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April 24 at Civilitas

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The Civilitas Foundation has two full days of programming for April 24. One is an all-day LIVE program on CivilNet.am. The other is a full day of film screenings at the Moscow Theater, in Yerevan.

Beginning at 1 pm and continuing until 9 pm, new films and old favorites will be screened, free of charge. The films include such new titles as I left my shoes in Istanbul as well as Barking Island. The full schedule of screenings at available here.

On April 24, beginning at noon Yerevan time (GMT +4) and continuing until 9 pm, CivilNet.am will broadcast interviews, reports, videos, from Yerevan and Istanbul.

The programming will include LIVE segments from Istanbul. At the beginning of the day, when there will be a gathering at HaydarPasa, the train station from which Armenian intellectuals were sent into the Turkish interior, on April 24. At the end of the day, just as North and South America are waking up, there will be a short memorial program in Istanbul's Taksim Square, commemorating the beginning of atrocities. The commemorations are organized by Turkish human rights organizations, and CivilNet will include interviews with them, LIVE.

CivilNet will also broadcast, of and on during the day, from Yerevan's Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial Monument, where people will be visiting all day and placing a flower at the eternal flame.

Throughout the day, in-studio guests, and others by SKYPE will speak about the continuing consequences of the Genocide. A few of the guests include Nanor Kebranian, Columbia University Professor and author of the Introduction to the recently published first volume of Hagop Oshagan's Remnants, Zaven Sargsyan, Director of Yerevan's Parajanov Museum, and a photographer who regularly visits and documents Armenian monuments in Eastern Turkey, Nazan Maksudyan of Istanbul Kemerburgaz University speaks about children in the Ottoman Empire; Theodore Bogosian, an American filmmaker whose AN ARMENIAN JOURNEY was the first time the topic was shown on American broadcast television, 25 years ago; George Aghjayan who publishes baptism records from Gesaria (Kayseri) up to April 1915, when all records stop. These are just a few of the guests. There will be many others.

Young people from Armenia, involved in visits to Moush, where they searched for Armenians still living in the old Armenian city, will also share their experiences. Reports from Turkey include a visit to the building that used to be Krikor Zohrab's home, before he was taken away on April 24, an inside look at the HaydarPasa train station, and other stories.

CivilNet's LIVE programming will begin the evening of April 23, when an candlelight march begins in the city and concludes at the Genocide Memorial. [All LIVE programming remains on the CivilNet site and can be viewed on demand, after the event.]

CivilNet.TV is a program of the non-profit Civilitas Foundation, based in Yerevan. CivilNet is alternative media that practices advocacy journalism. In less than 30 months of broadcast, CivilNet has produced 7,000 videos which have received nearly 9 million views. CivilNet broadcasts in Armenian and English.

 

Film Screenings on April 24th

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On April 24th from 13:00-22:00 the Civilitas Foundation will host a film program. Short and long-form documentaries and feature films by Armenian and non-Armenian directors concerning the Armenian Genocide and Armenia-Turkey relations will be screened at the Moscow cinema.

ENTRANCE IS FREE.

SEE LIST OF FILMS

13:00 Barking Island
13:20 Saroyanland
14:30 Don’t get lost children
15:15 Grigor Zohrap
15:25 Shishli Cemetery
16:40 Wealthy Past and Present
16:50 My Polis: Yasar Kurt
17:00 The Son of the Olive Merchant
18:30 Neighbors
19:45 I Left My Shoes in Istanbul
21:00 Screamers

 

CivilNet Winner of the “ArmNet 2013” Special Prize

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In the third year of the ArmNet awards CivilNet was awarded a special prize for “Advancing the Idea of Online Television in Armenia.” At the ceremony which took place on November 30, 2013, 12 websites won various awards.

CivilNet is a two-year-old operation with more than 6,000 videos about various aspects of Armenian life. CivilNet produces nearly two hours of content each day, and is focusing more and more on LIVE transmission of events, conferences and civil society activities. CivilNet’s videos have had more than seven million views in two years.

ArmNet is a yearly contest for Armenian websites and aims to recognize the year’s bests. It reviews all the changes, advancements and new features of the Internet world in Armenia. A jury composed of specialists chooses the year’s best Armenian sites in different categories.

This year ArmNet’s main theme was “Mobilization.” Orange’s marketing director Aram Mkrtchyan, in an interview with CivilNet, said, “The ArmNet awards are a special event in our country, because every year it reviews the situation of the Internet in Armenia. ArmNet is not only an award show, but also a conference where new trends and products of Internet life are discussed and very interesting ideas come about. This year’s ArmNet is different from the preceding ones, because this year we started talking a lot about mobilization of the internet. A lot of attention was given to mobile sites and their mobile apps.”

Armenian websites were nominated in 8 categories: Design and Practicality, Best Content, Technological Development, Breakthrough of the Year, Innovation, Best Start Up, Social Impact and the Grand Prix. Instead of awarding a website in the category for Social Impact, the prize was given to the “100 Dram” social movement because, this last summer, it was able to actively mobilize through the internet and stop the public transport rates from going up.

