Higher Education in Armenia Today: a Focused Review

November 13, 2013


On November 14 at 14.15 pm at the Congress Hotel Ballroom Hall, The Open Society Foundations – Armenia will be presenting the report on Higher Education in Armenia Today: a Focused Review conducted by the CEU Higher Education Observatory.

You can read the report in full here.

The report was commissioned by the Open Society Foundation Armenia in early 2013 and presents the findings and conclusions of an independent review of higher education in Armenia. As a focused review, it specifically looked at the course of reforms since Armenia has joined the Bologna process in 2005 and at the relationship between higher education and the development of an open society.

The event will begin with opening remarks from OSF-Armenia Executive Director, Larisa Minasyan. Then the floor will be given to the research team, Mr. Liviu Matei, Ms. Julia Iwinska from Central European University and Mr. Koen Geven from European University Institute, who will present the findings and conclusions of the report. As an independent review of higher education in Armenia, the report is based on research conducted between December 2012 and July 2013, and includes all types of higher education institutions operating in Armenia; public, private, and intergovernmental/international

The event will conclude with a public discussion involving the education, civil society and donor communities, around issues raised in the report and possible ways of addressing them.

Representatives from the RA Ministry of Education and Science, related educational institutions, representatives from public and state universities, faculty and students, representatives of international organizations, civil society and media representatives have been invited to attend the event.

International Conference on Palliative Care Nov 11-13

November 11, 2013


“Emerging Palliative Care Developments in the World”

 11-13 November, 2013

Yerevan, Armenia

The International Palliative Care conference was held on November 11-13, 2013 in Yerevan with  the participation of specialists from Eastern European, Central Asian and former Soviet Union countries.

The Conference was organized by the Open Society Foundations- Armenia with the support of the East-East Beyond Borders Program and aimed to discuss the progress made in palliative care in Armenia since 2009, share knowledge and expertise of the represented countries, and develop recommendations  and strategies to further integrate and strengthen palliative care in Armenia.

The Conference brought together around 15 leading international experts from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Albania, Georgia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and more then 70 local experts, doctors, nurses, professors, government officials, social workers and palliative care specialists from Armenia.

A three-day Conference aimed at developing a framework to integrate palliative care into national policy. Through working group discussions the participants aimed to find solutions to resolve the unnecessary barriers for prescribing opioids, to provide patients access to pain relief medication, and develop/ integrate palliative care basic training modules for nurses, physicians, social workers and psychologists.

During the Conference a range of insights, ideasn and best practices on how to promote the palliative care field in Armenia were presented. This was achieved through participatory panel discussions and workshops guided by international and local professionals involved in providing institutional and national leadership in the integration of palliative care in their respective countries. During the second day public awareness campaign highlighted the real stories of patients suffering from pain in Armenia.

At the plenary and working sessions, participants, particularly NGOs, health professionals and policy makers engaged in an active discussion around important issues such as current trends in palliative care development in post-soviet countries, palliative care as a human right, introducing best practices for palliative care services, building capacity for palliative care field, and using effective advocacy tools to achieve policy and social change, as well as Armenian experience in introducing palliative care pilot services. At the end of the conference, all working groups came up with certain recommendations which shall later be developed by local specialists. The developed recommendations cover four major fields; palliative care budgeting sources/ international & external resources; eliminating potential legal barriers to change the practice; choosing from different models of palliative care- integration into clinic, long-term and home-care settings; and developing academic curricula for palliative care specialists. The active participation of professionals demonstrated a strong commitment to continue working on the recommendations and ensure the development and integration of palliative care in our health system. It was a delight to watch people with different backgrounds taking an active role in modeling palliative care services for Armenia.

The Conference culminated in drafting a joint Declaration, which presents the recommendations developed during the conference and the statement about the importance of including palliative care into a health system of Armenia. When signed, the Declaration will be submitted to the government of the Republic of Armenia.

The Declaration is open for signatures. To sign on, please contact Anahit Papikyan.

Please join us to bring a change to the lives of people who need our support.


Palliative Care Policy Brief

Palliative Care Yerevan Declaration

Viewing the Customs Union Decision through the Armenian Legal Framework and Due Process

November 8, 2013

(Photo Source: RFE/RL)

On October 29th at 11 AM at the AUA Business Center, the “Partnership for Open Society” initiative held a discussion titled, “Viewing the Customs Union Decision through the Armenian Legal Framework and Due Process”. The discussion was the second event within the series, “Armenia at the Crossroads of Development: Toward Europe or Russia?”, which includes public discussions, debates, and events throughout the months of October and November leading to the Vilnius summit, aimed at better understanding the implications of joining the Customs Union.

This discussion provided a forum for engaging in informative and constructive dialog on the decision making process of joining the Customs Union within the context of the Armenian legal and constitutional framework and due process. Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Presidential administration were invited to speak, however they were unable to join the discussion. The panel was moderated by Avetik Ishkhanyan from the Helsinki Committee of Armenia, who was joined by a team of national experts representing a wide scope of knowledge on the topic. Artur Sakunts of the Helsinki Citizens assembly Vanadzor Office presented an overview of the issues surrounding the Customs Union decision-making process, while, Artur Ghazinyan spoke about the constitutionality of the president’s decision. Finally, Tigran Yegoryan discussed anticipated legal issues to be expected after joining the Customs Union. The presentations was followed by a Q&A and open discussion with RA Government officials, politicians, and various European ambassadors and representatives in attendance. As part of a collaborative effort with the Media Center, the event was also live streamed at and is available for viewing below.

