Since the launch of EaP in 2009, EPF teamed up with a group of leading Armenian NGOs to initiate a series of meetings, discussions and round tables dedicated to developing the different aspects of EaP. The group continues to cooperate within the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Armenia National Platform. In February 2011, EPF in cooperation with the Yerevan Press Club (YPC) restarted the production and dissemination of EaP-related information among all interested parties in Armenia. As a result, the EaP weekly newsletter, which was initiated by the YPC in 2010, was launched as a blog. The newsletter is posted weekly on the blog, as well as disseminated through a mailing list to over 800 recipients. The subscription is open to the public, and the number of subscribers is growing rapidly. Twenty five issues of the EaP Armenia Newsletter were produced in 2011.
In 2010, EPF developed and disseminated the Hello Europe and The European Union and Armenia books aiming to provide Armenian readers with interesting and useful information about the European Union and EU-Armenia relations. Hello Europe is youth-oriented and can be useful especially for high school students. It has been adopted by the Ministry of Education as a teaching tool for high school. The European Union and Armenia is designed for society at large. It refers to the history of the EU, comments on its structure, and describes the history of EU-Armenia relations, their current state and the perspectives for development. Both books are rich in illustrations, facilitating perception of the information. The books have been distributed widely, including in the regions (2335), and have been reprinted by the EU Delegation office in Armenia.
In order to develop credible advocacy projects for Armenia-EU dialogue, EPF supported groups of independent researchers to elaborate on issues of alternative energy, environmental governance, foreign trade, European culture, and other issues relevant to Armenia’s EaP framework. Through a competitive selection process, EPF supported five groups of researchers who produced policy papers. Three of the papers resulted in policy briefs focusing on alternative energy, the need to mainstream environmental legislation and barriers to external trade. 1,000 copies of these policy briefs were distributed during public events to representatives of civil society, policy-makers and EU and government officials. The policy briefs were praised during the Civil Society Forum (CSF) in Poznan in November 2011 and posted on the EaP CSF website.
In 2011-2012, EPF conducted four Article 27 talk shows devoted to European issues. In summer 2011, a talk show devoted to the Eastern Partnership program was conducted and attended by Ambassador Raul de Lutzenberger, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia in 2011, Armen Ashotyan, the RA Minister of Education, and others. In autumn 2011, EPF conducted two talk shows on anti-corruption attended by Varujan Hoktanyan, the head of Transparency International Armenia, Yeghishe Kirakosyan, the Advisor to RA Prime Minister and others. In May 2012, a talk show dedicated to EU-Armenian relations and the role of civil society was attended by Ambassador Trajan Hristea, the Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Garegin Melkonyan, RA Deputy Minister of Economy and civil society representatives. The talk shows were also shown in the regions.
Since 2009, EPF has been involved in the issues of higher education reform in light of the Bologna process. In collaboration with Yerevan State Linguistic University (YSLU), EPF started implementing a project aimed at improvement and harmonization of the higher education system of Armenia in compliance with Bologna requirements. In 2009, EPF and YSLU co-organized two strategic retreats in the form of organizational activity- and creative game-based seminars that were aimed at the identification of major challenges and opportunities for Armenian universities, particularly those specializing in the fields of humanities, and the development of a strategy and action plan for reform (2010-2015). The creative recommendations and visionary action plan developed during the events addressed such major spheres important for reform as institutional development, quality assurance, career development as well as curricular and academic reforms and have been converted into a book which can be downloaded here. To enhance the quality and image of academic scholarship in the field of humanities, YSLU established a trilingual (Armenian, English, Russian) academic periodical called Language, Society, Communication. As a part of the process, YSLU established the European Studies Center, Chair of Oriental Languages, a Translation Lab and launched a new course on Freedom of Expression based on materials received from EPF’s Freedom of Expression project. Currently EPF is finalizing a study into higher education management legislation and a policy and legal recommendations paper on improving the Armenian legislation regulating higher education with special emphasis on synchronization of scientific degrees as well as legal regulation of student internship in light of the Bologna process, which will be presented to the public in autumn 2012. A more detailed overview of EPF’s activities in the field of Higher Education Reform can be found here. This reform project with YSLU was possible thanks to USAID, SIDA and the UK Government.
In 2011, EPF supported the first ever research project to focus on plagiarism in higher education, conducted by the Khachmeruk Debate Club NGO. Plagiarism among university students is rampant and hinders approximation to the requirements of the Bologna process. The research revealed that the two major factors contributing to plagiarism in Armenia are a) the lack of a tradition of individual student work, and b) lack of awareness regarding plagiarism and the rules of academic writing. Universities should organize introductory lectures on plagiarism and referencing for first-year students and adopt internal regulations to punish plagiarism when it does occur. The research was followed by presentations at universities and can be downloaded here.
In 2012, EPF with Internews became the implementers of the Increasing the visibility of the EU in Armenia project. TV shows and Social Advertisements are being produced on a monthly basis. Four of the European Perspective TV programs have already been broadcast and are available here.
In 2011-2012, EPF developed a manual on Conflict of Interest based on the experience of other Eastern partnership and EU countries, such as the Czech Republic, Georgia and Moldova. The project was supported by Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will be available soon. For more information, please read our 2-pager on anti-corruption which outlines EPF’s involvement with anti-corruption activities.
12 June 2012
The “Forum for 21st Century Leaders” NGO from Armenia along with its partner “The Earth Association” in Turkey organized a workshop in Aghveran, Armenia on May 28-30, 2012 that brought together 12 young environmentalists from a number of civic initiatives and organizations in Turkey and Armenia.
08 June 2012
As part of the “Sweet Confusion – Sweet Sixties” project, the National Association of Art Critics (AICA Armenia), together with Anadolu Kültür, National Armenian Cinema Center, Armenia Turkey Cinema Platform and tranzit.at, will hold screenings of a number of Armenian and Turkish films and a cinema and cultural critics’ conference on June 11-13 in Nairi Cinema in Yerevan.