Other winners were www.ysu.am, the official website for Yerevan State University, in the category for Best Content; www.cult.am for Breakthrough of the Year, a site where you can find out the latest cultural events in Yerevan; www.betchili.com for Best Start Up, a social betting game with virtual currency based on real sport games; www.varwar.com for Technological Development, a site where you can create new or join available games; and www.imyerevan.com for Design and Practicality, an information and entertainment portal about Armenian reality. 360yerevan.am, a site that tells virtual stories of Yerevan, won the Grant Prix and the prize in the category for Innovation.
 

Party Debate on the Yerevan Municipal Elections

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event3The Civilitas Foundation will convene a debate between party representatives running for the Yerevan municipal council in order to promote a genuine political race and to fully cover the elections. The debate will take place on April 30th, 2pm at Moscow Cinema.

Municipal elections in Armenia are normally given less attention by the public and mass media than parliamentary or presidential elections, even though it is local decisions that directly affect citizens’ everyday lives. Because all mayors of Yerevan have been members of the ruling party at the time and have governed on the basis of being accountable to that party, not to voters, most citizens are only vaguely aware of the scope and capacity of the municipal body’s powers.

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Marathon of films on April 24

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931430_474712385931976_1392297220_n-1On April 24, Civilitas has joined with the Moscow Theater (Abovyan St. 14) to offer a six hour marathon of films produced over the last 20 years on the very important topic of genocide awareness and recognition. Admission is free. Films are screened in their original language.
The Schedule of the Screenings:

15:00 Barking Island
15:20 Uncle Garabet
15:45 An Armenian Journey
16:45 Whispering memories
17:35 Talking pictures
18:35 Ravished Armenia
19:05 Screamers
20:50 Bolis
21:15 Armin Wegner. The Armenian Genocide Photographer
 

CIVILITAS PRESS CONFERENCE, MARCH 27, 2013

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On 27 March, a press conference was held at the Civilitas Foundation, chaired by Civilitas Director Salpi Ghazarian and attorney Vahe Grigoryan. Also participating were US Ambassador John Heffern, German Ambassador Reiner Morell, Polish Ambassador Zdzislaw Raczynski, Swiss Ambassador Konstantin Obolensky, Norwegian Honorary Consul Timothy Straight and EU representative Andrej Didenko.

Below is an abbreviated transcript of the press conference.

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Turkish Views on the Karabakh Conflict

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On the occasion of the Turkish publication of Civilitas analyst Tatul Hakobyan’s historical retrospective, GREEN AND BLACK, NEITHER WAR NOR PEACE, A history of the Karabakh conflict, the Civilitas Foundation held a public forum on Tuesday, January 22, in Yerevan.

Together with Tatul Hakobyan, Civilitas had invited Turkish publisher, head of the Belge Publishing House, to talk about the perception of the Karabakh issue in Turkey. Hakobyan’s book is the first book to be published in Turkey, in Turkish, about the Karabakh conflict – its roots, the human toll and the parallel military and political processes.

Zarakolu was quick to point out that Turkish society is generally unaware and uninformed about Armenia and Armenians generally. He said that is even more true of the Karabakh issue, which is something that is part of the nationalist discourse, which is clearly advocating Azerbaijan’s side.  Zarakolu also blamed successive Turkish governments for so blatantly taking Baku’s side in the conflict, and thus contributing to the stalemate.

Tatul Hakobyan described the century-long connection between Turkey and Azerbaijan, whose first republic in 1918-1920 was supported by Turkey’s Kemalist forces. He said that solidarity would continue and Turkey would continue to use Azerbaijan as a reason to delay normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations. He also said that underlying all Turkish statements since Armenia’s independence are Turkish expectations that Armenia will step away from international efforts at genocide recognition, and also recognize the present Turkey-Armenia borders.

The Civilitas Foundation will continue to pursue public discussions on the Armenia-Turkey relationship. 
 

CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN

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On September 4, in Berlin, Civilitas will launch a new program trying to bring public attention to the personal aspect of Armenian-Turkish relations. CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN is a series of travelling programs with a pair of celebrities, Armenian and Turk, talking about their “personal journeys” dealing with historic and political tensions surrounding the Genocide, and their own views on the way forward. These programs will be held in various public spaces (schools, universities, radio stations, theaters, museums) in Turkey and Armenia as well as in various European capitals. The overall objective is to institute systematic, sustained steps to transform the existing environment of misinformation and misunderstanding about the past and present.

The first pair of celebrities are Arsinee Khanjian and Fethiye Cetin.

Fethiye Çetin is an attorney, human rights activist, and writer. She had been involved in the Hrant Dink defense prior to his assassination. She continues to represent the family. She is also the author of MY GRANDMOTHER, about her discovery of her dying grandmother’s Armenian roots. She is the co-author of THE GRANDCHILDREN, a book of first-person retellings of other grandchildren’s coming to terms with their grandparents’ Armenian ancestry.

Arsinee Khanjian is an actress, born in Lebanon, and a citizen of Canada. She is a stage and screen actress who tackles the unspoken legacy of Genocide through her own and her husband Atom Egoyan’s works.

