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    The official closing ceremony of the training phase of the program entitled "Information about the country of origin in the context of asylum decision procedures" took place in the courtroom of the Faculty of Law of YSU.



    Lectures dedicated to high-energy physics are held at YSU within the framework of the cooperation of Yerevan State University and A. Alikhanyan National Scientific Laboratory.



    The opening ceremony of the "Anti-corruption media school" program, created by the cooperation of the Faculty of Journalism and the "Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center" NGO, took place today at Yerevan State University.



    Within the framework of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) Global Teaching Labs (GTL) program Yerevan State University (YSU) hosted three students back in January this year for the first time. MIT students Yu Jing Chen, Anne Snyder, and Sean Zhang taught three different subjects and held hands-on workshops for YSU students.



    PR (public relations) tools and religious organizations. These two seemingly unrelated terms are not only relevant and related but have also become the subject of a master's thesis. Master's students of YSU journalism and theology faculties jointly study the topic "PR tools of religious organizations in Armenian media".

The program launched in October aims to acquaint students with the importance of information about the country of origin in the asylum procedures, focusing primarily on the features of the ethnoreligious, legal systems of Middle East countries, and information about the level of human rights protection. After the first stage of the program, a student will be selected from those who have attended the lectures, and he/she will be working with the specialists of the "Mission Armenia" charity NGO to obtain information about the country of origin of asylum seekers in Armenia.


During 21 lectures, the representatives of the YSU Faculty of Law and Oriental Studies presented information to the participants about Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Turkey. Before handing over the certificates to the program participants, Armen Ghazaryan, head of the Migration and Citizenship service of the RA Ministry of Internal Affairs, gave a lecture, talking about the modern tendencies of migration movements.



Highlighting the relevance of this program, Knarik Vardanyan, Candidate of Law, Director of YSU Legal Clinic, and Associate Professor of the Chair of European and International Law, emphasized that the countries were chosen taking into account the number of citizens seeking asylum in RA and the lack of necessary information about those countries.


"This program plays an important role in the work of lawyers and government bodies in the field of applying information about the country of origin in asylum decision procedures, so it is important that students of legal clinics, as future practicing lawyers, have a high awareness of the field," emphasized K. Vardanyan.



18 students from the legal clinics of Yerevan State University and Northern University participated and received certificates in the program that launched in October. The program is implemented by the legal clinic of the Faculty of Law of YSU and the charitable NGO "Mission Armenia" with the financial support of the US Embassy in Armenia.


According to Jennifer McKendrew, Public Relations Officer of the US Embassy in Armenia, contributing to the implementation of this program is extremely important for the US Embassy. Emphasizing the importance of supporting asylum seekers and refugees, she noted that this program will contribute to the improvement of the asylum procedures in Armenia.


It should be noted that the event was also attended by the representatives of the YSU Faculty of Law and Oriental Studies, employees of the US Embassy in Armenia, representatives of the charity NGO "Mission Armenia", and students of YSU and Northern University legal clinics.

During the three-month program, leading Armenian and foreign specialists in the field present the basics of high-energy physics, modern problems, and achievements, as well as current and upcoming programs to the participants. The purpose of the lectures and practical exercises is to encourage the research activities of the participants in the field of high-energy physics.


Within the framework of the project, Alexey Aparin, a senior researcher at the High Energy Physics Laboratory of the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research of Russia, and Grigory Nigmatkulov, a leading software engineer, were invited to Armenia thanks to the cooperation of the Yerevan Information Center. During the two-week visit, the speakers presented methods of data processing and analysis in high-energy physics, and other topics.


It should be noted that not only students but also other persons interested in the subject were allowed to participate in the course. The participants who have completed the three-month program will have the opportunity to be involved in the work of YSU and Alikhanyan National Scientific Laboratory’s scientific groups and become members of international partnerships.

At the start of the program, 20 students who passed the competitive threshold listened to the lecture of Anahit Hovakimyan, specialist of the Anti-corruption Education Program of the organization, on the topic "Changes in the behavior of society as a guarantee of fighting corruption". Within the framework of the four-week course, students will also meet Mikayel Hovhannisyan, the YSU Vice-Rector for Development and Innovation, Arpine Hovhannisyan, Associate Professor of the YSU Faculty of Law, and Sasun Khachatryan, Chair of Anti-Corruption Committee.



Naghash Martirosyan, dean of the faculty, pointing out the importance of the initiative and the direct role of journalists in the anti-corruption fight, noted that the YSU Journalism Faculty always moves aligned with the times and this initiative is vivid proof of that.



According to Mariam Hoveyan, head of the TIAC center educational program, the role of journalists in the prevention of corruption is important through not only awareness, transparency, and accountability, but also by actively participating in the process and making effective discoveries thanks to investigative journalism. The head of the project expressed her confidence that the students, having acquired new knowledge about the field, will engage in active activities.



Note that at the end of the course, the participants will receive certificates and incentive prizes.

MISTI Global Teaching Labs aim to allow students of divergent backgrounds to learn by teaching foreign students science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. YSU students got the chance to learn “Leadership and Negotiation for Social Change”, “Market Design”, and “Persuading with Data” - those subjects are crucial and decisive in the contemporary world, and learning about the foreign experience fosters Armenian students develop their skills and broaden their mindset.


The program’s local coordinator Khachik Abajyan told us when MIT offered to include Yerevan State University as part of their cooperation, YSU certainly expressed its willingness to join the program with great motivation and excitement. 


