1. Educational activities to raise consciousness
Educational activities to raise consciousness include IDHR’s members, staff and adherents as well as the public at large having at its foundation the development of education, civic thinking, self-consciousness and culture. This includes civic education provided by IDHR, cultivation of civic culture and consciousness, as well as the imperative of education as the main strategic priority for our state. IDHR sees education as the key to the development of Armenia and the Armenian nation through working of free, creative, conscious, responsible and proactive individuals and citizens.
In the framework of its educational activities to raise consciousness IDHR has organized civic education courses in Yerevan and the regions since 2002. In 2006 IDHR will implement the Civic Conferences Project in Yerevan and Lori, Shirak, Vayots Dzor, Armavir and Tavush regions of Armenia. In the course of implementing this project IDHR will adjust to the Armenian reality and apply the “civic conferences approach” and method developed in Northern Europe and currently used in more than 20 countries. This method uses a model of a given society to empower its citizens and inhabitants by raising their awareness and consciousness on a selected issue and giving them an opportunity to formulate their demands and influence public policy making.
The topics of the civic conferencesinclude “The Issue of Poverty Overcoming in Armenia”, and “The Role of Education in the Development of a Democratic State Based on Social Justice and Solidarity in Armenia”. Education and citizenship related issues and analyses presented in C.A. Torres’ book “Democracy, Education and Multiculturalism: Dilemmas of Citizenship in a Global World” translated from English into Armenian and published by IDHR in 2005 will be used along with these topics.
To participate in these projects you can visit or call IDHR Centre in Yerevan and IDHR's Libraries and Civic Information Centres in the regions of Armenia. For additional information please visit the «Announcements» section on IDHR’s website.
In the framework of its educational activities IDHR cooperates with individuals and institutions that share IDHR’s ideology and principles and promote civic activism on volunteer basis.
2. Publishing activities to raise awareness
Publishing activities to raise awareness. IDHR disseminates its values, ideology, opinion and position as well as those of the best Armenian and international intellectuals relevant for IDHR to our people in Armenia, Artsakh (Karabagh), Javakhq and foreign countries.
For 7 years IDHR has published «Tesaket (Opinion)-IDHR» information bulletin which is the official IDHR publication. It has communicated IDHR’s ideology, principles and positions from the beginning. The bulletin has covered IDHR’s activities as well as published articles, analyses and other works relevant to IDHR’s philosophy. The bulletin is published quarterly in 4000 copies in the Armenian language. Selected articles are translated into English. The bulletin is distributed throughout Armenia, in Yerevan and the regions, in Artsakh, Javakhq and the Diaspora Armenian communities.
In the framework of its publishing activities IDHR has translated a series of publications which you can access at IDHR library or on our website.
In the framework of its publishing activities IDHR cooperates with individuals and institutions that share IDHR’s ideology and principles and promote civic activism on volunteer basis.
3. Public participation in public policy making, implementation and monitoring
In 2006-2008 IDHR will continue closely monitoring public policies in Armenia, particularly monitoring the implementation of the “Poverty Overcoming Strategy Paper (POSP)”, policies in the science and education sector, policies on “Development of Youth in the Republic of Armenia”, “National Security” policies and concepts. IDHR will publicize its views and positions on these policies and will hold relevant institutions and individuals accountable. IDHR will focus its attention on the government and public administration institutions, the experts hired by them and the non-governmental organizations and entities involved in the process of implementing these policies.
IDHR believes public participation and involvement in public policy including its development, implementation and monitoring is the main foundation for building a welfare-oriented democratic state based on social justice and solidarity. The people and the society must take ownership for every policy and activity relevant for their individual and collective lives; they must guide the responsible structures and hold them accountable. Any civic agent, be that an individual or an organization, must realize this. They must clearly define their position and serve only the true beneficiaries.
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- Since 2005 IDHR has further expanded its activities in the regions of Armenia . In 2005, IDHR established an IDHR Library and Civic Information Centre in Lori region. Similar centres will be established in Shirak and Vayots Dzor regions in 2006 and subsequently in Armavir and Tavush regions. At these centres the population of the regions can learn about IDHR's ideology, stances and activities. At these centres people can study and learn the most important laws and their interpretations relevant for their every day lives and human rights; they can be exposed to the unique works of Armenian and foreign intellectuals, and may also be updated on the most important issues for our country through the newspapers. These centres are unique venues where the residents of the regions can hold discussions on civic, social or cultural issues and problems interesting for them; they can get organized and develop various projects.
