December 26, 2007

Basics of Statistical and Econometric Analysis using SPSS

Ten participants attended seven day methodological training on Basics of Statistical and Econometric Analysis using SPSS conducted by Ruben Gevorgyan, Ph.D.

The training, which had e-learning and face-to-face components, aimed at providing social scientists with quantitative analysis skills. Participants applied online for the course through Moodle online platform. Short listed applicants later passed some basic tests online. The goal of this phase was to test participants’ statistical and econometric analysis skills, and learn their expectations on the course, which helped in finalizing the content of the 2nd, face-to-face part of the training course.

The face-to-face training took place from December 10-21, 2007. The training content included data collection, modeling and data analysis methods and focused on statistical and econometric analyzes using SPSS and Excel software packages skipping complicated mathematical approaches. It will included practical part during which the participants analyzed data collected in Armenia.

During the final phase, starting from December 24, 2007 the course moderator provides online assistance by answering to the participants’ questions that they may have during their practice of statistical and econometric analyses.

Dr. Gevorgyan’s scientific publications mostly refer to econometric modeling of financial markets in transition countries. He teaches courses on econometrics, special courses on financial mathematics, econometric analysis methods of financial markets, and behavioral finance at YSU Department of Economics.

December 19, 2007

Policy Conference on Labor Market Trends and Challenges in Armenia Brings Together About 150 Stakeholders

On December 18, 2007 the RA Minister of Labor and Social Issues Aghvan Vardanyan and USAID/Armenia Social Reform Office Director Ann Hirschey, as well as CRRC-Armenia Director Heghine Manasyan, opened the policy conference on “Labor Market Trends and Challenges,” that aimed to promote a better understanding of the labor market trends and to elaborate common vision of policy measures towards improvement of labor market regulation in Armenia.

Held at the Congress hotel, the conference summoned about 150 participants – high level representatives and experts from the Armenian government, NGOs and businesses to address issues such as challenges and emerging trends in the labor market including the widening skills gaps between labor supply and demands sides, the increased internal and external movements of workforce, European integration processes and employment strategy guidelines and indicators.

As noted by Mr. Vardanyan, “The trends in the labor market have an impact on the growth and development of Armenia. I hope this conference will contribute to increased awareness and agreement among key stakeholders on key issues faced in this field.” Besides the RA MLSI, among other organizers of the conference are the USAID Armenia Social Protection Systems Strengthening (SPPS) Project, the Caucasus Research Resource Centers-Armenia (CRRC-Armenia, EPF), and the State Employment Service Agency (SESA).

“Labor market data is the basis for strategies and plans that lead to adaptive and responsive policies. USAID applauds this serious effort to bring labor market data from the academic shelf to the practical planning desk,” said Ms. Hirschey. Conference participants, among which the RA Ministry of Trade and Economic Development, Ministry of Education and Science, AEPLAC and the World Bank, discussed identified trends and their implications for labor market policies in Armenia. Of particular attention were that youth have more difficulties finding work than adults, the gap between worker skills and employer needs is growing in Armenia, while low birth rate and migration create challenges for employers.

“The most strategic priority of Armenia’s further development is knowledge-based economy that will create highly paid jobs and will contribute to competitiveness of local businesses in the global economy,” stated the RA Minister of Trade and Economic Development Nerses Yeritsyan. “It is obvious that wage growth and well-being should be based on labor productivity growth; and for sustainable development we need better education especially for prospective sectors, such as IT and tourism,” he added.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Samvel Avetisyan, expressed satisfaction with the attention paid to rural employment throughout the conference. However, according to him, employment in agriculture is exaggerated. He suggested revisiting labor legislation so as not to consider land owners and their family adult members employed.

December 10, 2007

Four CRRC-Armenia 2006 Fellowships are Ready for Close-Out

Four 2006 Fellows have submitted their research products and financial reports, according to the agreement, enabling CRRC-Armenia to close out the grants. Find the names of the Fellows and their reseach topics below.

Armine Mkhitaryan, "Gender Indicators of Armenian Local Government Institutions"

Armen Asatryan, "Migration in the South Caucasus Republics"

Gyulnara Hovhannisyan, "Gender Issues of the Pension System of the Republic of Armenia"
Anahit Gulyan, "The Opportunities and Prospects for the Development of State Mandatory Medical Insurance"

You are welcome to download the final papers from CRRC-Armenia website.

November 29, 2007

Information Seeking Behavior in the 21st Century

How do people obtain and use information? How do people participate in Internet activities? What is social networking and why is it important for obtaining information? How important is it that personal information on the Internet is private and secure for information seekers?

Tom W. Sloan addressed these and related questions regarding the 21st century information seeking behavior at CRRC-Armenia premises on November 29, 2007. Based on the findings of two recent publications titled, Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World and Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources, Mr. Sloan presented and discussed surveys results from thousands of respondents from six English speaking countries (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, USA).

PowerPoint slides of the presentation in English (ZIP file format, 1 MB) are available for download here.

The training was made possible with the support of Information Resource Center at U.S. Embassy in Yerevan.

Mr. Sloan works as an Executive Director of the SEFLIN Southeast Florida Library Information Network, Inc from 1999. He received his MA degree in Public Administration from the University of Delaware in 1994, and MS degree in Library Science from the Florida State University in 1984. Mr. Sloan has an extensive experience of the professional service at American Library Association for many years.

November 26, 2007

Competition Policy: Issues, International Experience and Armenian Reality

On November 22, 2007 CRRC-Armenia hosted a lecture "Competition Policy: Issues, International Experience and Armenian Reality" conducted by David Harutyunyan. The lecture was designed for professionals interested in the development, implementation and analysis of competition policy and focused on Armenian competition policy issues in the international context.

It addressed the following points: (1) The importance of competition protection policy and its main directions; (2) Analysis of anti-competitive behavior and market competition: methodology, theoretical issues and practice; (3) Competition legislation and the implementation of competition protection policy in Armenia: issues and possible solutions; (4) Competition culture and protection of consumer rights: international experience and Armenian reality; (5) Competition protection and judicial system: the applicability of international experience in Armenia.

PowerPoint slides of the presentation in Armenian (ZIP file format, 145 KB) are available for download here.

If interested in economic competition issues, please follow the links below:

Activities of the European Union: Competition

The International Competition Network

OECD Competition: Topic

State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition of the Republic of Armenia
AEPLAC Publication: Assessment of institutional standing in the fields of competition and state aid (English / Armenian)

Mr. David Harutyunyan has a Ph.D. in Economics from Yerevan State Institute of Economy (2003). He has worked within State Committee of the Republic of Armenia for the Protection of Economic Competition, in the Ministries of Economy, Trade and Industry, in Armenian Investment Company JSC, and within PADCO’s Social Reforms Project. Currently, Dr. Harutyunyan works as a Senior Capacity-Building Expert within Armenian-European Policy and Legal Advice Centre (AEPLAC).

November 8, 2007

Economic Freedom: Evaluation Methodology and its Impact on Economic Development

Methodological training entitled "Economic Freedom: Evaluation Methodology and its Impact on Economic Development" was conducted by Hovhannes Harutyunyan on October 8, 2007 at CRRC-Armenia premises.

The main objective of the training was to understand the methodologies of evaluation of Economic Freedom level, its main criterions and components, considering the case of Armenia.

PowerPoint slides of the presentation (ZIP file format, 1,32 MB) are available for download here.

If interested in Economic Freedom issues, please follow the links below for additional readings:

Index of Economic Freedom

Nations in Transit 2007: Armenia

Economic Freedom of the World: 2007 Annual Report

Mr. Hovhannes Harutyunyan works in KPMG- Armenia CJSC as a business advisor. He received his PhD degree in 2005. Since 2003 Mr. Harutyunyan is teaching Economics at Yerevan State Institute of Economics and he is the author of several publications on Economic Freedom Theories and Transitional Economy.

October 26, 2007

Gender Analysis of the Pension System of the Republic of Armenia

A presentation on the results of a research on "Gender Analysis of the Pension System of the Republic of Armenia"conducted by Gyulnara Hovhannisyan in the scope of the CRRC-Armenia Fellowship 2006 Program took place on October 26, 2007.

The research includes findings on gender inequality in the pension system in Armenia; analysis of unequal opportunities of men and women in the labor market, as well as the effects of gender inequalities in the socioeconomic and employment spheres on the pension system in Armenia. The research also includes recommendations for improving the gender disparities in the pension system in Armenia.

The presentation was widely attended since the topic is an actual one for the country taking into account the reforms considered within the sphere. The audience was competent enough and the discussion was professional in terms of raised questions and the suggestions regarding the presentation and the dissemination of the final report.

Mrs. Astghik Mirzakhanyan, the Team Leader of the Pension Reforms Group of the CBA, was invited as a discussant to the topic. Mrs. Mirzakhanyan pointed out that the research especially added value to the sphere considering that the government of the RA undertook reforms within the pension system. The findings particularly enabled the working group to develop a part on “The Gender Aspects of the Reforms” within the approved program by the Government. The research noted to be effective both in terms of the reviewed literature and the analysis provided. Mrs. Gohar Jerbashian, Policy/Knowledge Management Team Leader, NOVA, USAID, also emphasized the importance of the research conducted within the research fellowship frames stressing that the finding will enable appropriate state bodies to better design the pension policies, if considered.

You can download the draft version of the research paper (in Armenian) from the CRRC-Armenia website. Comments are welcomed!

October 25, 2007

New Books at CRRC-Armenia Library

The library has received new books. The titles will be made available via online catalog by the end of November, meanwhile you can see the complete list here.

We would appreciate your comments on books you want to see on the CRRC-Armenia library bookshelves.

October 24, 2007

Fellows Meet for a Discussion

On October 23, 2007 CRRC-Armenia initiated a meeting with the fellows of 2007 to discuss the progress of their research projects and the problems they may encounter while conducting their research. Another objective of the meeting was to facilitate networking and idea exchange among fellows.

Each of the fellows briefly presented his/her research, the progress made and the problems they faced during the implementation. In general, all of them pointed out that their activities are within the work plans foreseen, while the main difficulty was getting official statistical data from state bodies needed for their research.

In addition, some research fellowship management related questions were addressed and discussed with the CRRC staff. The atmosphere contributed to a constructive discussion where both CRRC-Armenia staff and the fellows benefited. The meeting may hopefully support the fellows for producing high quality research products.

October 22, 2007

Adult Education Week 2007: CRRC-Armenia, Migration: Controversial Outcomes

Within the Adult Education Week 2007, 8-15 October, CRRC-Armenia Country Director, Heghine Manasyan held a presentation at International Workshop on Adult Education and Intercultural Dialogue at the Crossroad's of the Millennium.

The presentation entitled "Migration: Controversial Outcomes" was based on CRRC Data Initiative findings and revealed latest migration trends in three South Caucasian countries and included some policy recommendations.

October 16, 2007

Using Moodle Open Source eLearning System for Local eCourses

On 15th October, 2007 Albert Poghosyan conducted a training entitled "Using Moodle Open Source eLearning System for Local eCourses" at CRRC-Armenia premises. The training aimed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the administrative functions of a Moodle e-Learning system.

PowerPoint slides of the training are available online here.

The participants learnt how to adapt the layout of a Moodle site, how to manage users (including authentication, enrollments, course groups and the roles system), back up an entire site and individual courses. In addition, participants explored many of the features which impact the experience of tutors and learners. Particularly, the examples of Armenian Distance Learning Network and CRRC Research Fellowship 2007 application process were used. Under the guidance of the trainer, participants reviewed the principal administrative options of a Moodle site. Wherever possible participants engaged in activities to assess the impact of the various settings and options.

Albert Poghosyan holds a Master Degree in Electronic Governance from Salford University (UK). Currently he is doing research on Identity Management and Authorization technologies and teaching IT Project Management.

September 28, 2007

Everything You Need to Know about Blogs

On September 28, 2007 an orientation training entitled "Everything You Need to Know About Blogs" was conducted by Gohar Khachatryan CRRC-Armenia Librarian/Information Specialist.

The PowerPoint presentation is available on the web here.

September 24, 2007

Best Practices in the Collection of Migration Data in Armenia

On September 19, 2007 CRRC-Armenia hosted a workshop on "Best Practices in the Collection of Migration Data in Armenia" conducted by Aaron Erlich, CRRC Regional Development and Outreach Coordinator. The workshop involved 12 participants from different organizations including State Migration Agency, Public Health Care Reform Project (USAID/EMG), Military Hospital of CIS, ICHD, Foundation for Small and Medium Businesses, FIDEC Representative in Armenia and Aplha Plus Consulting.

Participants looked at three large surveys (MiReM, MMP, Nanrong). Particularly they discussed the designs and debated about pros and cons of the ethnosurvey. During the group exercises and the brainstorming, the participants discussed potential benefits and problems of the surveys when adapting to the Armenian reality. The participants shared their ideas on what might work in Armenia regarding structure of surveys and sampling based on their work experience. Importance of documentation and building on knowledge on migration related data process was emphasized throughout the workshop.

The PowerPoint slides of the presentation are available online here.

The Perspectives for the Introduction of Mandatory Medical Insurance in Armenia

On September 13, 2007 a fellowship presentation on "The Perspectives for the Introduction of Mandatory Medical Insurance in Armenia" was held at CRRC-Armenia premises. The the purpose was to present the results of the research conducted by Anahit Gulyan and Gayane Hrachyan, CRRC-Armenia 2006 fellows. The presentation was well attended considering that the topic is of high interest within the country.

The draft report was peer reviewed by Victor Aghadjanyan, Arizona State University and CRRC-Armenia Fellowship Selection Committee member, and was further developed to be presented to the public. In addition, the paper was reviewed and commented by Hayk Zayimtsyan, YSU, and Marine Payaslyan, “Arabkir” UFAR The discussants provided valuable comments both on the content and the methodology used during the research and made suggestion towards the improvement of the paper for its further dissemination.

After the presenter and the discussant expressed their opinions, the audience had a chance for a discussion. The latter was even more impressive since professionals within the sphere made their comments on the paper while presenting actual data and real and up-to-date information. Among the persons directly involved in the issue were Mr. Hovhannes Margaryants, Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Health, Mr. Saro Tsaturyan, General Director, "Diagnostica" Medical Corp, Mr. Movses Aristakesyan, and others. Mrs. Gulyan thanked the public for their contribution and promised to improve the paper according to the advices where appropriate.
Anahit Gulyan's paper is available for download here. We will appreciate your feedback.

September 18, 2007

Data Processing and Analysis

A training on "Data Processing and Analysis" was conducted on September 17-September 18 by Dr. Gary Pollock (Professor of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK).


CRRC-Armenia now has a blog!