THE HRAYR MAROUKHIAN FOUNDATION: SOCIAL DEMOCRACY IN PRACTICE

Haytoug Magazine
http://www.haytoug.org/3163/the-hrayr-maroukhian-foundation-social-democracy-in-practice
Aug 30 2011

A new foundation that promises something new in Armenia

YEREVAN - The Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation (HMF), a social democratic
think tank founded in 2009 in the Republic of Armenia is a non-profit
Armenian foundation committed to the development and advancement
of public policy issues that espouse the basic values of social
democracy through education, training, research, and regional and
international cooperation.

Participants in the Hrayr Maroukhian Training, May 2011, Dilijan.

The aims of the foundation are to contribute to and actively promote
a comprehensive national, regional and international dialogue focusing
on current political, economic and social developments and challenges,
with a primary concentration on Armenia and the South Caucasus.

Among its many diverse projects, the Foundation produces academic
research papers to serve in political decision-making and policy,
organizes conferences and round tables, publishes studies on social
democracy and conducts trainings for young political leaders.

Since its creation, the HMF has initiated and executed several key
projects.

Presenting the findings from one of the working groups.

In order to address a number of deeply rooted problems in the Republic
of Armenia and ensure the development of social democracy, sufficient
policy research needs to be developed. For this reason the Hrayr
Maroukhian Foundation along with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation of
Germany conducted a groundbreaking study on social reform in Armenia.

The purpose of this study is to present an alternative vision for
social reform in the country by developing feasible, financially
sustainable policy options in the areas of housing, unemployment and
health. Through a designated working group of experts focusing on each
specific policy area, this study aims to implement the populations'
right to quality housing, employment and accessible and affordable
health care. The Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation is currently in the final
phase of publishing the final policy paper in Armenian and English and
will present it to government officials, political parties, academics,
non-governmental organizations and foundations and international
organizations at a conference in November 2011 in Yerevan.

As an important means for the dissemination of social democratic
principles, the Foundation recently translated and published
"Foundations of Social Democracy." This book, originally printed in
German, serves to provide individuals with a better understanding
of the values, goals and the meaning of social democracy in the
21st century. The book is available at the HMF offices in Yerevan
and a full electronic version will also be available on its website
www.maroukhianfoundation.org.

Trainer Bjorn Kulp leading the discussion.

With the clear understanding that the youth have a key role to play
in the empowerment of the country, the HMF organized a comprehensive
three-day training seminar for twenty young political leaders in
Dilijan, Armenia in May 2011. The training encompassed three main
components for leadership building skills: Strategic Planning,
Future Search and World Cafe. The strategic planning session taught
participants how to define the goals and objectives of the youth
organizations they were active in, as well as finding the most
productive methods in implementing those goals. Later, the young
leaders took part in Future Search, which outlined methods to develop
alternative futures by finding diverse ways for solving problems. The
final component titled World Cafe aimed to foster problem solving
dialogue in unconventional settings such as coffee shops. After three
intensive days of training, participants left the seminar equipped
with innovative techniques and a clearer vision of how to effectively
work within their youth organizations.

Recently, HMF received a grant from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs to produce a six part mini-series about the problems,
challenges and achievements of Armenian women entitled "Women in
Armenia." Through these six half hour segments, to be aired on Yerkir
Media in the fall, HMF plans to highlight the difficulties encountered
by women in private and public life while at the same time showcasing
the positive impact women have in the democratic development of their
society. The segment topics to be covered include, women in politics,
women in business, women in armed conflict, domestic violence against
women, sexual harassment against women and women and health care.

Seminar participants taking part in the World Cafe training.

In October 2011, the Foundation will be conducting a special training
on social democracy. This project will focus on the basics of social
democracy; European SD in the last two decades; debates about the
future of SD and its relevance for Armenia. One of the authors of the
book, "Foundations of Social Democracy," Christian Krell will lead the
training with a co-trainer for political leaders in Yerevan. During
the training, the current political and economic situation in Armenia
will be discussed.

By conducting policy research, organizing training seminars and the
dissemination of information, along with other innovative projects in
the future, the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation will lay the foundations
for long-term, systematic solutions to social, political and economic
problems and will contribute to the development of more transparent,
accountable, equitable and prosperous societies.

For more information about the activities of the Hrayr Maroukhian
Foundation, please visit: www.maroukhianfoundation.org or find us on
Facebook at Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation.