November 21, 2008

Book Presentation: "The Road to Home: My Life and Times"

On November 21, 2008 CRRC-Armenia jointly with RA National Academy of Sciences held a presentation of an autobiography book by Vartan Gregorian "The Road to Home: My Life and Times" recently published in Russian. In the book, Vartan Gregorian, who is currently the twelfth president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, describes his life, family, and academic career since his childhood in poor section of Tabriz, Iran.

The book was presented by RA NAS President, academician Radik Martirosyan, who, knowing the author, was able to share his personal memories. Nerses Hayrapetyan, the Director at Information Resource Center, U.S. Embassy Yerevan, Public Affairs Office, also shared his memories of Mr. Gregorian, whom he first came to know in 2002 when Mr. Gregorian visited the National Library of Armenia and made the biggest donation to the library from his own pocket.The event took place at the Conference Hall at NAS, and it was attended by librarians, academicians and faculty. Copies of the books were donated to the major libraries, such as the National Library, the Library of the National Assembly, Yerevan State University Library, the Library of NAS, and Writers' Union of Armenia.

November 19, 2008

A Round Table on National Identity and Tolerance

On November 18, 2008 CRRC-Armenia hosted a round table on national identity and tolerance organized by Chair of the Theory and History of Psychology at Yerevan State University. The event was initiated by the Associate Professor Svetlana Harutyuanyan. The speakers included Human Right’s Defender of the RA, Armen Harutyunyan, and the leading specialist of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography RA NAS, Hranush Kharatyan.

November 13, 2008

School Board in Armenia: Public Participation and Power Balance

On November 12, 2008 a presentation "School Board in Armenia: Public Participation and Power Balance" was conducted by young researchers Satenik Mkrtchyan and Ruzanna Tsaturyan in the scope of the CRRC 2007 Fellowship Program.

Since 1996 the Government of Armenia started the educational system reforms under the guidance and by crediting of the World Bank, through realization of a credit program: “Education management and financial reforms”, one of the aims of which was the democratization of in-school management and transition to School Board governance. Thus, School Boards have been introduced to the secondary educational system of Armenia as a part of Secondary Education system management reform. By the introduction of principles of democratic government into schooling system, parents formally first time were considered as independent and responsive actors. The research investigated parents’ current participation patterns, challenges, weak and strong points, as well as came up with policy recommendations to improve the situation.

As always, the draft version of the paper is available on CRRC-Armenia website. Your comments are most welcome.

October 29, 2008

CRRC Presents on Media Coverage in Armenia

On October 28th, CRRC Regional Director Dr. Hans Gutbrod presented findings of research on media conducted as part of a larger project on me­dia coverage in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Among the attendees were the representatives of IREX, AED, OXFAM, OSCE, British Council, IFES and the Embassies of Poland and Romania in Armenia.

According to the report, Yerevanis believe that all of the main television stations are controlled by the government, copy news directly and deceit­fully manipulate stories. Meanwhile, Bakuvians believe that the media environment is polarized between opposition and government channels, which generally avoid news coverage and focus on non-controversial top­ics such as sports or beauty.
The presentation was followed by an active discussion around the main findings and the recommendations that the research sets forth to the gov­ernment, journalists and the donor community. The recommendations in­clude embracing web journalism, blogging and creating interactive web­sites, promoting a bottom-up approach to journalist ethics, as well as de­veloping a research based culture among media supporters and providers.

Similar presentations are planned for local journalists and the representa­tives of mass media in both countries later this year.

October 28, 2008

The Political Institutions of Switzerland

Switzerland is the only country where a head of state or a prime minister changes every year. Not only ordinary citizens in Switzerland participate in elections but they influence political decisions directly by voting in regular referenda. Voice of people is crucial in Switzerland, that is one of the reasons it did not join the UN until 2002, and it has not joined EU yet. 

On October 10, 2008 the lecture on the political institutions of Switzerland was conducted by Dr. Lorenzo Amberg, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia and Armenia. The event took place in the hall of the 6th Building of Yerevan State University and attracted those interested in political institutions, democracy and minority rights. After the lecture His Excellency answered the questions on the current issues and developments in the South Caucasus. Some of the questions evolved around the latest events in Georgia, and Dr. Lorenzo expressed his opinion that the dynamic of conflict resolution after the Georgian conflict was positive.

Dr. Lorenzo Amberg is the Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia and Armenia, with residence in Tbilisi since August 2006. He has got his doctorate degree in Slavic studies, from University of Zurich in 1985. Dr. Amberg started his professional career as a translator in the Embassy of Switzerland, Moscow in 1978. During the last years he has been working as a Counselor and Minister in Embassies of Switzerland in Belgrade, Serbia, New Delhi, India and Moscow, Russia. 

