Americans for Artsakh
c/o NKR Office
1334 G St, NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 223-3440

Americans for Artsakh (AfA) is pleased to announce the successful
completion of its first summer humanities program for university
students. Participants gathered together in Stepanakert from Artsakh
State University, Mesrob Mashtots University, and Yerevan State
University for a special two-week intensive academic program that
offered courses in a range of social science-related subjects. The
program was sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union. Mesrob
Mashtots University and the VITA non-governmental organization provided
training venues for the classes.

Academic Coordinator Asbed Kotchikian, as well as local coordinators
Arshak Balayan, Hamazasp Danielyan, and Gayane Vardanyan brought
together leading scholars from the United States, Canada, and Armenia
for this unique pilot program. Courses were taught in political science
theory, anthropology, gender studies, and other related subjects. In
addition, visiting specialists from Armenia gave lectures in media, art
and art theory, civil society, Armenia-Diaspora relations, and conflict
resolution. Local representatives from the Halo Trust landmine removal
organization, the Armenian Relief Society, and the Naregatsi Art
Institute provided overviews of their programs in Artsakh.

Beyond the theoretical aspects of the program, short seminars were held
in résumé and application writing, social networking, and other
practical skill-building techniques. At the end of the program, the
students were divided into four groups and gave presentations on select
topics to the whole group, after which they were challenged in question
and answer sessions about the details of their work.

The students' final evaluations indicated great satisfaction with the
program as a whole, and especially with the instructors. Several
participants noted that they wished the course had been longer and hope
that similar projects will be organized in the future. "The program was
very useful and we learned a lot," remarked Astghik Baldryan, a
participant from Armenia. "We could not have imagined a better
organized and implemented curriculum." Nare Avagyan, a participant from
Artsakh, said that "The instructors were excellent, and I hope more of
my classmates will participate next time."

Students and faculty also had opportunities to socialize outside the
classroom. The group organized excursions to the village of Khndzoresk,
as well as Tatev Monastery in southern Armenia, and were able to
experience Tatev's new aerial tramway. Towards the end of the program,
the staff organized meetings with other AfA alumni (some of whom also
participated in this year's project) to offer previous and current
participants opportunities to share their experiences and discuss ideas
for further cooperation.

For more information about Americans for Artsakh, go to