Tag Archives: Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia

On 19 March the European, in partnership with the Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies, launched the EU TUMO Convergence Centre for Engineering and Applied Science. This is a state-of-the-art STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ecosystem for young adults in Armenia. The European Union has granted €12.5 million for the project. Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, and Piotr Świtalski, EU Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, were the keynote speakers at the launch ceremony.

ARS_1130_Director Meredith was excited to be present at the launch event: “This centre captures the imagination, the spirit of Armenia – this lies at the heart of the future of the European Union. That’s why we all need to invest in innovation. So far, three EU Commissioners have visited this centre – I don’t know any other centre in any other country visited by three EU Commissioners. This is a tribute to your outstanding work and to the quality of your students. I am very proud to launch this strong investment project on behalf of the EU. This launch takes part at a really important moment in EU-Armenia relations. Investment in innovation and young people is so important, as it is an investment in our future relationship. Armenians are particularly brilliant at STEM and I am sure they will succeed”.

ARS_1101_Ambassador Świtalski welcomed all aspects of expanding Tumo: “Today we are linking Armenia with Europe, we are building fusion – what is best in Armenia – Tumo – with what is best in Europe – the EU. We will be expanding Tumo physically by adding a new structure, expanding its philosophy, adding people from new age groups, and stimulating new interests in programmes. Through this project we will try to bridge the gap between science and industry in Armenia”.

ARS_1198_Close to 15,000 square metres of building space will be constructed in Yerevan. The campus will include infrastructure for educational programming such as Tumo Labs, a STEM research laboratory, a conference centre, and a revenue-generating commercial space to ensure the centre’s long-term financial sustainability. Tumo Labs constitute a logical continuation of the Tumo programme, allowing university students and young professionals to gain applied and state-of-the-art skills related to STEM once they reach the age of 18. The centre will be a hub for research, education and start-ups, bringing together local and international partners to bridge the gap between higher education and industry in Armenia. The French University of Armenia is a major partner on the project, and its new Faculty for Informatics and Applied Mathematics will be part of the Convergence Centre.  After the signing event, attendees walked to the site of the future centre and participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking.

On 28 November the civil society-government forum “The Possibilities of Introducing Mechanisms of Transitional Justice in the Republic of Armenia in the Light of International Experience” was held. The forum was organised by the Armenian Lawyers’ Association in cooperation with the Armenian government as part of the EU-funded “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” project. The essence of transitional justice, mechanisms of application, and the necessity of its introduction in Armenia were presented alongside best international practice. The results of the study will be summarised after the conference, adding proposals that will greatly assist the government and political actors to make final decisions on how to implement transitional justice. Ambassadors of foreign states, high-ranking officials and representatives of Armenian state agencies, international organisations, civil society organisations, lawyers, and experts participated in the event.

IMG_9974The Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, welcomed participants: “Introducing elements of restorative justice is a sovereign decision of the residents of Armenia. However, if a request is made to the EU, we are ready to support the government in this process. The EU, as the largest contributor to the transitional justice (TJ) process, especially in its neighbourhood, can offer best experience and advice on how to connect this process with overall justice reforms. That said, we will never try to give even a hint of advice on how TJ should be conducted it in Armenia. The comprehensive and transparent nature of the process is essential, otherwise any TJ efforts will end up with selective justice. I believe that Armenia should make all efforts to avoid this. Irrespective of this decision, the EU will continue its support to the justice sector reform in Armenia”.

IMG_9928 copyActing First Deputy Prime Minister Ararat Mirzoyan stressed TJ’s importance: “Transitional justice is interesting not only to professionals, but also to wider society. Massive violations of human rights have taken place in Armenia over many years, and today there is a possibility to disclose the truth. There must be criminal cases, the guilt, the crime and the names of the violators should be recorded, so that such these things are not repeated again. They will be forgiven on behalf of society through reconciliation”.

The “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” project is being implemented with the financial support of the European Union by a consortium of civil society organisations (CSOs). The project aims to enhance the influence of CSOs and CSO coalitions/networks on public policies in Armenia.

“Tales of Neto” is already available to download for free on the App Store (goo.gl/skuRfJ) and Google Play (goo.gl/zGLnE8). On 12 December the Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, launched the anti-corruption game at the Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies.
Two years were needed for 16-20-year-old students at Tumo to create this next-generation game. The process was funded by the European Union. On the fictional planet of Neto, the game has levels full of challenges for players to raise awareness about the risks of the corruption, and rewards players which confront it.

ARS_9792Ambassador Świtalski thanked Tumo for its cooperation and the quality of the game: ‘We started the year with the “Stop the Flow of Corruption” campaign. This launch is the crowning event of this campaign – we wanted to raise awareness of the negative effects of corruption and to highlight the EU’s efforts in supporting the fight against corruption in Armenia. Therefore, today is a big day for us. I am happy to be at the Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies, which has become a visiting card for Armenia. Tumo is regular agenda item for us when we invite colleagues from Brussels. Commissioners and other officials love to visit here, as Tumo is the example of a positive future of Armenia. The project was launched two years ago and we are naturally very happy that it has been so successful. I am looking forward to seeing the game in other languages. I hope people enjoy the game and say good things’.

ARS_9774Harmik Azarian, the Head օf Software Development of Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies and the project/game coordinator outlined three key factors of the project: ‘Firstly, we should not forget that this game was created by teenagers who learned everything at Tumo. As the project manager, I was always amazed by their professionalism. Secondly, we should look at the impact this project has had on Tumo itself. The success of the young people who worked on the game gives massive inspiration to the rest of the students who come to Tumo every week.  Thirdly, it’s all about fighting corruption. We hope that a lot of things in the fantasy planet of Neto will be remembered by young people, whether it be embezzlement, bribery, or money laundering. Later, we hope they will not be tolerant of corruption’.