LOS ANGELES – Seven mid-career professionals from the Armenian government have been USC POLICY FELLOWS. The USC Institute of Armenian Studies program partners with the City of Los Angeles and the office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian to place young Armenian civil servants within City of Los Angeles departments for a three-month work experience that will benefit them and Armenia’s institutional development. In its fourth cycle of the POLICY FELLOWS PROGRAM, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies hosted Ani Rubenyan in Los Angeles from Armenia’s Ministry of Health Department of Finance.
Rubenyan is working towards a doctorate degree on Implementation of Mandatory Health Insurance in Armenia and came to Los Angeles in February of 2020, just before the mass spread of the coronavirus in California. From her arrival and into the lockdown, she worked full time with the City Administrative Officer of Los Angeles as a policy analyst.
Her official duties involved overseeing the public’s discussions in member meetings, researching and analyzing budgets and assessing various aspects of the healthcare system. In light of the pandemic, Rubenyan was assigned to a more urgent task – researching and reporting on the potential impacts of COVID-19 on city revenue flows.
“During my first week, I was placed in the office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian where I observed the basics of public governance as well as the budget processes in the City of Los Angeles. During my stay, even as we worked from home, I was with the City Administrative Officer, where I was involved in several projects as a policy analyst. Although we faced serious challenges with the outbreak of COVID-19, I appreciated seeing how devotedly people work and contribute to the maintenance of social stability,” noted Rubenyan.
Ms. Rubenyan was the seventh POLICY FELLOW. The other six have worked in a variety of Los Angeles City programs, including Office of Emergency Preparedness, Department of Water and Power, Department of Sanitation, Department of Convention and Tourism Development, Bureau of Engineering, and Department of Transportation.
“The value of this program is self-evident. Los Angeles City is larger than the Republic of Armenia. Yet, governance faces similar challenges everywhere. Just as an example: One Fellow who came from the office of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was placed in LA’s Office of Emergency Preparedness. COVID appeared just a few weeks after she returned to Armenia. The immediate take-aways there are obvious. Another Fellow worked within the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He is still with Armenia’s Water Committee and maintains his ties with his colleagues in LA who continue to be thought partners on ways of improving Armenia’s water distribution and accountability structures,” explained Salpi Ghazarian, director of USC Institute of Armenian Studies. “It goes without saying that we’re grateful to our donors, the JHM Foundation in particular, for supporting this unique and valuable program.”