European Integration Index 2013 Report Released

October 21, 2013

EaP Index

On October 22nd, at the Congress Hotel Picasso Hall, The Open Society Foundations – Armenia presented the 2013 findings of the European Integration Index for Eastern Partnership Countries. A project of the Renaissance Foundation Ukraine, the goal of the European Integration Index is to measure and compare the pace and progress of European integration reforms for the Eastern partnership countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova & Ukraine, through civil society oversight.

The full report can be downloaded here.

The event began with opening remarks from representatives of the EU Delegation to Armenia and the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with OSF-Armenia Executive Director, Larisa Minasyan and Yerevan Press Club Director, Boris Navasardyan. Joining them was Olga Kvashuk of the Renaissance Foundation Ukraine, who presented a short overview of the European Integration Index initiative and provided a context for presenting country and sector specific index results. Ihor Kohut from the Ukrainian-based Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives, presented the index findings for Ukraine, followed by Boris Navasardayn, who presented Armenia’s index results. Afterwards, a sectoral presentation of Armenia’s index included presentations from David Tumanyan of the Communities Finance Officers Association, who spoke about the quality of public administration, and Arevhat Grigoryan of the Yerevan Press club, who presented the state of democratic institutions. The presentations concluded by analyzing the European integration trajectories, comparing Armenia and Ukraine, and included Stepan Grigorian of the Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, and Ihor Kohut. A public discussion followed the presentations, which invited the participation of civil society and the public at large.

The 2013 findings for the European Integration Index is the third such report. Launched shortly after the Eastern Partnership program, there was initially great hope that the index would provide a valuable tool for European and national policy makers for evaluating their European integration progress, and create an atmosphere of competition among Eastern partnership countries for properly fulfilling their reforms obligations. In reality, the index has produced disappointing results, when measured against the results of the intended reforms. As the recent events surrounding Armenia’s sudden U-Turn towards the Customs Union have demonstrated, however, despite satisfactory index scores in many key reform areas, the index has failed to properly measure the ineffectiveness of the reforms process in Armenia.

The Open Society Foundations – Armenia was established in 1997 to assist democratic transformations and promote the values of an open society, the one characterized by rule of law, democratically elected government, respect for minorities and their rights, vigorous civil society. Towards this end, OSF – Armenia has been supporting numerous projects and activities in the field of civil society, law, education, mass media, information, including publishing, electronic communication, support for libraries, public health, women’s rights, arts and culture. For more information, please visit

Police Monitoring Group Releases 2012 Report

October 17, 2013


On October 15th, the Public Monitoring Group on detention facilities of the RA Police released its 2012 annual monitoring report at a public presentation, which brought together top ranked representatives from the RA police department and civil society human rights defenders to discuss the state of Armenia’s pre-trial detention facilities and ways to guarantee fundamental human rights and freedoms in the police system. This is the 6th annual monitoring report, based on the group’s scheduled and unscheduled site visits, interviews with detainees and expert opinion.

The event was moderated by Artur Sakunts of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office, with opening remarks from Hasmik Sahakyan of The Boundaries of Our Rights NGO, who the need to expand the mandate of the monitoring group in order to be able to address the human rights violations in the police system. Avetik Ishkhanyan of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia continued, by presenting the current problems, and stressed the lack of progress over the past 6 years of monitoring in many key areas, from poor detention facilities to continuing instances of torture.

The findings and recommendations of the 2012 report were presented by members of the monitoring group, Nelli Harutyunyan, Artur Harutyunyan, Araik Harutyunyan, and Ani Buniatyan. The results of the monitoring show that the rights of persons kept at detention facilities are primarily violated by investigators at different phases of the police system – from apprehension up to arrest or detention of a person. There have been numerous cases of investigators conducting irregular work that results in an individual’s detention for longer than 72 hours, violating the RA legislation. At all detention facilities the right to communication with the outer world was violated. The right to access to a lawyer was applied only among 10.4% of detainees. Poor sanitary-hygienic and living conditions were registered, including pre-used bed-linens, anti-hygienic toilets, and poor lighting.

Representatives of the police department welcomed the monitoring group’s report and expressed their general desire to take their observations and recommendations into account. They insisted that many of the problems are in fact being addressed in the criminal code reforms process.

Finally, Tigran Yegoryan from the Europe in Law NGO spoke about the challenges in protecting the rights of detainees during the investigations and litigations process. He explained that increasingly, arrests and detentions, especially in administrative violations, are being used for political reasons, such as the temporary clearing of a protest or as an intimidation tactic.

The full report can be accessed here.

The Public Monitoring Group on detention facilities was founded in 2005, with the purpose of monitoring the general conditions of facilities, and detecting cases of inhuman treatment and tortures. The group is composed of representatives from 11 different civil society organizations engaged in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. To learn more about the group, please visit their website at

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