December 24, 2012

Caucasus Barometer Presentations

On Wednesday, December 12, staff members from CRRC-Armenia visited the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) and observed presentations that students had prepared using the Caucasus Barometer. Eight pairs of students each presented their findings on statistics related to the social and economic standards among Armenians, Georgians, and Azerbaijanis. Each group had a unique hypothesis and analyzed different parts of the data set. There were interesting conclusions that took an impressive amount of time and effort to develop.


Using PowerPoint presentations, the groups investigated their hypotheses by creating relevant charts and graphs. CRRC-Armenia Director Heghine Manasyan and Research Director Drew Loizeaux were on hand to offer their advice on how to best utilize the Caucasus Barometer tool and conduct social science research.

Overall, the day was a great example of CRRC’s data in action and a great outreach opportunity for the institute. Thanks to ANAU for the invitation to attend the event, and to the students for their hard work and thoughtful presentations.

Currently, we are looking forward to the presentations of a group of master’s students at ANAU on the Caucasus Barometer, and will be sure to provide an update after we attend.

December 10, 2012

New Fellows at CRRC-Armenia

By Peter Jones, CRRC International Fellow

CRRC – Armenia is excited to announce the latest cohort of its annual fellowship program. The program was launched in 2004 to support researchers in the South Caucasus interested in pursuing original policy-oriented research.

For the 2012-2013 program, 9 fellows working on 8 distinct research projects were selected through a competitive process of peer review and a selection committee of leading practitioners and researchers. The topics range from political issues such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to social problems like the existing stigmas of Armenians toward homosexuality.

Anna Malkhasyan’s research will explore the relationship between online social networks and social capital formation processes. She will use a web survey of Facebook users and a series of qualitative interviews to understand how Facebook users promote their initiatives and engage their audience.

Artyom Mkrtchyan will explore the frequency that the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan refer to the Karabakh conflict and the context of these references. He will also investigate the rhetoric used when the conflict is mentioned and whether it is offensive or defensive in nature.

Arusyak Aleksanyan seeks to understand what political, social, economic, and educational developments, if any, precondition democracy or if democracy preconditions these factors. Her hypothesis is that each country’s democracy is formed from the specific national, cultural, and traditional conditions that are unique to that country.

Karine Markosyan’s research will focus on female sex workers in Armenia in order to understand the potential risks of a future HIV epidemic in the country. In particular, she will evaluate how frequently and consistently Armenian female sex workers refuse to provide unprotected sex to their male clients. She will also look at the demographic, psychological, and behavioral predictors behind their refusal to engage in unprotected sex.

Lusine Saghumyan will research the causes for homosexual-related stigmas in Armenia.Her hypothesis is that such stigmas among Armenian youth are based on national, cultural, and religious attributes.

Mariam Matevosyan is researching the relationship between trust and economic growth in the South Caucasus. Her research question explores how trust in core democratic institutions and economic growth relate. She is also investigating regional trends in the level of interpersonal trust and the level of trust in core democratic institutions.

Tatevik Zohrabyan will address two principal topics in her research: the socio-economic determinants of female labor force participation in the South Caucasus, and the factors that impact females’ perception that men are more entitled to employment when jobs are scarce.
Vanuhi Mnatsakanyan and Ruzanna Gabrielyan are exploring Armenia’s system of setting the minimum wage level. More specifically, their research question is whether the system must change and, if so, why and how to go about this.

These fellows are only in the beginning stages of their research. However, their topics are very unique and their findings could affect future public policy or decision making in Armenia. Fellows are required to submit their publications to a peer-reviewed journal in English, which CRRC sees as important for integrating the Caucasus into global academic dialogue and discourse. CRRC-Armenia wishes it fellows luck in their projects and is excited to see their finished projects next year. 

As these projects finish, many of our fellows will be presenting their findings. Follow our facebook page here for updates on these presentations and much more!

December 4, 2012

Building Skills and Knowledge: Demography Training for Government Staff

Recently, the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) - Armenia and the United Nations Fund for Population Armenia (UNFPA) organized series of lectures on "Demography Statistics", hosted by CRRC.

The Training of Trainers (TOT) (October 1-5, 2012) was conducted by an international expert on demographic statistics, Mrs. Svetlana Novoselova. The main target audience of this training was Armenian state civil servants from various state agencies that deal with demographic issues. Building on the success of the TOT, three more trainings (October 22-26, November 5-9, and November 19-23) were conducted by acknowledged experts R. Yeganyan, K. Kuyumdjan, L. Kharatyan, and others.

A comprehensive syllabus was created, addressing the need for state and public functionaries to have a deeper knowledge about the demography of Armenia, which they use in various aspects of their work. The course covered the basics of demographic data analysis, demography dynamics, population makeup and predictions, demographic policy making, and included a wide variety of practice exercises and lectures.

After the conclusion of the trainings, CRRC Armenia and UNFPA hosted a celebration dinner at “Camelot” restaurant, where all the participants were awarded with certificates of completion.