The first series of programs will take place first in Berlin on September 4, at the Naumann Foundation. The second will take place in Istanbul, at. The third will take place in Yerevan on September 13. The programs will be livestreamed and also videotaped and shared on a dedicated trilingual website in order to widen the audience and promote reciprocal understanding, especially in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the Genocide.

The moderated forum will offer an opportunity for those around the world to join the complex, personal discussions on a still dark, still hidden history.

Civilitas has partnered with Anadolu Kultur and has received support from the Black Sea Trust of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

 

Diplomatic Corps at Civilitas

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DSC_8129The Civilitas Foundation hosted members of Armenia's diplomatic corps at a meeting on Tuesday, January 31, to present the Civilitas Foundation's fourth annual report. The report, entitled ARMENIA 2011, WITHOUT ILLUSIONS, is a compilation of facts and analysis on Armenia's economic, political and regional developments in 2011.

The ambassadors or representatives of France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Romania, Switzerland, Syria, the US, the UK, Ukraine, and the Council of Europe, gathered to share thoughts about Civilitas programs. Civilitas Director Salpi Ghazarian discussed ongoing projects and especially the new media programs -- CivilNet.TV and Orakarg, a daily newspaper. She stressed the importance of the upcoming electoral period and the importance of good, comprehensive election and economic programming.

Civilitas Founder Vartan Oskanian welcomed the ambassadors and pledged that Civilitas will continue its work to strengthen civil society and civic participation in Armenia.
 

Civilitas Guests Discuss 2011

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The Civilitas Foundation held its traditional end-of-the-year meeting with a presentation of Armenia 2011: Without Illusions, its fourth annual report, to a packed audience at Yerevan’s Golden Tulip Hotel, on Thursday, December 29, 2011.

The program, moderated by Civilitas analyst Tatul Hakobyan, featured guest speakers Lilit Galstyan,Member, National Assembly, Hranush Kharatyan, Ethnographer and Andranik Tevanyan, director of the Politeconomia Institute.

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Vahe Berberian on the Blender of Life, Coffee and Art

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font_pic_berberian“There is an element of force-feed in our lives, much like how foie gras is made,” shared the U.S.-based playwright, artist, actor and comic Vahe Berberian at the Civilitas forum at Moscow House on October 6. “Our brains are constantly stuffed with trivial unimportant things, especially in the Western culture,” went on Berberian. “Why do I need to know how much Jennifer Lopez’s wedding ring costs or whether Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are together or not?” “Everything is simplified in our culture today in order to be sold and easily digested.” In the same fashion, the artist compared his life to a blender – “whatever happens to me goes into that blender and whatever comes out in my art is the mix of all that. That is why it is important that we are able to control what goes into our blender of life.”

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Serj Tankian On Civic Activism

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Screen_shot_2011-08-16_at_4.40.13_PMThe musician Serj Tankian is also a proud civic activist. That was the hat he wore during a small forum organized for media and civic activists in Yerevan, on the day following his second one-man concert in Yerevan.

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Three new Civilitas initiatives this September

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Screen_shot_In continuation of the Civilitas Foundation's initial vision, Civilitas will launch an internet news channel and publish a daily newspaper beginning this September. To fill the gap created by the absence of consistent research-based analysis in Armenian media, Civilitas is inaugurating Civilnet -- a news and research based internet channel that will cover local and regional as well as relevant global issues on a daily basis in Armenian and English. A news program featuring international experts and new local faces, the internet channel will be available both live and on-demand.  

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Geopolitics – the new curse of the century

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DSC_1598The Civilitas public forum, entitled “20 Years of Geopolitics in the Caucasus,” hosted three veteran Caucasus watchers to talk about geopolitics in and around Armenia over the two decades of independent regional development. The discussion took place on June 22 at the Ani Plaza Hotel in Yerevan.

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Armenia’s Justice Minister: Justice as a way of thinking

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777Hrayr Tovmasyan outlined two current priorities of his work as Mnister of Justice, as a guest of the Civilitas “One Hundred Questions and Answers” series: tackling contradictions and inconsistencies in the law and instilling a new way of thinking that upholds justice as a top demand and need for the society at large.

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Armenia’s Ombudsman: Ready to go as far as he can

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333Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (or Ombudsman) Karen Andreasyan assured the audience that had gathered for the Civilitas Foundation’s regular 100 Questions and Answers forum that he is ready to go as far it takes to address human rights violations – as far the law permits him and as far as Armenia’s society, aware and informed, supports him. “As an observer of the human rights situation in Armenia, it is my duty to voice concerns even about issues about which our office does not receive complaints.

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Life in Gyumri Completely Stalled

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At a Civilitas sponsored public forum in Gyumri, discussion revolved around the global crisis and the unprecedented economic downfall of recent years which has wreaked the greatest havoc in Armenia's regions, outside Yerevan. Director of the Gyumri-based Arevamanuk Foundation Armine Gmyur-Karapetyan, a panelist, said that “life has simply stopped, every family in Gyumri is deeply impacted by the crisis.” She said no area has been left unscathed. Today, residents of Gyumri live under conditions that stimulate emigration. “Even I find myself thinking about it more and more,” she says.