- In 2005 IDHR joined the global comparative research project titled “Globalization and Education” initiated by the Paulo Freire Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles , CA , USA . Armenia , represented by IDHR, is the only country from the Post-Soviet space and Eastern Europe participating in this research project. The project aims at exploring how the globalization processes of the last 25 years influence the education systems in different countries of the world, including the curricula, the relations between the students and teachers, education methods, administration of the education system and other issues. The project will be implemented internationally till 2009 including studies of secondary, higher and adult education in participating countries. 16 countries from different continents are participating in this comparative research project.
- IDHR organizes a series of civic club and public discussions, film screenings and cultural meetings in Yerevan. At these events, issues relevant to Armenia 's foreign relations and regional cooperation are discussed focusing on the strong state founded on social justice and solidarity as a route for external political success. In addition to this, IDHR raises topics of civic and cultural importance, as well as issues of municipal and community life at its civic club and public discussions. IDHR invites various intellectuals, artists, civic activists, its Armenian and Diaspora Armenian members and adherents to its centre to share their experiences and establish a dialogue in an unofficial environment.
- IDHR is following the developments of the global and regional social forums and is planning to participate in them and present a project titled “The Role of Education in the Development of a Democratic State Based on Social Justice and Solidarity in Armenia ”.
The World Social Forum (WSF) and regional social forums are an open meeting place for reflective thinking, the democratic debate of ideas, the formulation of proposals, the free exchange of experiences and the creation of synergy for effective action by groups and movements of civil society who are opposed to neo-liberalism and the domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism and who are committed to building a society centred on the human person.
In the framework of its public participation activities IDHR cooperates with individuals and institutions that share IDHR's ideology and principles and promote civic activism on volunteer basis.
To participate in these projects you can visit or call IDHR Centre in Yerevan and IDHR's Libraries and Civic Informations Centres in the regions of Armenia. For additional information please visit the «News» and «Announcements» sections on IDHR's website.
4. Development of civic networking and cooperation
Development of civic networking and cooperation. In the framework of these activities IDHR joins and launches more targeted efforts in the framework of “ Civil Society Partnership Network (CSPN)” and the Armenian National Coalition of the “Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP)” with the purpose of building a true and ideology-based social partnership in Armenia.
* The Civil Society Pertznership Network (CSPN) was established in 2002 by ten founding NGOs in Yerevan, Armenia, including IDHR. Currently it has 26 members. The network is not an officially registered entity. It is a partnership of NGOs that aims to ensure cooperation between various civil society actors with the purpose of consolidating and developing a democratic, welfare-oriented, rule-of-law state in Armenia . The principles underlying the partnership are accountability, transparency, equality, cooperation, solidarity and efficiency. The main target activities of the network include monitoring the national strategic programs (PRSP and others), expressing its position and recommending improvements for the implementation of such programs.
* The international coalition “Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP)” (as well as the respective national coalition) was established in 2005 setting three main goals on the international level: a) cancellation of the external debts of the poorest countries, b) improving the quality and increasing the volume of international aid to developing countries, c) struggle for just terms of international trade. Through its activities the coalition struggles against the policies of neo-liberal structures and entities influencing the global economic and political developments.
* Since December 2005 IDHR has been cooperating with the Paulo Freire Institute in the framework of the research project “Globalization and Education”.
* IDHR is also a member of the NGO Coalition of the International Criminal Court . The Coalition of the International Criminal Court is an international network that aims at contributing to the ratification of the ICC's Rome Statute in different countries to ensure international justice and elimination of impunity.
In the framework of its civic networking activities IDHR cooperates with individuals and institutions that share IDHR's ideology and principles and promote civic activism on volunteer basis.
To participate in these projects you can visit or call IDHR Centre in Yerevan and IDHR's Libraries and Civic Information Centres in the regions of Armenia. For additional information please visit the «News» and «Announcements» sections on IDHR's website.
5. Activities in Marzes (regions of Armenia)
IDHR Expands to Various Regions (“Marzes”) of Armenia
IDHR's Libraries and Civic Information Centers
The Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR), as an independent, Armenian and non-governmental organization, strives to enhance the development of responsible, civically conscious and proactive individuals and citizens in Armenia, Nagorno Karabagh, Javakhk and the Armenian Diaspora. IDHR founded a library and information center in the city of Vanadzor in Loru marz (the region of Lori), the city of Gyumri in Shiraki marz (the region of Shirak), the city of Yeghegnadzor in the Vayots Dzori marz (the region of Vayots Dzor), the city of Ijevan in Tavushi marz (the region of Tavush) and the city of Armavir in Armaviri marz (the region of Armavir).
