Tag Archives: Eurasia Partnership Foundation

On 11 December Matenadaran in Yerevan hosted the Universal Rights Award Ceremony. This ceremony has existed since 2012, and was the first initiative of the international community to highlight the contributions of Armenia’s civil and political rights activists, government officials, media and civil society representatives to promoting human rights. The organisers honoured individuals working in Armenia to promote human rights, freedom of expression, diversity, religious acceptance, democracy, transparency, legal reform and equal rights in the country.

ARS_8926The UN resident Coordinator in Armenia, Bradley Busetto, presented the “Woman of Courage” award to the Chairman of the Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organisation, Ani Balkhian. The Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan, Natalia Voutova, handed over the “Government Reformer” award to Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Justice, Vigen Kocharyan. The US Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, presented the “Media Excellence” award to MediaLab Newsroom Laboratory. The UK Deputy Head of Mission, Alison Chick, gave the “Freedom Defender” award to the representative of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Isabella Sargsyan. This year, for the first time, the French and German Embassies in Armenia presented a joint “Franco-German Prize for Equal Chances”. The Gyumri-based “Agate – Rights Defence Centre for Women with Disabilities” NGO received this award.

ARS_8975The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, awarded the “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO and its Programme Director, Daniel Ioannisyan, with the “Promoting Justice and Transparency” award. He said: ‘It is a big day for all of us. This award is very important, at least from my perspective. We live in times when demand for justice in our society is growing – Armenia is no exception. We need more justice – for centuries our civilisation developed on the concept of delayed justice: justice will come, but later. Transparency is a part of justice. I want to congratulate Daniel for his courageous efforts to increase transparency in Armenia. Transparency can be inconvenient, “dirty” work as it can show us things we do not want to see. But thanks to guys like him, we are aware what to change in our society. I hope that, due to his initiative, in the coming months and years Armenia will dedicate itself to cleaning up its electoral processes and ridding its schools of political manipulation and propaganda. This is very important for democracy in Armenia’.

On 26 June, the “BRIDGE for CSOs” programme was officially launched in Yerevan. The programme goal is to strengthen the capacity of Armenian CSOs to better respond to citizens’ needs by linking Armenia CSOs with expertise in the Diaspora. The programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), in cooperation with the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF). The three-year programme, launched in December 2016, offers a package of activities.
The project will conduct in-depth sector-related needs assessments of up to 200 CSOs to map their strengths and needs; offer tailor-made training to up 200 individuals from 80 CSOs; provide on-the-job consultation to 80 CSOs through pro-bono Diaspora- and Armenia-based experts; institutionalise capacity by launching an academic NGO Management Certificate Programme; provide grants to support small-scale projects; increase trust in civil society. The innovative skill transfer platform (www.together4armenia.am) will enhance cooperation between Armenian CSOs and the Diaspora. It will feature success stories of international cooperation, CSO achievements, reports, sectorial information and other information to bridge existing gaps between international and national CSOs.
The Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, and the AGBU Armenian president and Central Board Member, Vasken Yacoubian, attended the kick-off event and made opening remarks.

ARS_9994Ambassador Świtalski was excited to participate in the programme launch: ‘It is important to support the development of civil society. Armenia has more than 4,000 public organisations, almost 1,000 foundations; even if a portion of these organisations and foundations are active, this still harbours big potential. Armenia can be proud of its civil society activism; it is very important for the development of the country. As the EU, we see our priority to work with partners like AGBU to strengthen the fabric of civil society in Armenia. AGBU is a longstanding, respectable organisation; it is a big honour to work with them, we hope it is a beginning of a beautiful journey, and we believe strongly in the success of the programme’.

ARS_9935Vasken Yacoubian thanked the EU for the opportunity to implement the programme: ‘We were excited when the EU announced this call for proposals and we prepared a proposal that involved civil society both from Armenia and Diaspora. We are very happy that even the Armenian government understands the importance of civil society for the country. This shows the ranking of Armenia – we rank highly for civil society in the region. We are very honoured and happy that we were successful in getting this grant and that we are EU partners. AGBU will be a trusted partner for Armenia. We believe this will be the beginning of our cooperation, which will hopefully extend to different sectors’.