October 18, 2008

Farming Practices Survey as Impact Evaluation Tool

Farming Practices Survey (FPS) is used to access the impact evaluation of the training component of MCA-Armenia’s Water to Market (WtM) Activity. In August 2007, MCA-Armenia conducted a public random assignment through which treatment (120) and control (80) communities (villages) were identified for the training impact evaluation. From December 2007 to February 2008, 4855 farm households in these 200 villages were surveyed as part of the baseline data collection.

The presentation, organized jointly with MCA, and conducted by Ester Hakobyan (MCA-Armenia), Anu Rangarajan and Kenneth Fortson (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., USA) on October 17, 2008. It focused on FPS Purpose and the design including sampling, questionnaire development and data archiving, as well as implementation and main findings of the survey.

Knowledge in a Globally Networked World

The Internet is transforming what, how, where and with whom we learn and co-produce knowledge. The eight-hour course "Knowledge in a Globally Networked World: Implications for Teaching and Learning" designed for faculty, researchers, administrators and knowledge workers in general who seek to understand and integrate digital media and the Internet with their work was conducted by Molly Freeman on October 15-16, 2008.

Molly Freeman, PhD ( resides in Berkeley, CA and Yerevan. Dr. Freeman uses Complex Systems Analysis to study technology integration in education. She conducts research and has prepared teachers to integrate technology with curricula in the US and abroad. Her reviews of educational technology research are available at

October 13, 2008

Experience of European Cities and Implications for Yerevan

Capital cities are an easily defined but poorly understood class of cities. Often reflected in urban research as administrative centers, capitals have very different functions and role in the historical development of any nation. Established government systems of national Capital cities even in European countries face challenges and the need of transformation.

On October 10-11, during the workshop "Government Systems in the Capital Cities: Experience of European Cities and Implications for Yerevan," Dian Schefold explored the position and the government system of the Capital City in Germany, providing some thought on its applicability to Yerevan, and discussed the draft Law on Local-Self Government of Yerevan. The workshop attracted 20 participants from National Assembly, Ministry of Territorial Administration, Communities Finance Officers Association, USAID, different universities and non-government organizations.

Dr. Schefold is a Professor of Public Law at the University of Bremen. His degrees include Dr. jur. Basle 1961, Advocate Basle 1964, Habilitation Berlin 1970; since then Professor first Berlin, then Bremen. Dr. Schefold has been involved in several research projects, including projects funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bremen public authorities, Hans Böckler-Stiftung, and Fritz Thyssen-Stiftung. He is an author of 17 books and 200 articles on public law, democracy and local self-governance.

October 8, 2008

The Social and Demographic Costs of Transition

“Armenian Socio-Demographic Initiative” NGO, jointly with Yerevan State Institute of Economics, and with financial and organizational support of Committee of Science of RA, Central Bank of Armenia, UNFPA representative in Armenia, and CRRC-Armenia organized an international conference under the title of “The Social and Demographic Costs of Transition” (Karapetyan Readings) on October 1-3, 2008 in Aghveran, Armenia. 

The conference was dedicated to the memory of professor Armen Karapetyan, who have established and developed the school of statistics, demography, sociology, mathematical methods in economic research and had a considerable contribution in the development of a computation technology in Armenia. 

The goal of the three-day conference was to discuss and to assess the social-economic and demographic consequences of transition to market economy, the qualitative and quantitative pecularities of those consequences in separate countries as well as tools of mitigation and liquidation of negative social-demographics consequences.

The conferences gathered 47 participants from Armenia, Russia, Germany, France and the USA. Active debate was held during the session on migration, moderated by the Chief of Migration Agency Gagik Yeganyan. 

While  Mr. Yeganyan was presenting the efforts of the agencies, towards the return of the migrants to Armenia,  YSU lecturer, Professor Ludmila Harutyunyan was supporting her position that the state agencies consider labor migration "an economic branch that does not require financial investments," and the return of the migrants is not at all desired. During the wrap-up session policy recommendations have been developed to present to interested parties dealing with the issue of migration, poverty reduction, and demographics. 

September 17, 2008

Educational Problems of Disabled Children

CRRC-Armenia fellow Anna Sargsyan carried out a research and assessed the education level, learning needs and social issues of disabled children living in Yerevan and Hrazdan cities. She presented the results of her study on September 12, 2008 within CRRC Fellowship Program.

The research was conducted through interviews with the disabled, their parents, nurses and principals in schools, nurses in polyclinics, as well as representatives of non-governmental and governmental organizations dealing with the disabled. Results of the survey show that, for example, only 2% of the disabled children are not registered in any educational structure from the Hrazdan town region, but in the villages this indicator is 21%. Special or alternative education is extremely limited or unavailable for children with special needs because of the lack of special schools in the region.

Monitoring of home education for the disabled children showed that persons with disabilities are mostly from poor families causing additional hardships. Furthermore, families of youth with disabilities are not aware of their rights. The existing stigma and prejudice in the society: parents do not want their children ridiculed in public; school community, including teachers and parents are not ready to accept youth with special needs.

To read the paper in full, please visit CRRC-Armenia website.

September 10, 2008

Lack of Adult Male Role Models in the Secondary Schools of Armenia

Careful review of research exploring gender themes in Armenia indicates gender issues in the country are currently under-evaluated and translated predominantly into women's issues. Most of the recommendations drawn from different research suggest special policies to support and reinforce their integration into traditionally male-dominated areas. According to CRRC-Armenia fellow Mariam Martirosyan, who studied the impact of the lack of adult male role models or senior male mentorship in Armenian schools, it is dangerous to ignore areas where significant under-representation of men is apparent, since in the long-term view, it may lead to a catastrophic outcome for the Armenian male, the Armenian family unit and Armenian society in general.

Mariam presented the results of the study to the community of school teachers and researchers on September 5, 2008. The conclusions are alarming; the lack of male teachers in contemporary Armenian schools causes misperceptions on masculinity and male gender values among teenagers, often resulting in increased crime rates and delinquent behavior among young male adolescents.

In the attempt to find solutions to the problem presented in the paper, the fellow recommended to attract and engage more men into Armenia's secondary schools by increasing their salaries; to bridge adult and young males via programs like the ZANG program, to assign male students of higher education institutions as mentors for primary, secondary and high-school students; to organize frequent tours to the army or to different factories dealing with technology and construction.

The fellow published an article in the June 2008 issue of "Journal of Education and Human Development" of the Scientific Journals International. The paper is available for download at the CRRC-Armenia website.

August 16, 2008

Technical Writing Skills for Research Papers

On August 15, 2008, CRRC-Armenia intern Dzovinar Derderian delivered a presentation on writing skills for research paper. During her two-month internship Dzovinar Derderian has reviewed multiple CRRC fellowship papers, and the presentation was based on technical writing issues identified in previous CRRC fellowship papers.

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: writing)

Dzovinar Derderian is a graduate student at Georgetown University specializing in Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies in the School of Foreign Service. She graduated from Tufts University in 2007 with a double-major in International Relations and Russian and East European Studies. She has also studied at the University College London in the UK as well as Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. Previously she has worked at the International Foundation of Electoral Systems in Washington, DC, and the Armenian International Policy Research Group in Yerevan, Armenia.

July 18, 2008

PFA Report on “Armenia’s 2008 Presidential Election”

For those who have been far from Armenia or who have not actively followed the plethora of developments that have occurred in the country for the past six months, the report encompassing a nearly full picture of the current situation in Armenia has finally become available. “Armenia’s 2008 Presidential Election: Select Issue an Analysis” is a report recently released by Policy Forum Armenia (PFA), a newly found association.

The report is the first of its kind following the February 19, 2008 Presidential Election of Armenia since it provides a full description of the pre-election and post-election events. The report includes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The information provided in the qualitative sections of this report is mainly based on Armenian local and international newspaper articles, reports released by international organization as well as blogs on the internet. Unlike the primarily technical reports by OSCE/ODIHR, the report does not just limit itself to describing the 2008 presidential elections, but also presents it in the larger context of political and social developments of post-Soviet Armenia.

For those who have closely followed the political developments in Armenia, a particularly interesting section of the report may be the section on the “Statistical Analysis of the Official Election Outcome”. In this section the authors utilize a number of tests developed in the 1990s by Sobianin and Sukhovolskiy, and later revised by other scholars such as Gelman, Kaiunov, Michael Myagkov (University of Oregon), Peter Ordeshook (California Institute of Technology), and their co-authors. The analysis of the election results through this methodology indicates inconsistencies in the 2008 Presidential Election. For example, the report reveals that there was much higher voter turnout in the regions outside of the capital city-Yerevan. This is unlikely, as generally considerably more civic activism is observed in Yerevan as opposed to the rural areas. Out of the 1,923 polling stations in Armenia more than 129 polling stations had higher than 90 percent voter turnout (p. 21, see figure below). Such turnout levels are highly unlikely, especially given the high migration levels. The other tests reveal inconsistencies within the distribution of individual candidates’ votes, in the relationship between the candidates’ votes and voter turnout, and within the distribution of invalid ballots. The report is careful to specify that the statistical findings do not provide definitive proof of election fraud, but only an (albeit powerful) indication.

Finally, the report concludes with a full section devoted to the civil society awakening in Armenia in connection with the 2008 Presidential Election. More specifically, the final section discusses the increase in the activism especially among women and the youth, as well as the rise in information sharing and networking through the internet. While the report does not provide any innovative recommendations to mediate the post-election discontent in Armenia, it provides a solid ground for policy makers to put the events of the past six months into perspective, assess what the available tools are and put the February 19, 2008 elections into the wider political context of Armenia’s newly independent history.

