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Armenia 25 years on, Now What?

April 9-10, 2017 | University of Southern California

A two-city conference that seeks to investigate the transitional and post-transitional processes in Armenia and the post-Soviet region.
Renowned diplomats, area specialists, and young scholars will present on the multitude of issues that have influenced 25 years of transition in Armenia.

Sunday, April 9, 2-5pm | USC Town & Gown

Robert English is the new director of USC's School of International Relations.


Opening Remarks

Professor Robert English is a graduate of Princeton and served as the Director of the USC School of International Relations from 2013 to 2016. He specializes in Russian and post-Soviet international relations, political economy, and nationalism in post-communist countries.


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The End and the Beginning

Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was the last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended.


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The West – Turkey – Russia: Changing Partners

Amberin Zaman is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC. Until recently, she was the Turkey correspondent for the Economist.


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Prof. Daron Acemoğlu (Video)

Why (Some) Nations Fail

Daron Acemoğlu is Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His areas of research include political economy, economic development and growth, human capital theory, network economics and learning. He is the author of Why Nations Fail.

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The Transition of Everything

Hans Gutbrod runs Transparify, an initiative to increase the transparency of policy research and advocacy. Based in Tbilisi, Georgia, Hans works as a Caucasus analyst and holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. 


Monday, April 10, 9am-6pm | USC University Club

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM


Chair: Prof. Robert David English (USC School of International Relastions, US)

A Violent Unraveling: Explaining Armenian-Azerbaijani Violence 1988-1994, Dr. Laurence Broers (Chatham House, UK)

Co-Editor-in-chief, Caucasus Survey; Research Associate, Centre for Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus; School of Oriental and African Studies; Associate Fellow, Royal Institute for International Affairs. He  has  previously  worked  as  the manager  of  the  Armenian-Azerbaijani  civil  society  peacebuilding  programme  implemented  by  NGO  Conciliation  Resources  and  local  partners  in  Armenia,  Azerbaijan  and  Karabakh. His doctoral studies were on conflicts in Georgia.


The New Karabakh War: Who is Fighting and Who is Dying, Emil Sanamyan (Independent Analyst / USC, US)

Caucasus Analyst, journalist, born in Baku; editor of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies FOCUS ON KARABAKH, formerly editor of the Armenian Reporter.  He follows Russian, Azerbaijani, Armenian and English language sources on the region and the conflict.


The Diminishing Importance of Armenia in US Foreign Policy, Gregory Aftandilian (Boston University, US)

Adjunct professor in the U.S. Foreign Policy program of American University, Washington, DC. and Lecturer in international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University. He worked for the U.S Government for more than twenty years in such capacities as Middle East analyst at the State Department, foreign policy fellow for Senator Edward Kennedy, and professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


The Cynical Politics of Fluid Memory, Dr. Phil Gamaghelyan (Georgetown University, US)

Philip Gamaghelyan is a conflict resolution scholar-practitioner, the co-founder and director of programs of the Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation, and the managing editor of the Caucasus Edition ( He works in the post- Soviet states, as well as Turkey, Syria, and other conflict regions. His research is focused on politics of memory in conflict contexts, and on critical evaluation and design of conflict resolution interventions. He teaches at the School of International Service of the American University in Washington, DC on human rights and conflict, justice and reconciliation, and mediating history.


EU-Armenia Relations: A Story of Stalled Transition, Dr. Hrant Kostanyan (Center for European Policy Studies, Belgium)

Dr. Hrant Kostanyan is a Researcher at CEPS, a Senior Key Expert at the College of Europe Natolin and an Adjunct Professor at Vesalius College. His research focuses on EU institutions and decision-making, primarily on the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the EU’s relations with Eastern Neighbours and Russia.

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM


12:45 PM - 1:15 PM

25 years of transition in cinema, Eric Nazarian, Filmmaker (US)

Eric Nazarian is an award winning film director and screenwriter. He was born in Armenia, grew up in Los Angeles, and is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

1:15 PM – 3:15 PM


Chair: Dr. Hans Gutbrod (Transparify, Georgia)


The Transition of Demographics and the Demographics of Transition, Garik Hayrapetyan (UNFPA, Armenia)

He has led the UNFPA – the United Nations Fund for Population Activities – for a dozen years.  His research has impacted policy, and he and his team are observers of the key demographic trends during this period of transition.


The Transformation of Soviet and Post-Soviet Informal Economic Institutions, Dr. Nona Shahnazarian (Social Anthropologist, Armenia)

Nona Shahnazarian specializes in the transformation of informal economic institutions through the Prism of Transitions; her focus is the case of Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan.


The Factors of Democratic Transition, Asst. Prof. Arman Grigoryan (Lehigh University, US)

Arman Grigoryan's doctoral dissertation is on the role of third parties in state -- minority conflicts in 2008. He teaches at LeHigh University.


On Statecraft in a Fractured Region, Prof. Anna Ohanyan (Stonehill College, US)

Professor Anna Ohanyan heads the political science department at Stonehill College in Boston.  She is the author of Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management published by Stanford University Press (2015).

3:30 PM – 6:00 PM


Chair: Prof. Anna Ohanyan (Stonehill College, US)


From the Dark and Cold Years: Perceptions of Public Issues in Contemporary Armenia, Dr. Karena Avedissian (University of Southern California, US)

Dr. Karena Avedissian is a Fellow at the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. She did her doctoral studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK and her doctoral work was on social movements in the North Caucasus. Her research interests include the relationship between popular geopolitics and identity, with a particular emphasis on Russia and Eurasia.


Armenian History Textbooks in Transition: A Comparison, Prof. Ara Sanjian (U. of Michigan-Dearborn, US)

Ara  Sanjian is Associate Professor of Armenian and Middle Eastern History and the Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn since 2006. His  research  focuses on  the  post-World  War  I  history  of  Armenia,  Turkey  and  the Arab states of  Western  Asia.


Breakin’ the Norm: Alternative Expressions in Post-Independence Armenia, Serouj Aprahamian (York University, Canada)

Serouj Aprahamian holds an MA in International Relations from American University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Dance Studies at York University, with a particular emphasis on urban arts in the post-Soviet sphere.


The Diaspora's Role in the Health Care Transition, Shant Shekherdimian (Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, US)

Shant Shekherdimian is a pediatric surgeon and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at UCLA.  He has a deep interest in health care systems in Armenia. Including the development of a pediatric quality improvement program, and spearheading a new model of effective diaspora contribution to Armenia’s health care system.


Is a Western Armenian Identity Possible in "Eastern" Armenia?, Armen Karamanian (Macquarie University, Australia)

PhD Candidate at Macquarie University, in Sydney Australia.  He is  interested  in  the  stories  of  diasporic  return  and  the ensuing  integration into  society, Western  Armenian language  maintenance  and  the  cultural/identity divide between homeland and diaspora.


Strengthening Health Care Infrastructure Post USSR, Nelli Ghazaryan (George Washington University, US)

Nelli Ghazaryan holds an MS in Global Medicine from USC School of Medicine and a MPH from George Washington University, Milken School of Public Health.


USC logo

University of Southern California

April 9, 2-5pm: Town & Gown

April 10, 9am-6pm: University Club

Yerevan event


VENUE: Cafesjian Center for the Arts

DATE: May 23-24, 2017


 For information, write to or call 213.821.3943.