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Turkey: Mixing old identities and finding new ones

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ebru2The Civilitas Foundation public forum entitled “From Ebru to Grandchildren” consisted of two  hours of soul-searching, discovery, accusation combined with social, political and also very personal analyses of the challenges of cultural diversity and newly found Armenian identity in today’s Turkey.

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Vahan Hovhannisyan on upcoming elections, party politics and challenges

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vahMore than 150 guests – representatives of international and local organizations, government and academic institutions, diplomatic missions in Armenia as well as media - gathered to hear the second guest of the Civilitas Foundation “100 Questions and Answers” series.

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Armenian libraries embrace the digital age to expand community outreach

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LibrariesThe Civilitas Foundation continues targeted support to regional libraries, within the framework of its “Libraries as Centers of Civil Society” project, funded by the US Embassy in Armenia. A number of on-site consultation visits were carried out throughout last week, steering donations of books and equipment to regional libraries of Charentsavan, Armavir, Ararat, Gyumri and Ashtarak.

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100 Questions, 100 Answers: Vartan Oskanyan

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vardOn Monday, February 28, the Civilitas Foundation launched a new series of public forums. In addition to the periodic discussions by a group of individuals about specific topics on the national agenda, this new series will come to offer a stage to an individual who is or was in a position of authority and who is prepared to answer questions from the public.

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Yerevan's Diplomatic Corps at Civilitas

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ambos

In what has become an annual tradition, a reception with Armenia’s diplomatic corps and representatives of international organizations took place at the Civilitas Foundation, on February 8, 2011.For the third consecutive year, the chairman of the board of the Civilitas Foundation, former foreign minister Vartan Oskanian invited ambassadors to comment on the Foundation’s annual report, and share thoughts about Armenia and the region.Civilitas Director Salpi Ghazarian talked about the Foundation’s old and new projects in education, media, rural development, and the projects of the Civilitas Council on International Relations.

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Armenia in 2010- A Year of Uncertainty

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DSC_2705The Civilitas Foundation has published ARMENIA IN 2010 – A YEAR OF UNCERTAINTY. This is the third in a series of annual reports published by Civilitas to assess the year just ended.

The 2008 report was entitled CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY. In 2009, the theme was PROMISE AND REALITY. The 2010 title – A Year of Uncertainty -- refers to a year in which no major gains were registered either in the region, or domestically. On the contrary, Civilitas judges the year to have been one where the country barely managed to stand in place.

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Armenia in 2010- A Year of Uncertainty-Report Launch

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TENGcoverhe Civilitas Foundation invites you to participate in the presentation of

Armenia in 2010: A Year of Uncertainty.

This is the third annual report of the Civilitas Foundation and, as the two previous reports, is constructed around the three important areas: regional dimension, domestic and economic situation.
The report analyzes regional and global events that affected Armenia and the region and assesses the political developments in the country during 2010. It also offers an outlook for 2011, together with possible policy options.




 

In the Beginning was the Word

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_HHK4560The Civilitas Public Forum entitled “In the Beginning was the Word” was held on Friday, October 15 at the Ani Hotel, in Yerevan. This forum marked the conclusion of one stage of a Civilitas program, funded by the US Embassy, intended to transform Libraries Into Centers of Civil Society. Civilitas’s mission is to support the strengthening of civil society, and reading and information is essential to that process. 

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One Library at a Time: Supporting Communities, Opening Minds

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DSC_0530The Civilitas Foundation has created Children’s Corners at two public libraries as part of the Civilitas Libraries as Centers of Civil Society Program. The Children’s Corners in the public libraries of Charentsavan and the Nor Nork District of Yerevan were funded by Ernst & Young, the international accounting and financial services firm.

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Turkish Publisher Zarakolu at Civilitas

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booksRagıp Zarakolu, Turkish activist, one of the founders of the Human Rights Association in Turkey, publisher of several books on the Armenian Genocide and on Kurdish issues, convicted several times for his advocacy and defense of the freedom of expression, visited Civilitas together with a group of Armenian writers and other guests, including the authors of the “Dialogue on the Armenian Taboo” published in France, Michel Marian and Ahmet Insel.  

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TEDx Yerevan

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Videos l Photos

DSC_0651

TEDx Yerevan, held on Saturday, September 25, 2010, was born of the desire of a group of TED devotees who had already spent months translating TED talks into Armenian. Beyond Borders was chosen as the theme.

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The Tankian Phenomenon

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tankianyoutubeCivilitas Honorary Board member, world famous musician and human rights activist Serj Tankian met with Civilitas founder Vartan Oskanian and director Salpi Ghazarian before his first concert in Yerevan, on August 12. The Yerevan concert was one stop in a multi-city tour, and offered the opportunity for the singer's third visit to Armenia.

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Politics of culture

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hawk_Ararat_8In cooperation with Counterpart International, the Civilitas Foundation hosted a public forum entitled “The Politics of Culture”  with guest speakers actress Arsinee Khanjian, film director and Civilitas Honorary Board member Atom Egoyan, photographer Hrair Hawk Khatcherian and designer Armen Kyurkchyan.

