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!