On a side note, similar studies of election fraud and perception were conducted by CRRC fellows in 2005 by Dr. Masis Poghosyan and Sergey Harutyunyan.

For more detail, check out the report itself at

July 15, 2008

Orientation Training on Social Bookmarking and Networking

What is the buzz about social networks and how to benefit them? Why share bookmarks online and how to discover websites based on ratings by other people? Social bookmarking and networking trends were discussed during the orientation training conducted by CRRC-Armenian librarian Gohar Khachatryan on June 14, 2008.

July 14, 2008

The Problem of Adaptation of the Diaspora Armenians in Armenian Society

Difficulties with socio-economic integration – unemployment and a feeling of being “a society within a society,” are some of the examples from the list of problems Diaspora Armenians face when immigrating to Armenia. CRRC-Armenia fellow, Anahit Mkrtchyan, researched why these issues are problematic for the Diaspora Armenians and made policy recommendations.

As the researcher finds, integration of immigrant Armenians into the Armenian society is rather weak, because of a number of essential differences in values, lifestyle, dialect, moral principles and ideology peculiar to both immigrant and local Armenians. Furthermore, Diaspora Armenians lack information on their homeland and have high expectation before moving to Armenia, which also causes difficulties for their full adaptation to the Armenian reality.

According to Mkrtchyan, attitudes of different groups toward creating integration policy vary. Local authorities avoid having repatriation and integration policies because immigrants can become competitive at the top levels in government and in business, also fear increased real estate costs. Many experts do understand the serious need of repatriation and integration policy, as repatriates will help to cultivate culture, legitimacy and civic attitudes in Armenian society. A group of representatives of Diaspora structures is sure that this policy is important, as the Diaspora faces assimilation, and there is a lack of patriotism among the younger generation.

Based on the local and Diaspora experts’ suggestions and findings, Anahit made the following policy recommendations:

• Consolidation of Armenian structures around two parallel missions and joint involvement in their realization.
• A nation wide integration program directed at better coordination of integration measures, offered on national and local levels. Involvement of trade unions, welfare structures, voluntary and social advocacy organizations and neighborhoods in drafting the adaptation and integration program. (Read more)

Mkrtchyan's work was published in the Turkish daily "Agos" in May 2008. The paper (PDF) in English is also available on the CRRC-Armenia website.

July 7, 2008

CRRC Publication Research Fellowship 2008 Available

Explore issues - handle data - satisfy your curiosity - get published - generate opportunities
CRRC is offering a round of research fellowships. Are you curious about a social issue? Do you have some ideas or hypotheses that you want to explore further? This fellowship could be the perfect opportunity for you!

What issues are we looking to address?
We're looking for social science research that addresses pressing issues your country faces. The Millennium Development Goals (click here) constitute one such urgent research agenda. Other likely issues include child poverty, youth, social capital, migration and democratization. Pretty much any advanced analysis based on our Data Initiative is of interest to us. We can also help you develop your topic if you are unsure about it, but are committed to undertaking professional research. Check "CRRC Fellowship" in the label cloud on the left.

What results?
We want you to produce international quality research. You should aim to publish your research in a peer-reviewed journal (we will help you find one). This will give your research international recognition. We also expect your work to contain prescriptive richness and ask you to present your findings to relevant interested groups (international, organizations, NGOs, government agencies) in your home country. We definitely want you to use some of our great data from the Data initiative 2007.

Who is the fellowship for?
You are smart, committed, curious and want to apply all your abilities. Typically you will have at least a Master's Degree. You are committed to develop your research ability and have a track record of excellence. You may work in fields other than research, but you are interested in getting back into research because you realize there are excellent long-term opportunities there. We require a working knowledge of English, since you want to publish internationally. Exceptions can be made for those doing quantitative and survey work. (Sorry, no funding for stipends abroad, or for those who live outside the Caucasus.)

What do you get?
Primarily you get the satisfaction of doing excellent work and of being part of a small but vibrant community of internationally recognized research scholars in the South Caucasus. Moreover, if you get published internationally, many opportunities follow. The fellowship provides an opportunity to prove your professionalism, which you can use for many other applications (jobs, consultancy work, joint research projects, conference participation, international research stipends such as CRRC's Carnegie Fellowship, to name the most obvious). Depending on your research project, you can also get between USD 2000 and 4000 for pursuing your research interest (surveys, for example, may have higher costs).

Is it easy?
Yes and no. We will help at every step. But it certainly is not easy money. In research you confront new challenges and difficult decisions all the time. That is why we are doing it, after all. It requires determination and persistence -- we hope you will join us in the thrill of discovery.

How to prepare?
Our online application procedure is specifically designed to help you develop your research proposal. Write us a short email now (latest by July 18, 2008) to Melissa at to find out more, telling us about your field or interest, and, if you have it, your provisional research topic. We will end you an email to let you know about the next step and to invite you to discuss your ideas at our open houses.