“The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the leading universities in the world and cooperation with MIT is a great honor for us and marks the beginning of a new partnership; it allows us to expand our collaboration with them in the future. This year, other projects will possibly be implemented with them, but they are still under discussion. This cooperation is especially important for us, as one of YSU’s primary goals is the internationalization of the university, and cooperation with aforesaid universities is a big step toward the realization of that”, - noted Khachik.



Before coming to Armenia GTL participants attended MISTI Prep and Training sessions designed to help them make the most of their experience in Armenia.


Yu Jing, who taught “Leadership and Negotiation for Social Change” subject, is confident that the skills she provided during the workshops are essential for solving the world's biggest problems. Teaching is one of the professions she has been thinking a lot about potentially doing and this opportunity has shown her how difficult yet gratifying it can be.



“Students are able to learn in a workshop style a topic that they may not otherwise be able to. Because it is only over the course of a month, it allows students to fully immerse over a short period and take interesting topics that might be outside of their field. I had students across many different faculties at YSU, and not only were they able to learn from me and me from them, but they were also able to learn from each other”, - noticed Yu Jing.


In addition, Yu Jing mentioned the support she received from YSU that helped her smoothly organize the workshops.

“Yerevan State University has been incredibly welcoming. It has become a second home for me in many ways. The people at YSU have put so much time, care, and energy into making sure we had an amazing experience in Armenia, and that the students in our classes had a meaningful time”,- she said.


Anne Snyder, who instructed “Market Design”, talking about the program's advantages, mentioned that it helped her develop her skills while learning about new cultures and traditions.



“This program allowed me to learn and grow as a student, professional, and just as a person. The students at YSU are hardworking, kind, and hospitable. It has been amazing to work with them and become friends, and I hope to come to visit again”, - said Anne. 


“Persuading with Data” subject tutor Sean Zhang, bringing up his motive and reason for participating in the program, said he wanted to help technical-oriented students communicate their ideas effectively, enhance his understanding of the topic through teaching, and get immersed in the Armenian culture.



“I like the history of Yerevan State University, Armenia, the modern facilities, and the seamless support offered to me. I appreciate my students’ commitment to my workshop and willingness to learn. Most students in my workshop spent a significant amount of time outside of the classroom putting together their final presentations, which they delivered in a professional manner and quality in the last class”, - specified Sean.   


Aside from teaching Yu Jing, Anne, and Sean managed to get acquainted with Armenians, visit the sights of not only Yerevan but Armenia generally and get to know the culture from the locals. They visited Garni, Geghard, Sevan, Dilijan, Ejmiatsin, Sardarapat, Tsakhkadzor, Gyumri, and Khor Virap, where they saw Mount Ararat from a short distance, ate Armenian traditional gata, tried to make lavash, and ride ropeways.



Cooperations like this stimulate students and academic staff to grow as professionals, develop their skills, expand international networks, and learn new cultures. Currently, YSU collaborates with 270 universities and research centers from 50 countries. The wide range of partnerships provides an opportunity to implement several projects and programs, among which the exchange programs of Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. Students play a vital role.


Ani Sukiasyan



Karine Hovhannisyan from the Faculty of Journalism and Mariam Abrahamyan from the Faculty of Theology are among the brave ones who expressed their desire to become the first master's students of the unprecedented initiative, which, according to them, is inspiring and at the same time binding.


The supervisors of the scientific research are the head of the Department of Religious Studies of the Faculty of Theology of YSU, associate professor, Ph.D. Pargev Barseghyan and Satenik Grigoryan, lecturer of the Faculty of Journalism. According to them, such a project involves students with non-standard thinking, who are ready for a new format, are not afraid to be the first, and have flexible communication skills, which is of key importance.


Both Karine and Mariam chose the topic of the master's thesis based on its relevance and necessity today from religious, moral, and psychological, as well as media practical perspectives.


The main concern that arose along with the choice of the topic was the same for both students. Whose name will be written on the title page of the master's thesis? After the first meeting and acquaintance of the students, all the concerns disappeared, and the goal became to achieve the best results with joint efforts.


For master's students and their academic supervisors, this cooperation is an opportunity for a comprehensive study of the topic, enrichment of knowledge, learning, and teaching at the same time.


For Karine, a student of the Faculty of Journalism, this is a new and somewhat unfamiliar field.


"It is very interesting to study a topic about which I previously had a superficial understanding, but now while writing my master's thesis, I continue to learn more about religion and religious organizations," she says.


Unlike Karine, for Mariam, a theology student, it is not the study of religious organizations that is new, but the PR tools used by them.


"This cooperation is a wonderful opportunity not only to expand professional abilities and horizons but also to learn teamwork and cooperative working style, thanks to which we overcome the difficulties that arise," emphasizes Mariam.


Academic supervisor Pargev Barseghyan, emphasizing the importance and necessity of such collaborations in terms of expanding inter-faculty and inter-professional ties, notes: "In our rapidly developing era, a comprehensive study of the field is difficult, and the research carried out within the scope of this thesis fills that gap to some extent."


Satenik Grigoryan also adds that thanks to this interaction, the work becomes fuller, more multi-polar, and richer in scientific and factual terms.


"The idea of interdisciplinary master's theses was exciting and unique from the beginning. The Faculty of Journalism always moves towards the new and innovative, that's why the faculty has initiated the idea of joint theses for the second time", says the academic supervisor.


The scientific group expects to have a proper presentation of a master's quality thesis, which will be a novelty to the scientific community and useful to the whole society, contributing to the spread of media literacy in the given field. They hope that their cooperation will be an example for other students and professors, making the initiative of a collaborative master's thesis continuous.


It should be noted that the master’s students of YSU journalism, theology, philosophy and psychology, economics, and management faculties as well carry out inter-faculty scientific research.


Lilit Mkrtchyan