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Donor Strategies in Armenia

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IMG_8254Civilitas programs work in so many different directions, that the simplest way of explaining what we do is to say -- we do what we can to strengthen civil society in Armenia. If that means helping a farmer stand on his feet so that he can engage in the decision-making that effects his life, then that's what we do.

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How Changing Geopolitical Realities Impact the South Caucasus

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Salpi Ghazarian: I would like to briefly introduce a member of our honorary board, a man who has for decades, even before the Soviet Union fell and even before it was fashionable, studied self-determination movements, insurgencies, and the issues and struggles of the little people around the world. He also was a Le Monde correspondent and has been described frequently as a friend of the third world. We are happy and proud that Gerard Chaliand is here today and I guarantee you that this will be the fastest hour in a long time. I welcome the ambassadors who are here and our regular friends and new friends. We’re going to cover two kinds of territory. We’re going to talk about the geopolitical realities around us as they are changing and whether we because we are living them think this is unique and amazing, or whether this is just part of what history does. And then we will talk about the three areas of Gerard’s specialization that affect us directly: self-determination movements, insurgencies and simmering conflicts.

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Gerard Chaliand on "How Changing Geopolitical Realities Impact the South Caucasus"

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IMG_7745“In this changing world, the cards that Armenians are holding  are not getting better,” said Gerard Chaliand, an international expert in armed conflict studies and international and strategic relations. Chaliand, a member of the Honorary Board of the Civilitas Foundation, was the guest speaker at the Civilitas Foundation’s discussion on

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Serj Tankian is Coming to Town

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SerjTankianWorld-renowned musician and Civilitas board-member, Serj Tankian, is making his debut solo performance in Armenia. The Armenian American lead singer of the Grammy-award winning rock band System of a Down will perform in Yerevan in August 12.  
In addition to having a musical career, Tankian is a political and social activist. He is a major advocate of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and through his lobbying initiatives, the issue has been raised from concert halls to the US political arena.

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Non-Governmental Organizations: Successful or Ineffective

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IMG_6915On June 8, 2010, the Civilitas Foundation hosted a panel discussion on “Non-governmental Organizations: Achievements and Failures” at the Ani Plaza Hotel.  The panel included the director of the Norovank Foundation, Gagik Harutyunyan, writer and journalist Marine Petrosyan, and the Partnership for Democracy director, Stepan Danielyan.

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Doing Good, Saving Lives

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IMG_5604The Civilitas Foundation, in collaboration with the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, hosted a 'Be a Donor, Save a Life!’ drive at the Civilitas office in central Yerevan. The turnout for the first drive, which was held last week, was so impressive that it inspired the participants to repeat the event.

“There are so many people whose life depends on finding a matching bone marrow donor and so few people know about it,”

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Changing the Agenda by 2015

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Click to enlargeSalpi Ghazarian, Director of the Civilitas Foundation, Yerevan, spoke in Beirut on the occasion of the annual commemoration of the Genocide.

Invited by the American University of Beirut Armenian Heritage Club, Mrs. Ghazarian entitled her talks APRIL 24, 2015.

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Vartan Oskanian in Europe’s Policy Forums

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brussels_forumOn March 27, Vartan Oskanian participated in the annual Brussels Forum. Held every year in Belgium’s capital, the three-day event attracts more than 400 participants from around the world. Discussions cover a variety of issues: global economics, politics, security issues, energy, relations between certain countries, and various regional problems.

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Charentsavan Youth at the Civilitas Foundation

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charentsavanWith support from the US Embassy in Armenia, the Civilitas Foundation is working to turn libraries into centers of civil society by renovating four libraries in the Armenian provinces. Civilitas will provide new books and technological equipment to these and another six libraries so that they will serve as gathering places for cultural events and discussions.

The Charentsavan Municipal Library, about a 45 minute drive from Yerevan, is one of the four libraries to be renovated. Civilitas donated books it collected from various Armenian businesses during the Christmas holidays through its Angel Tree Project. Civilitas was invited to attend a performance at the Charentsavan Municipal Library presented by a group of college students. The students are working towards making the space into more than just a library, but also a gathering place to celebrate and share their different interests.

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Karabakh Peace: More Illusion Than Reality

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The monthly Civilitas Foundation discussion on current topics featured as its guest Thomas de Waal, Caucasus analyst and Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace in Washington DC. Mr. de Waal spoke with Salpi Ghazarian, Director of the Civilitas Foundation.

Mr. de Waal had just returned from Baku, and in response to Mrs. Ghazarian’s question about whether the conflict can still be called a frozen conflict, he responded that the Karabakh conflict, unlike for example the Cyprus issue, has never been frozen, is at best dormant. He explained that although neither side will want to start a war, ‘stupid reasons’ too can trigger military clashes, and in a situation that is self-monitored, where the line of contact brings the sides very close together, such ‘accidents’ are considered more likely.