Survey Data Quality Assessment: Methodology and Techniques

The quality of data collected through sociological surveys is essential for ensuring representativeness of information, its reliability and accuracy. Survey data quality involves many aspects ranging from sample approach, instrument development to data processing and creation of the dataset.

The lecture "Survey Data Quality Assessment: Methodology and Techniques", organized by CRRC-Armenia and MCA-Armenia and conducted by Dr. Fritz Scheuren (USA) on July 7, 2008, elaborated on two aspects of improving quality of survey data with a focus on the Integrated Survey of Living Standards conducted by the National Statistical Service of Armenia.

June 27, 2008

Data Archiving and Processing

On June 26-27, 2008, CRRC-Armenia held a methodological training on data archiving and processing conducted by Karine Sahakyan. The training was based of the regional event recently conducted in Tbilisi by Gary Pollock, a professor of Sociology from UK. The follow up trainings became traditional, when one or more of the participants of the regional training share knowledge and skills with their Armenian counterparts.

The training was designed to promote understanding of the need to systematically archive and document data; to increase ability to differentiate data types, structures and ability to use SPSS syntax to perform data derivation, data merging and analysis and to promote understanding of user guides for prospective data users.

June 25, 2008

The Impact of Dual Citizenship on Poverty Reduction in Armenia

Another CRRC Research Fellow Hasmik Hovhanesian, presented her research findings on June 25, 2008. The research was entitled "The Impact of Dual Citizenship on Poverty Reduction in Armenia" and was generously funded by UNDP Armenia.

The paper assessed how dual citizenship could have an influence on poverty reduction in Armenia, exploring the experience of India. As usual, the paper can be downloaded from CRRC-Armenia website. Dzovinar Derderian, a graduate student at Georgetown University and an intern at CRRC, has reviews the paper, and made her comments.

Constitutional Right for Jury Trial:Contributing to the Process of Armenia’s Democratization

On June 24, 2008 Tigran Harutyunyan presented finding of his research implemented in the scope of CRRC-Armenia Research Fellowship Program, entitled "Constitutional Right for Jury Trial: Contributing to the Process of Armenia’s Democratization".

Using examples of former Soviet Republics (Russia and Georgia), that have already implemented the Jury Trial institution, and taking into consideration culture, customs and legal traditions in Armenia, the paper tries to elaborate on whether our society is ready for taking responsibility for its own well being by judging its peers.

The paper is English language is available on CRRC-Armenia website.

June 20, 2008

How to Develop Winning Research Proposals?

A lecture "How to Develop Winning Research Proposals?" was conducted by Dr. Hans Gutbrod, the Regional Director of CRRC on June 20, 2008. The training was designed for those social science researchers who are going to apply for research grants, particularly for the CRRC research fellowships in the summer 2008.The lecture was based on the lessons learned during the implementation of the CRRC Fellowship program, highlighting the major challenges that the applicants for the CRRC fellowships have faced during the past years, and it provided advice on how to improve those research proposals. It also explained what the goal and the main requirements for the CRRC fellowships were.

For more on CRRC research fellowships, please visit our website.

June 13, 2008

Economy, Trade and Ethnicity in Borderlands

On June 12, 2008 Artak Dabaghyan, CRRC Armenia Fellow presented findings on his research entitled "Economy, Trade and Ethnicity in Borderlands: Ethnographic Survey in Tavush Region of Armenia."

The ethnographical survey in the Tavush region of Armenia aims to explain how the trade on the Armenian-Georgian-Azerbaijani border affects peoples' ethnic stereotypes and political attitudes. The study included focus groups and interviews with community members, traders, local administration and NGO representatives, as well as on-site ethnographic observations.

Photos made by the fellow at the borderlands in Tavush region, Armenia.As usual, the paper is available at CRRC-Armenia website.

June 9, 2008

Judicial Design and Election Disputes: Lessons from Armenia and Georgia

On June 9, 2008 CRRC-Armenia hold a lecture-discussion "Judicial Design and Election Disputes: Lessons from Armenia and Georgia" conducted by Bryon J. Moraski, whose research focuses on the relationship between political institutions and political behavior.

This focus incorporates questions on strategic relations between branches of government, the politics of institutional choice, and the influence of short-term electoral incentives on the prospects for democratic consolidation. Currently he is conducting research on the role the judiciary has played in post-Soviet election disputes, including those in Armenia and Georgia. During the lecture Dr. Moraski shared some preliminary thoughts on cross-country learning processes.

Basics of Statistical and Econometric Analysis using SPSS

CRRC is committed to modernizing the skill sets of local researchers and providing hands-on opportunities to learn about relevant statistical software packages. Apart from designing SPSS Online Crash Course, it also organizes methodological trainings on SPSS on a regular basis.

