into larger units. During local referenda in May 2015, population of 22 communities in three consolidating clusters expressed willingness to merge their municipalities. Last Sunday voters in three consolidated communities have elected their mayors and councils. The reform will roll over to about 11 new consolidation clusters around the country. After this pilot phase of the reform is accomplished, government will undertake the final phase of the reform in the next years. Along with consolidation of communities it is planned to expand the local government powers, delegating them with new competencies. Having in mind the scope of the reform and possible impact on many other sectors of public administration and economy, it is extremely important to consider the experience of other countries, which already passed this path.