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Discussions in Gyumri and Vanadzor

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On February 11, the Civilitas Foundation presented its annual report  “Armenia 2009: Promise and Reality” in Gyumri. As during the launch of the report in Yerevan, discussion revolved around Armenia’s foreign and domestic, regional and economic issues. Participating in the discussion were Levon Barseghyan, president of Gyumri’s Asbarez Journalist Club, Gala TV talk show host Derenik Malkhasyan and Shirak Center president Vahan Tumasyan. The discussion was moderated by Civilitas analyst, journalist Tatul Hakobyan. The event opened with a discussion of Gyumri’s socioeconomic issues, after which the issues of free speech, democracy and human rights were discussed, namely by Levon Barseghyan and Derenik Malkhasyan. Gyumri is the only city in Armenia that has a long history of free broadcast media that has opposed established rule. Thanks to Gala TV, unbiased reporting is more available in Gyumri. However, even though Gyumri’s public is more informed, from a human rights and socioeconomic standpoint their issues are as many and equal to those of other cities.

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Angel Tree Project

espasThe Civilitas Foundation together with ESPACES Youth Training Center has initiated “Angel Tree” Christmas Project which plans to collect books, puzzles and educational games for children’s corners of different rural community libraries. This project goes along with our “Libraries as Centers for Civil Society” project, sponsored by the U.S. embassy, which aims to help regional community libraries become centers of civil society.

The Civilitas staff with the help of ESPACES volunteers handmade and decorated tree angel ornaments, placing the first angel tree in ESPACES center, with all the angel ornaments characterizing different Christmas wishes on the back of them. The first book donation was received the very first day of the project, followed by a 15,000 AMD donation by an NGO for the purchase of additional books.

In January, all of the collected books and puzzles will be donated to community libraries throughout the country.

 

Viken L. Attarian: "Speaking to be Heard"

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VO-BPThe Vartan Oskanian event that launched his book, Speaking to be Heard, (Անաւարտ Տասնամեակ) , was remarkable in several aspects.

Firstly, it was organized by two youth organizations standing traditionally on opposite sides of the multitude of Armenian Diasporan divides, the AGBU Montreal Young Professionals (YP) and the ARF Armen Karo Student Association.  This in itself was a positive development.

Secondly, it brought together several bright minds to frame the book presentation by the author.  The evening was emceed by Chahe Tanachian of the AGBU YPs (Director of the AGBU M. Keusseyan Armenian Studies Program), and by Lalai Manjikian of the Armen Karo Association (a PhD student at McGill).  The book itself was diligently presented in both Armenian and English by Dr. H. Hacikyan, himself an accomplished scholar, writer and teacher.  As for the author, he was introduced by none other than George Shirinian, the tireless Executive Director of the Zoryan Institute.

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George Shirinian: Introduction to Vartan Oskanian

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George-ShirinianYour Excellency, Distinguished Guests and Dear Compatriots:

I am pleased to be here tonight to introduce Mr. Vartan Oskanian, a dynamic and engaging individual, whose life can be viewed as having four distinct stages: the Middle East, the Soviet Union, the United States, and independent Armenia. As we shall see, there is a common thread running through all of them.

Vartan Oskanian was born in Aleppo, Syria and is a graduate of the AGBU Lazar Najarian high school there. Though a Syrian national, Vartan felt a strong sense of his Armenian identity and to further his education went to Armenia, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Structural Engineering from Yerevan Polytechnic Institute.

He then went to the US and obtained a Master’s in Structural Engineering from Tufts University in the Boston area. There he was captivated by the tremendous intellectual activity and energy of such a huge centre of learning, with scores of universities, and hundreds of thousands of students and professors. While working as a structural engineer, he succumbed to the need to fulfill his intellectual curiosity, which led him to take a second Master’s degree, this time at Harvard, in the field of Government Studies.

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Speaking to be Heard: Professor Hacikyan's Review

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Agop-HacikyanSpeaking To Be Heard: A Decade of Speeches is about Vartan Oskanian's years in office between 1998 and 2008 as the Republic of Armenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs. It displays his political determination, diplomatic competence and indefatigable undertakings to advance Armenia=s interests. It is a compendium of a substantial number of statements delivered from influential platforms while crisscrossing dozens of capitals and cities around the world. The book chronicles a crucial period in the history of the young independent nation; it is an invaluable  record, an enlightening narrative for all who study the evolution of the new Republic. It is also a permanent reference that will enable future generations to comprehend the challenge facing the country during those years.

These speeches reflect Oskanian's initiatives to allow the state to pursue its concerns and objectives beyond its national borders in cooperation with other states. I welcome this collection as one of the most  revealing documents ever  swirled into being by an Armenian political mind.

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Speaking to be Heard: Montreal Launch

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FLYER-OSKANIAN-11The Armenian General Benevolent Union Young Professionals and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Armen Karo Student Association hosted the Montreal launch of former Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian’s recently published volume: Speaking to be Heard: A Decade of Speeches. The presentation took place at the Montreal Marriott Courtyard Hotel.

The book, a selection of nearly 100 speeches in the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), NATO and more than a dozen international think tanks, as well as to Diaspora and Armenia-based organizations.

