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Migration Research in Our Spotlight

Internship Program
In December 2013, the Civilitas Foundation secured funding from the Open Society Foundation’s Think Tank Fund for research fellowship on an issue that is not only a priority area for Civilitas, but Armenia’s policy context in general. Armenia undergoes strong migration flows, mainly outbound migration, which receive most of public attention and concern with much less policy, programs and public involvement in in-migration facilitation, despite Armenia being a receiving country for refugees (mainly of Armenian descent) from Syria and Iraq.

Civilitas’s new research fellow, Irena Grigoryan focuses on in-migration regulations, policies and programs implemented in Armenia and identification of gaps therein; reintegration practices and incentives for return in Armenia; and international best practices for enhancing in-migration and reintegration in Armenia.

Irena, who is a graduate of the European Master Program in Migration and Intercultural Relations taught in 4 European countries (www.emmir.org), was selected to the OSF Think Tank Fund’s Young Professional Development Program through a double-phased competition. “Return is neither a secondary stage in the migration circle, nor a regular act of natural comeback to the origin country. It is a key integral stage in the migration process, but receives little attention in the research and policy levels. Therefore, in order to have a balanced picture, it is important to research, discuss and communicate the data about in-migration flows to the country.” Having this motivation in mind, Irena is conducting research that will result in a policy paper and public discussion on in-migration, and we hope that the recommendations of this paper will clarify and set new items on the Armenian migration policy agenda.

Civilitas is privileged that such fellowships also have input in CivilNet’s programs and products. This CivilMult, for example, has been partly supported by the Young Professional Development Program, featuring remittances sent to Armenia by labor migrants and how these numbers are corelated with global trends.

We believe that this fellowship will provide Irena with valuable guidance and hands-on experience in the field of migration and will make Civilitas’s migration policy deliberations visible and relevant.

Hosting interns and volunteers

Internship Program
Civilitas continues to host volunteers and interns. In February, 2014, Birthright Armenia connected two new enthusiastic volunteers – Arsen Akopyants and Alan Vahe Grigorian – with Civilitas.

Arsen was born and raised in Kislovodsk, Russia. He is a graduate of Saint Petersburg State University with a specialization in International Relations and has experience in PR and lecturing. “I think that it’s very important to protect human rights and democracy in Armenia, to offer alternative views on issues,” says Arsen, explaining his motivation to volunteer at Civilitas and to contribute to the Russia-related media products of CivilNet.

Alan Vahe Grigorian is from California. He recently obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics and is waiting to go to law school. Alan had been a Birthright volunteer in Armenia in 2013 and decided to volunteer at Civilitas because, “It offers a comprehensive opportunity to get acquainted with developments occurring in Armenia through various projects, reports and studies.” Alan will support CivilNet’s English language production crew in the coming few months.
We welcome our new volunteers and wish them an insightful experience at Civilitas.

Want to volunteer? Think about a 3 month stay at a central-Yerevan institution with excellent contacts and great outreach. Best of all, just working with our staff will give you language skills and insights hard to come by as a visitor.

Armenia 2013. A Year of Expectations and Surprises


This is the sixth year that the Civilitas Foundation publishes its annual report. We look back at the past year and attempt to assess and analyze Armenia’s foreign policy, domestic developments and trends, as well as the economic situation in the country – all within the context of a changing global and regional environment.

In a year with two elections – presidential and Yerevan municipal – hopes and expectations were high that this time, something would be different, and the elections would be perceived as legitimate, regardless of who came out on top. After all, in the absence of a strong opposition candidate, it was reasonable to expect that there would not be a need to utilize administrative resources to guarantee a re-election. This expectation was not met, but there was a surprise – the opposition candidate received more than one-third of the vote and that was sufficient for the public to want and expect a different outcome. It did not happen.

The international community, and Armenia’s own citizens, expected that Armenia would continue on the path it had chosen nearly two decades ago – to more deeply integrate within European institutions. Yet, at the last minute, in what could only be described as a surprise to all, Armenia’s president chose to take Armenia into the Russian-led Customs Union. The eternal question, Russia or the West, seemed to have found its answer. If in the past, Armenia had been able to sustain normal and pragmatic relations with all three geopolitical centers -- Moscow, Brussels and Washington -- and balance their interests to Armenia’s benefit, that was no longer to be expected. In the eyes of a surprised West, and an expectant Russia, Armenia was no longer a predictable and reliable partner.

In 2013, the poor and the unemployed expected some improvement in their lives. The president had promised seven percent growth. It was not a surprise that that goal was not achieved, nor was it a surprise that no one was held accountable.

Opinion polls show that, given the opportunity, hundreds of thousands of Armenians would leave Armenia. Official statistics confirm this. In the first nine months of 2013, more than 120,000 people left and have not returned. During the last six years, on the current government’s watch, every tenth citizen has left the country, either temporarily or forever.

There is no indication that, in the coming year, expectations ought to be different. There is no policy in place to decrease the levels of poverty or unemployment, or to try to halt emigration or encourage in-migration. Neither Armenia-Turkey relations nor the Karabakh conflict expect to be resolved. Relations with Georgia are not expected to markedly change. If there are surprises, they will be in the realm of domestic politics. More active civic engagement, the formation of a more resolute opposition, and a more varied set of demands of the authorities – these are the surprises many hope for.

Civilitas Blog

The Civilitas Community shares stories about daily challenges and successes. Today: Lost in Istanbul

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Inside Civilitas

A day by day look at the investigation by the National Security Service into Civilitas's financial and administrative work.

Civilitas Statement
National Security Service Statement
The Political Context
Transaction Summary

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Civilitas Library
The Civilitas Foundation Library -- a collection of political, historic and philosophical works -- open to all who need it. Do you want to donate a volume?
See the Civilitas Amazon wish list.
Our Projects
The main objective of the project is to support and strengthen the public libraries in a number of rural and urban communities in Armenia, away from the capital, in order to transform them into true centers of community life providing a number of services to the population.

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Civilitas Polls
With the support of Norwegian and German governments, a few months ago the Civilitas Foundation began to conduct polls throughout Armenia. The results of the polls will be made available to the media and will serve as the topic of public discussions.

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Civilitas Spotlight


What can be expected of or for Syria in the immediate future? Can there be justice without peace? Can there be peace without an accounting and without justice? What do Syrians want? What does the international community want?

The guests are

Nicholas Koumjian

International Criminal Law Attorney

Vartan Oskanian

Member of Parliament

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs


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Civil.am - your guide to civil society activity in Armenia - is a project of the Civilitas Foundation. Take a closer look to better understand what is already being done. Identify potential partners and cooperation possibilities. Support existing programs to increase efficiency. Encourage new programs to foster development.
Facts for Thought
Number of theater performances (1) and attendance (2) in Armenia
(1) (2)
2008 2,364 409,500
2009 2,443 367,800
2010 2,331 394,800
2011 2,707 458,900
Comments & Sources
Rural Development Program

A healthy civil society depends on self-reliant, economically secure citizens. Agriculture is an important economic sector. The Civilitas Foundation supports Armenia's farmers one family at a time, one village at a time to achieve sustainable growth and access to markets. Click here to read the reports written by our staff as they visit villages and talk to their residents.

Click for more on Economic Facilitation Program