The aim of this initiative is to promote debate and dialogue within civil society and local self-governing organizations, as well as to offer information on civic issues. This initiative will help local organizations and activists to obtain information through publications and newspapers, to familiarize themselves with the approaches and activities of IDHR in “Tesaket (Opinion) – IDHR” and other IDHR publications, and to hold discussions. The libraries and civic information centers are one of the few places where the citizens and inhabitants of the marzes can organize discussions on various civic, social and cultural issues, self-organize, plan various projects and apply them.
IDHR's Libraries and Civic Information Centers in the Marzes are open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00-13:00.
IDHR's LCIC in Loru marz (region of Lori): Aghayan 59, secondary school #10 after Sayat Nova, 2 nd floor, Vanadzor city, Lori region. Tel: +374 322 5 93 31.
IDHR LCIC in Vayots Dzori marz (region of Vayotz Dzor): Shahoumyan 12, secondary school # 3, 1 st floor, Yeghegnadzor city, region Vayots Dzor. Tel: +374 281 2 36 71.
IDHR's LCIC in Shiraki marz (region of Shirak): Gyumri Branch of Yerevan Management University , 54a Shedrin str., II floor, Gyumri, Shiraki marz. Tel.: (374312) 3 18 02
IDHR LCIC in the region of Tavush: 3 Yeritasardakan Str., Secondary School No 3, 2nd Floor, Ijevan, Tavush - Tel: +374 0263 310 68
IDHR LCIC in the region of Armavir: 68a Shahoumyan Str., 2nd Floor, Armavir, Armavir - Tel: +374 0237 6 23 30
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How are these regions distinguished?
Loru Marz (the Region of Lori)
With an area 3789 km 2 , Loru Marz has 8 urban and 105 rural districts containing 122 neighborhoods. As of January 1 st , 2005 , 283.9 thousand people lived there. The city of Vanadzor (formerly Medz Gharakilisa, 1935-1992, Kirovakan) is the center of the region.
The Lori region is the third largest in Armenia (it occupies 12.7% of the country), and the second largest in terms of population (after Yerevan).
The Lori region is located in the North and borders Georgia . It occupies the eastern half of the Gougark state of historic Armenia (in X-XI centuries there was Armenian independent state, the kingdom of Lori , in this area. Part of the region was the ancestral estate of Zakaryans). Armenia 's main railway passes through the central part.
There are many architectural monuments in this region. Nearly 3000 monuments are under state protection, like the Haghpat and Sanahin complexes and the monastery of Odzoun.
While it was once an industrial hub and an area with sanitariums and health centers, nowadays the region is quite different. The large industrial institutions of yesterday are no longer in operation, the children's camps and sanitariums are empty, and the forests surrounding the city have been cleared.
Vanadzor is blessed with a well-informed and active youth, but unfortunately there are very few public forums where they are able to receive cultural and spiritual enrichment. The unemployment rate in the Lori region is high, at 17.2%.
The Region of Vayots Dzor
Vayots Dzor has an area of 2308 km 2 , with 3 urban and 41 rural districts containing 52 neighborhoods. As of January 1 st , 2005 , the population was 55.9 thousand. Vayodz Dzor lies in the South and occupies 7.8% of the total area of Armenia . In 2004 the population of this region was only 1.7% of the total population of Armenia . 65% of the inhabitants of this region live in rural areas.
In medieval times, Vayodz Dzor was a cultural capital. Here flourished the acclaimed university of Gladzor (XIII century) , where scientists, manuscript writers and miniaturists created their most famous works that amaze people to this day. There are marvelous monuments in Vayodz Dzor, such as the monasteries of Noravank, Grdevank, Shati, Tanahati, Hermoni, Yeghegisi and many others.
The Armenia-Iran highway passes through Vayodz Dzor and is essential for developing the economy of the region (which is dominated by agriculture). The wine and mineral water industries are advanced. Unemployment is relatively low and is only 4.9%. The most famous resort town of Armenia, Jermuk, is in Vayots Dzor.
The city of Yeghegnadzor (population, 8.2 thousand), which is the regional capital of Vayots Dzor, is one of the oldest settlements of Siounik. The ruins of a Cyclopean fortress are preserved near the city. Yeghegnadzor needs restoration badly, from the streets to the cultural centers. There is not even a hotel, which poses a major problem in activating the city.
The cultural center of the city, which needs reconstruction itself, is the only place where the residents can explore spiritual and societal values.
Shiraki Marz (the Region of Shirak)
With an area 2,681 km 2 , Shiraki marz has 3 urban and 116 rural districts, containing 128 neighborhoods. As of 1 st January 2005 , 281.7 thousand people lived there.
Shiraki marz is located in the North-West of Armenia, occupies 9% of the country and borders Turkey and Georgia . The Armenia-Georgia main railroad and highway pass through Shirak; the railroad and highway networks of Armenia and Turkey are also connected here.
There are monuments of great architectural value in the region mainly built in IX-X centuries, such the monasteries of Harij, Marmashen and Sarnaghbyur (VII century).
The food production, including production of beverages and non-metal minerals are the advanced. The tuff and pumice stones produced in Artik and Ani are famous.
The city of Gyumri (formerly Leninakan , 1924-1990), which is the regional center, is the second largest in Armenia in terms of population and significance.
The poverty rate in Shirak is very high; unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country (17.5%). The issue of housing is one of the most essential socio-economic problems in the region, mainly in Gyumri. Many young people leave the Gyumri since they see no perspectives of job opportunities. Because of its rich historical-cultural traditions Gyumri is a bit more active in spiritual-cultural life than other regional centers in Armenia.
Tavushi Marz (The Region of Tavush)
With an area 2704 m2, the region of Tavush has 4 urban and 58 rural districts which include 61 rural neighborhoods. It includes 400 km of RA (Republic of Armenia) national boundary, out of which 352 km borders Azerbaijan. As of 1 January 2005, 134.4 thousand people lived there. The unemployment rate is 6.4%.
The region of Tavush lies in the North-East of the republic, and occupies 9% of the area of RA, in a mildly humid region. The summer is warm and the winter is mild. It has a picturesque nature. Mixed forests cover 51% of its total area.
The natural conditions of the region and especially of Aghstev Valley (mild climate, clean mountain air rich in oxygen, therapeutic mineral water, forests, mountains rich in therapeutic herbs) are very favorable for vacations of the population, health resorts and development of international tourism.
The RA region of Tavush is rich in historical monuments, monasteries, fortresses, khachkars (Armenian cross stones), bridges, tombstones, and memorial fountains. The Monasteries of Goshavank, Haghardzin and Makaravank, along with the fortress of Tavush are well known. In the region of Tavush is the monastery of Kirats, the largest church in Armenia built of bricks.
The region is one of the most important agricultural areas of RA, but during the past decade the agriculture of the region has been greatly damaged by the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. More than 9000 hectares of fields and orchards bordering Azerbaijan have been left uncultivated.
The regional capital of Tavush is the town Ijevan (until 1919, called Karvansara), whose population as of 1 January 2005 is 20.4 thousand. It is 137 km from Yerevan.
Being a border region, Tavush encounters several problems of which educational and cultural problems stand out and which are essential for the development of an educated and advanced society.
The distant districts of the region are especially isolated from cultural life, since very few of the cultural institutions in this region are able to truly bind the population to cultural activities.
The main educational problems are related to a lack of quality literature: libraries have not been refreshed, there are no bookstores.
Armaviri Marz (The region of Armavir)
With an area 1254 m2, the region of Armavir has 3 urban and 94 rural districts which include 95 rural neighborhoods. As of 1 January 2005, 278.2 thousand people lived there. The unemployment rate is 3.2%.
The region of Armavir lies in the West of the Republic. Its regional capital is the city Armavir (former Hoktemberyan). Its name comes from the first capital of Armenia. The city was founded on 26 June 1931. The region is rich in historical and cultural monuments; the Cathedral Church of St. Ejmiadzin with its Treasure House, the churches of St. Gayaneh, St. Hripsimeh and Zvartnots; the archeological museums of Medzamor and Zvartnots; the Armenian National Ethnographic Museum in Sardarapat, the largest outlet of Armenian underground water, the Aighrlij; the ancient pagan center Bagaran; the monuments of “Mousaler” and “Sardarapat”.
The ruins of Armavir and Yervandashat, capitals of historical Armenia, are included in the RA Historical Environment Preservation zones.
The region of Armavir is distinguished in the Republic by its developed agriculture and industry. The geographical location of the region and its climate conditions are favorable for the production of market produce and greenhouse crops as well as for cattle-breeding.
The region, however, has its serious socioeconomic problems. Of the factories in Armavir, some work with only 8% of their capacity; others have either been liquidated or simply do not work at all. Another particular problem is the quality of water. As a result of changes of water canals in 2004 the quality of water got worse.
The absence of theater and cinema, and relevant buildings and institutions is considered a cultural problem in Armavir.