George Shirinian, Executive Director of the Zoryan Institute spoke about the author, while Professor Emericts Agop Hacikyan presented the book. Mr. Oskanian talked about his experiences during his years in office.

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Armenia's European Prospect: Illusion or Credo

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The Civilitas Foundation's monthly public debate focused on Armenia's prospects and obstacles in European integration and cooperation processes. The debate was moderated by Tatul Hakobyan, journalist and Civilitas analyst, with panel participants, Tevan Poghosyan, Executive Director of the International Center for Human Development, as well as Nune Sargsyan, Executive Director of Internews Armenia.

During the discussion, Mr. Vartan Oskanian, President of the Board of the Civilitas Foundation, said the following, "I am confident that Armenia has no other choice but European integration. But in order to be able to integrate, we need three-way cooperation among Europe, Armenian society and the Armenian authorities. If this trilateral cooperation doesn’t work right, or all sides don’t participate, these processes will never come to a successful conclusion, and our people will not benefit from them. Let’s leave aside membership issues for a while. I have always said, even during my years in office, that it is the process, not the membership itself that our people need to benefit from, such that the population feels positive change as a result of this cooperation, every day of their lives.

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Armenia's European Prospect: Illusion or Credo

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Part 1                                                               Part 2

   

The Civilitas Foundation's monthly public debate focused on Armenia's prospects and obstacles in European integration and cooperation processes. The debate was moderated by Tatul Hakobyan, journalist and Civilitas analyst, with panel participants, Tevan Poghosyan, Executive Director of the International Center for Human Development, as well as Nune Sargsyan, Executive Director of Internews Armenia.

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Back to the Future: Armenian-Turkish Relations

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Part 1                                                                    Part 2

   

The Civilitas Foundation hosts a public debate between Armenian and Turkish public figures regarding Armenia-Turkey Relations, Protocols, and the historical relationship and trauma between both nations.

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Armenians in Turkey 100 Years Ago: A Unique Exhibition of Postcards

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The Civilitas Foundation organized a unique exhibition of postcards, printed and mailed in Turkey, from the collection of Orlando Calumeno. The exhibition is curated and edited by Osman Koker and reflects the reality of life for an integrated community in nearly two dozen cities throughout the Ottoman Empire. The thousands of cards testify to the lives of individuals, businesses, schools, churches and other Armenian institutions living and functioning there.

 

Civilitas Participates in the Bled Strategic Forum

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Bled Strategic ConferenceCivilitas Foundation founder Vartan Oskanian and Director Salpi Ghazarian participated in the Bled Strategic Forum, in Bled, Slovenia, August 30-31. Ministers, policy makers, members of government, experts and representatives of civil societies from Europe, the U.S. and Asia participated in the forum entitled “The Politics of Economic Crisis: Redefining Economic and Geopolitical Landscapes in Europe and Eurasia.”

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Golden Apricot Film Festival 2009

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Vartan Oskanian has been Honorary President of the Golden Apricot Film Festival since the festival’s inception. This year, Mr. Oskanian presented the special ‘Master’ prize to the renowned American director Rob Nilsson at the Moscow Cinema on July 14.

“When the organizers of the festival invited me to take on this duty years ago, I accepted it with pleasure, because I believe that film is the best medium for dialogue and mutual understanding among societies,” Mr. Oskanian said in presenting the award.

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Discussion: “Vulgarity vs. Political Debate”

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More than a hundred guests were present at the public discussion on “Vulgarity vs. Political Debate”, organised by the Civilitas Foundation on July 7, 2009. The speakers were Artsvik Minasyan, member of the ARF faction of the National Assembly, Hranush Kharatyan, a noted ethnographer and public commentator, and Naira Melkumyan, former foreign minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and founder of the “Aybengir” publishing house.

Opening the discussion, Civilitas Foundation director Salpi Ghazarian spoke on how the absence of a culture of political debate within Armenia forces us to seek platforms elsewhere. Thus when we do not have the means to defend our rights in Armenian courts, we are compelled to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, or if there is no possibility of debate in Armenia’s parliament, the issue moves to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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Vulgarity vs. Political Debate: Public Discourse

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Part 1                                                                     Part 2

   

More than a hundred guests were present at the public discussion on “Vulgarity vs. Political Debate,” organized by the Civilitas Foundation on July 7, 2009. The speakers were Artsvik Minasyan, member of the ARF faction of the National Assembly, Hranush Kharatyan, a noted ethnographer and public commentator, and Naira Melkumyan, former foreign minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and founder of the “Aybengir” publishing house.

Opening the discussion, Civilitas Foundation director Salpi Ghazarian spoke on how the absence of a culture of political debate within Armenia forces us to seek platforms elsewhere. Thus when we do not have the means to defend our rights in Armenian courts, we are compelled to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, or if there is no possibility of debate in Armenia’s parliament, the issue moves to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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Armeno-Turkish Relations: Pitfalls and Possibilities

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I want to thank you for this invitation to speak here today, about a topic that is at the center of Armenia’s foreign policy, Armenia’s international relations, Armenia’s relations with the Diaspora, and of course, also at the center of the Diaspora’s own agenda. That is Armenia-Turkey relations.