From June 2-7 , 2008 CRRC-Armenia held a methodological training "Basics of Statistical and Econometric Analysis using SPSS" which was conducted by Ruben Gevorgyan. The training was designed for social scientists having basic knowledge in conducting quantitative analysis using Excel and SPSS packages. The training had e-learning and face-to-face components, and it aimed at providing social scientists with quantitative analysis skills including data collection, modeling and data analysis methods.

June 6, 2008

Breakdown of Social Structure: The Hitler Salute and Nazi-Germany

CRRC-Armenia in cooperation with YERITAC YNGO hosted a lecture-discussion entitled "Breakdown of Social Structure: The Hitler Salute and Nazi-Germany" conducted by Prof. Dr. Tilman Allert (Frankfurt a.M., Germany) on June 5, 2008.

Tilman Allert is a professor of sociology and social psychology at the University of Frankfurt. The lecture focused on his book The Hitler Salute: On the Meaning of a Gesture, which explains the phenomenon of the infamous greeting, the symbol of National Socialism, and shows what happened when the traditional ways of greetings were replaced with Hitler salute.

Prof. Allert is signing a copy of his book before donating it to the center.

June 5, 2008

Gap Analysis for Armenia: Monitoring Country Progress

On June 4, 2008 CRRC-Armenia held a lecture "Gap Analysis for Armenia: Monitoring Country Progress." The lecture was presented by Mr. Swedberg in a highly visual ‘spider chart’ format enabling comparisons of key indicators of Armenia to those of a cohort of benchmark nations in specific points in their recent history.

Mr. Swedberg covered the related topic of how recipient countries move from one category to another in the US Government’s assistance framework and touched upon lessons learned from legacy mechanisms developed in the recent phase-out missions in Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania. The lecture was followed by Q&A session and discussions.

June 3, 2008

Prevalence of Physical Activity and Barriers to Physical Activity Among Yerevan Adult Population

How important is physical activity in our lives? For some people it is a profession, for others it is something to watch on TV, while some people do not like it at all and believe they do not have to be physically active to live a full life. Despite the proven benefits of physical activity and increasing knowledge of the health risks of sedentary lifestyle, most of the world continues to live in a sedentary society.

On June 3, 2008, at CRRC-Armenia premises Liana Hakobyan presented findings of her research entitlted "Prevalence of Physical Activity and Barriers to Physical Activity Among Yerevan Adult Population" conducted within CRRC Research Fellowship Program.

This cross-sectional telephone survey aimed to determine the prevalence of physical activity among adults in Yerevan, Armenia; to identify the association between physical activity and sociodemographic indicators (age, gender, education, occupation, income and marital status) as well as to reveal the major barriers and motivators to physical activity. The surveyed sample consisted of 369 men and women, aged 18-65 years old, speaking Armenian and living in Yerevan, Armenia.

Overall, 57% of the participants consider themselves as physically active people. There is a discrepancy between subjective perception of physical activity and objective level of activity: from those 194 people reported no activity or minimal activity, 48% are satisfied by their level of physical activity. Ms. Hakobyan has explored the extent of physical activity of adults in Yerevan, health risks that they face when they have sedentary life style, and barriers to physical activity. She has also developed approaches for an effective public health policy to improve the health status of adults.

The paper in English is available at CRRC-Armenia website.

Access to JSTOR collections through GDN

Global Development Network has granted free access to JSTOR Journal Collection (Business, Business II and Arts and Science II) to GDNet Registered Eligible Researchers on the Knowledge Base. If you are a researcher in a developing country, register with GDN to feature in the Knowledge Base and take advantage of GDNet’s online services.

For more information on how to access JSTOR, please, visit GDN website here.

May 26, 2008

ARMACAD Yahoo! Group

If you are interested in receiving announcements on local and international workshops, conferences, awards, scholarships and more directly to your inbox, please, join the Armenian Association for Academic Partnership yahoo group.

This group aims to unite scholars in Armenia and abroad studying or working in the sphere of humanities and social sciences, and provide necessary mechanisms for mutual collaboration. The ARMACAD yahoo group already has more than 560 members active in different academic centers within Armenia, and its growing fast.

To join the mailing list, please, visit ARMACAD Yahoo! Group.

May 23, 2008

Economic Issues within Improvement and Globalization of the Higher Education System in Armenia

On May 22, 2008 Hrant Harutyunyan conducted a training entitled "Economic Issues within Improvement and Globalization of the Higher Education System in Armenia" at CRRC-Armenia premises.
Using the case of the developments in Armenia's higher education system, the lecturer illustrated the theoretical and methodological issues for discovering interrelations between education and economy.

To download the training material (PDF format, 407 KB), please click here.

May 21, 2008

SPSS Online Crash Course

CRRC Regional Team has put together online crash course on SPSS, statistical software for data analysis. Watch the video on extracting data to get started.

For doing advanced analysis with SPSS, turning data into attractive charts, generating output in Excel, and more please visit or CRRC website.

May 19, 2008

AIPRG holds its Annual Conference on the Economy of Armenia

From World Bank office in Yerevan, Armenia CRRC-Armenia Country Director Heghine Manasyan and Program Manager Arsen Aslanyan held a presentation on migration and remittances within AIPRG's annual conference on May 17-18, 2008. The conference was hosted at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC, and for the first time this year program included three presentations from Yerevan. The two day conference entitled "Looking Forward: Global Competitiveness of the Armenian Economy" had sessions on exchange rate dynamics, productivity and market structure, the competitiveness of the Armenian economy and growth, tourism and IT, the role of Diaspora, education and more.

Based on data from CRRC DI surveys Heghine and Arsen reported on some migration related phenomena and trends that could impact Armenia's further development and position in the South Caucasus region. The presentation revealed follow up questions on the objective of the survey, data availability on investment in human capital and brain drain.

For more information on the conference, please visit AIPRG's official website at

May 15, 2008

Analyzing Data using Hierarchical Linear Models

On May 15-16 CRRC-Armenia organized a methodological training on "How to Analyze Data using Hierarchical Linear Models?" conducted by Katy Pearce.

Hierarchical linear models (HLM) are a type of model used for analyzing data in a clustered or nested structure. An example of such data is students who are nested within classrooms, which are nested within schools; in this situation, we would expect that students within a cluster, such as a classroom or school, would share some similarities due to their common environment. Hierarchical linear models are also known as multilevel models, random coefficient models, or random effects models. HLM can be used to analyze a variety of questions with either categorical or continuous dependent variables.

Ms. Katy Pearce is a Ph.D. student from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Fulbright Scholar in Armenia. She has extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods. Ms. Pearce is particularly interested in cross-cultural comparison, particularly looking at national cultural variables and attitudes towards adoption of technologies. She also is interested in social effects of technology adoption.

May 6, 2008

Fitch Ratings and Armenia’s Sovereign Rating Outlook

On April 29, 2008 CRRC-Armenia invited a round table on Fitch Ratings and Armenia's sovereign rating outlook during which Mr. Edward Parker, Senior Director for Russia and the CIS, Bulgaria and Slovakia in Fitch's Sovereigns team, and Mr. Andrew Colquhoun, Director in Fitch's Emerging Europe team, met with Armenian experts.

Fourteen experts from different insitutions such as AIPRG, FSDP, ICARE, Armenian Coppers Program, Yerevan State University, VGM Partners, Central Bank of Armenia, AEPLAC, Armimpexbank and CRRC-Armenia took part in two-hour round table to lay down their opinions and concerns about economic risks in Armenia.

Fitch Ratings is a leading global rating agency committed to providing the world's credit markets with independent, timely and prospective credit opinions. Built on a foundation of organic growth and strategic acquisitions, Fitch Ratings has grown rapidly during the past decade gaining market presence throughout the world and across all fixed income markets.

In 2006, Armenia received an international credit rating for the first time. Fitch assigned a lower 'BB-' sovereign credit rating indicating a relatively high risk of doing business, as the economy remains vulnerable to shocks due to its high degree of dollarization, underdeveloped financial services, low value-added economic activity, as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The last rating was published in May 1, 2007, when Fitch Ratings revised the Outlook on Armenia's 'BB-' IDRs to Positive.

The images illustrate how last ratings made Armenia relate to other countries in the peer group, as well as Armenia's particular strengths and weaknesses.

To learn more, please visit

2008 Yerevan Faculty Student Global Multidiscipline Conference on Research and Teaching

2008 Yerevan Faculty Student Global Multidiscipline Conference on Research and Teaching was held jointly by Olu Olu Institute Consortium for Teaching, Research, Learning and Development, a non profit global professional academic organization, and CRRC-Armenia on April 26.

The conference provided the opportunity to students and faculty throughout the world to present works on research and teaching in various area of academic discipline. It is the second year already CRRC-Armenia is helping in advancing the mission of the ooiCTRLD, which is collaborating internationally in search of knowledge for the benefit of humankind. The ooiCTRLD offered to include in its publications the English version of any of the research article submitted to CRRC that has never been published in any English publication, free of charge.

For more details, please visit

Migration and Remittances: Data from CRRC DI Surveys

At the conference Migration from Armenia to Russia: the Role of Civil Society, Networks, and Dialogue with Government CRRC-Armenia Country Director Heghine Manasyan and Program Manager Arsen Aslanyan presented CRRC findings related to migration and remittances from its yearly Data Initiative.

Migration from Armenia to Russia: International Conference on Migration

Eurasia Partnership Foundation, together with the Armenian organization Zinvori Mair convened a two-day international conference entitled Migration from Armenia to Russia: the Role of Civil Society, Networks, and Dialogue with Government on April 29-30 at the Congress Hotel in Yerevan. Total number of 90 experts on migration issues from state and non-governmental entities from Armenia and Russia attended. The conference was part of Eurasia Partnership Foundation’s labor migration program, which provides information to migrants and potential migrants through NGO-based service centers, which also aid in migrants’ return and reintegration.

