At a glance
The Youth programme of the OSCE Office in Yerevan supports participation in democratic processes by young people, encouraging them to be active citizens in line with OSCE principles and commitments. To achieve these goals, the Office has been co-operating with existing structures for youth governance, including regional youth centres, university student councils and non-formal student groups.
In order to nurture civic participation among young people, the OSCE supports activities at youth centres across Armenia. After signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs in 2008, the Office opened “OSCE corners” in ten locations throughout Armenia; these corners provided up-to-date information on issues of comprehensive security, rule of law, human rights and democratization. Thereafter, in 2009, the Office financed 26 small projects at these regional youth centres. In general, these projects promoted civic activism concerning specific problems faced by young people in their respective regions. During 2010, the Office focused on building the capacity of staff and volunteers at the centres. Based on needs assessments and tailored trainings, the regional youth centres both devised and embarked upon long-term development strategies. In accordance with other governmental reforms, currently Armenia’s regional youth centres are retrenching and redefining their activities.
In June 2008, the OSCE Office facilitated a visit by the European Students’ Union to Armenia. The purpose of this visit was to conduct an assessment of Armenian student movements. The European Students’ Union report provides an overview of student democracy in Armenia and makes recommendations on how to develop a representative, democratic and independent student movement in the country. Based on this report, the Office initiated activities to promote the development of Armenia’s student movement and strengthen ties between Armenian and European student representatives.
In October 2009, within a project on “Promoting Transparency and Integrity in the Universities of Armenia”, Serbian experts trained a group of students from Yerevan and Gyumri on conducting anti-corruption campaigns in higher education institutions. In November, the group visited Albania and Serbia in order to learn from the European experience of promoting students’ rights. In 2010, the group conducted research on the perception of corruption in higher education among students. In 2011, the survey findings were presented and discussed with the student communities in Yerevan and Gyumri; thereafter an anti-corruption campaign was initiated under the slogan “Buying your education you sell your future”.
Within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education and Science, a seminar on the implementation of anti-corruption action plans was organized in October 2011 for the top managers of the universities. Experts from Malta and Serbia discussed the modalities of the Bologna process and the standards of the European Higher Education Area, internal quality assurance and transparency, student participation, and designing and implementing assessments. Follow-up events will be organized in 2012 to further promote transparency and integrity in the higher education system of Armenia.
In July 2008, two teams of students representing Yerevan State University and Yerevan State Linguistic University participated in the first-ever Model OSCE conference in Vienna. As a follow up, a Model OSCE Armenia conference was organized together with the Office’s Press Section in November 2008. From 2009-2011 Model OSCE conferences were organized for young people from the Shirak, Lori and Syunik regions. Two nationwide conferences were organized in the fall of 2010 and 2011, summarizing the activities of the past years.
The Model OSCE initiative continues to be an area of interest for the Office. More Model OSCE conferences are planned with the support of extra-budgetary funds.