In my book "Speaking To Be Heard" where I have a long introduction about the foreign policy considerations that are reflected in my decade of speeches, one of the points I make is that with any natural change of administration anywhere, in any country, it is natural that there be both continuity and change in a country’s foreign policy.

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A Statesman's Look Back: The Armenian Republic

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I didn’t think when I was living and studying here, nearly 20 years ago, that I would be here one day, talking about my book. I remember stopping at the old NAASR building looking at everyone else’s books. I’m pleased that NAASR has agreed to distribute this book. I also used to come to Bentley to hear lectures but I didn’t know that I’d be giving one myself on these very interesting 10 years.

This year out of office, I’ve had time to reflect on this last decade of my life. During those years in the ministry, I was always aware that we are living history. You can’t let that thought drive your actions, but every now and then, especially on a Sunday, sitting alone in my office, I felt the responsibility of history.

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Believing and Protecting the Right to Elect

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At the invitation of the Civilitas Foundation, concerned citizens and political leaders met to discuss the civil and human right: right to elect, in light of the just-concluded Yerevan city elections.

The meeting took place at the Yerevan Hotel, Rossini Room. Mr. Armen Harutyunyan, Ombudsman, and Mr. Vartan Oskanian, President of the Board of the Civilitas Foundation, opened the discussion with an overview of all that is at stake for a newly developing democracy if the institution of elections does not take hold. Mr. Harutyunyan spoke about the fact that the low turnout says much about the opposition’s inability to attract and keep its own supporters, because the bulk of the Yerevan city electorate is in opposition to those currently in office. He said that the "apathy that causes this is as much a problem for the authorities as it is for the opposition, just as the cause of this apathy is also partly the authorities’ responsibility."

Others, including representatives of various political parties, spoke about what ought to come next to improve the political and social environment in which elections take place.

Mr. Oskanian opened the program asking that the discussion focus on what to do to improve the process in order to improve perceptions of fairness and legitimacy.

 

The Right to Elect: Public Discourse

Spotlight / Events

Part 1                                                                       Part 2

   

The Civilitas Foundation hosts a public discussion regarding the right and responsibility of citizens to elect, strengthening democracy in Armenia, the 2008 Armenian Presidential elections, and the lack of 'Free & Fair Democratic Elections' in the 17 year old Independent Republic of Armenia.

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A Civilitas Forum: The Right to Elect

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One week after the Yerevan City elections and just days after the results are publicized, the Civilitas Foundation invites you to a forum on "The Right to Elect." President of the Civilitas Board Vartan Oskanian will speak with Armenia's Ombudsman Armen Harutunyan to discuss this most basic civil right, both in theory and in the way in which it's being applied in Armenia.

The Ombudsman, Armenia's human rights defender, has spoken out about the presidential election of 2008 and the events and environment that followed. Now, in the context of the Yerevan elections, Civilitas invites those interested to discuss the institutional and personal factors which define each election and how to prepare the ground for true, reflective, responsive elections.

The Civilitas Forum will take place at the Yerevan Golden Tulip Hotel Rossini Room on June 9, at 4.30 pm. To attend please register at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or by calling 010.500119.

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Speaking To Be Heard

Spotlight / Events

Vartan Oskanian spoke about his newly-published book of speeches, Speaking To Be Heard. The book includes nearly 100 statements delivered during the decade of his two terms as foreign minister. He reflected on the fact that Armenia’s foreign policy, as well as global developments of that decade, are reflected in the various statements. He also expressed confidence that the book will be useful to those studying the history of the Armenian Republic, and to future generations who want a better understanding of the challenges facing us, at this time in history.

Speaking about the title of the book, Vartan Oskanian explained that the purpose of these speeches in international forums was to be heard by policymakers, and that he did that by always trying to speak about Armenia’s problems and challenges in the wider context of international issues.

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Presentation of "Speaking To Be Heard"

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Part 1                                                                   Part 2

   

The Civilitas Foundation hosts a public discussion regarding the right and responsibility of citizens to elect, strengthening democracy in Armenia, the 2008 Armenian Presidential elections, and the lack of 'Free & Fair Democratic Elections' in the 17 year old Independent Republic of Armenia.

Read more...

 

Crisis and Opportunity

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Part 1                                                                     Part 2

   

A public discussion following the presentation of Armenia in 2008: Crisis and Opportunity at Golden Tulip on 26 December 2008, with the participation of Vartan Oskanian of the Civilitas Foundation, former Prime Minister Armen Darbinyan, member of the National Assembly and Armenian Revolutionary Federation leader Armen Rustamyan, and member of the opposition Hovhannes Igityan.

 

Vartan Oskanian, Civilitas Foundation Opening Day

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Vartan Oskanian, founder of the Civilitas Foundation & former Foreign Minister of Armenia, speaks to reporters and introduces the Foundation to the public on the occasion of the Foundation's official launch. Mr. Oskanian also discusses the goals, initiatives, and motivations of the Foundation, and the importance it intends to play upon the development of Armenian civil society, democracy, and statehood, in the South Caucasus.

 
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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
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