At the conference, EPF presented for the first time the findings of new CRRC research study on migration (2007-2008). The survey research was conducted in eight communities in Armenia in close cooperation with seven Migration Resource and Returnee Centers established as a part of EPF’s Migration Program. The Migration Research Project aimed at building the professional capacity of regional NGO-based service centers to collect and analyze data about their communities. Its aim was also to enrich knowledge on migration trends in communities and serve as a baseline study for further research.

A total of 1862 households with or without migrants participated in the survey, and an additional 388 migrants were interviewed separately for their migration experiences. The survey is representative on a community level and describes migration trends in specific communities. Yet, some similarities across communities allow us to make generalizations. Based on the aggregated study results, 92 percent of interviewed migrants choose Russia as their major destination country, and 82 percent of them migrate for employment as seasonal migrants. The majority of migrants prefer to find their lodging with their employer, since it allows them to save money on rent and food expenses.

The results demonstrate that seasonal migrants for the most part have the intention of satisfying their basic needs, rather than becoming more affluent. It allows a migrant’s household to reach or maintain a socio-economic status equal to their reference group – the other members of the community. The main difficulties that migrants experience upon return are related to job opportunities in the country: finding a job and starting a new business. The job market in Armenia cannot meet the demand of those with a low level of education and professional skills.

In addition to CRRC’s migration research study, Advanced Social Technologies presented the results of its 2005 nationwide migration study, and CRRC presented its findings related to migration and remittances from its yearly Data Initiative. The conference, which was made possible by funding from USAID, brought together different stakeholders to present the experience of government and non-government entities in addressing migration-related issues. The conference also encouraged bilateral cooperation between government and non-governmental organizations in Russia and Armenia to develop migration policies, as well as special assistance and reintegration programs for migrants.

May 5, 2008

Making Deposit Insurance Work for Transition: Form, Substance and Implementation

On April 15, 2008 in the frame of CRRC 2007 Fellowship Program Mr. Hayk Zayimtsyan presented the results of his study entitled "Making Deposit Insurance Work for Transition: Form, Substance and Implementation" to the larger audience. The study covers the peculiarities associated with implementing deposit insurance in the countries in transition, particularly, in Armenia.

The young researcher has analyzed and presented the possible ways of regulation, management and financing of deposit insurance in Armenia.

As usual the draft paper is available on CRRC-Armenia website. Your comments are most appreciated.

April 26, 2008

Economic Forecasts Platform

Central Bank of RA has recently initiated the creation of Economic Forecasts Platform with the prime mission of increasing public awareness on macroeconomic issues. The country director of CRRC-Armenia Heghine Manasyan is among the selected professionals of the platform.
The mission of this project implemented by the CBA is to increase Armenia's macroeconomic developments' public awareness and to arouse interest among economists.

April 7, 2008

Presidential Elections 2008 Voter Survey: Looking at what voters want

CRRC-Armenia and IREX Core Media Support Program held a presentation on Presidential Elections 2008 Voter Survey:Looking at what voters want conducted by Ms. Leah Kohlenberg and Ms. Gayane Mamikonyan on April 4, 2008.

The presentation focused on the goals, methodology and main findings of the survey conducted by IREX in November-December 2007 on the last presidential election and the approaches for delivering the survey results.

Click on the image to view the Presidential Election 2008, for more please visit

Presentation slides are available for download here.

Ms. Leah Kohlenberg is a former Time Magazine journalist who has worked as a consultant and trainer in various areas of the Soviet Union for the past decade. She was a Knight Fellow, and she has run trainings for various USAID-funded projects, the Open Society Institute, BBC Marshall Plan of the Mind. She has organized and taught multiple trainings in Mongolia, Armenia and Georgia, and has been working with Armenian journalists since 2001. She edited two Armenian-language election guides for Armenia, in May 2007 and February 2008.

Ms. Gayane Mamikonyan has an MA in Political Science from AUA. She has been a research consultant within various institutions, including the Turpanjian Center for Policy Analysis, the Embassy of India in Armenia and IREX CMSPA.

March 27, 2008

Main Development Directions of Armenian Rural Population

A presentation on "Main Development Directions of Armenian Rural Population" was conducted by Mr. Ruben Karapetyan in the frame of CRRC Fellowship Program on March 27, 2008.

The research focuses on the influence of the socio-economic, demographic, cultural and political changes on Armenian rural population during last decades. The survey leaded by Mr. Edik Kyureghyan revealed how rural population changed its perceptions about family structure, culture, traditions, social values and more.

The database might be useful not only for researchers but also for public policy analysts. The research paper in Armenian is available as well.