The first panel, Post-Soviet Heritage, Stagnant Democratization and Rising Aspirations, will focus on the socio-economic and political conditions of countries leading up to uprisings such as the Velvet Revolution. In this panel we will hear from the following researchers:

Susanne Brunnbauer holds a Bachelor’s degree in European Studies from the Technical University of Chemnitz with a focus in Eastern Europe, and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Development Policy from the University of Duisburg-Essen.  She worked as Research Assistant at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research/Käte Hamburger Kolleg in Duisburg, Germany. Inspired by her academic education and several stays in the region, her research interests lie in the field of political culture and stability in the South Caucasus, democratization, and the role of civil society in transformation processes.  In the framework of her recent thesis, she has conducted field research in Armenia and Georgia by interviewing a wide range of civil society actors, political elites, and members of the local research communities in the two countries.

Gregory Areshian, an Elected Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, has had a distinguished academic career in the USA, Armenia, and the former Soviet Union. He taught a variety of courses in history, archaeology, and anthropology at the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, University of California at Los Angeles, University of California, Irvine, and Yerevan State University.  He has directed or participated to fieldwork in Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkey. He is the author of more than 160 scholarly works published in 5 languages in 12 countries, devoted to interdisciplinary studies in the social sciences and the humanities mostly concerning the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Armenia. Dr. Areshian currently serves as Professor of History and Archaeology at the American University of Armenia.

Stas Gorelik, originally from Belarus, is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University.  His primary research interests are protests and elections in authoritarian regimes, as well as the tactics incumbents and opposition organizations use when contesting power.  In his research, Gorelik focuses on post-Soviet countries.




The second panel, Contentious Politics, Mobilization, and Media Use: From Digital Engagement to Street Presence, will focus on the social movements and street politics at the core of mass uprisings. The following panelists will engage topics ranging from the impact on religious institutions on media life during uprisings to employing securitization theory.

Anna Hakobyan is a Master’s student at the Research Training Program in Social Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs from the American University of Armenia. Her research interests are in the fields of civil society, non-conventional political participation, social movements, and migration studies. In 2017, she received the Hans Koschnick Scholarship for archival work at the Research Center for East European Studies, Bremen University (Germany). In 2016, within the framework of the Armenian National Science and Educational Fund, she conducted a research project on the patterns of integration of Syrian-Armenians in Armenian society and co-authored the book Syrian Armenians: Inclusion or Exclusion? (Yerevan: Amaras, 2017).

Vedran Obućina is a Croatian political scientist, theologian, researcher at the University of Regensburg (Germany), and an Orthodox Old-Catholic priest.  His interests include religious diplomacy, the role of religious actors in politics and peacemaking, and area studies in South Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  He is the author of various articles and a book titled The Political System of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 


 Narek Sukiasyan is a graduating MA student of Regional Politics at Yerevan State University.  A Romanian National Scholarship alumnus, Narek holds a BA degree in International Relations and European Studies from Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania.  He has also studied in the Department of Political Sciences, Duisburg-Essen University (Germany) and in the Department of International Relations, Charles University (Czech Republic).  Sukiasyan has several publications in academic journals in Armenia and abroad.  Some of his research interests include foreign policy, security studies, conflict studies, Copenhagen School, and securitization.



The third panel, in two sections, Revolution, Transfer, or Interstice: How Systemic are the Changes?, will examine the sustainability of change in the aftermath of mass uprisings. The panelists for this section are:

Arpie G. Balian is an educator and researcher specializing in public policy, administration, and development. She holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from the American University of Beirut, a Master of Public Administration from the American University, Washington, D.C., and a dual-track doctorate in public sector leadership and performance measurement and evaluation from the University of Southern California.  She has served the American University of Armenia as Professor in Political Science and International Affairs and earlier as Director of AUA Extension.  Dr. Balian has held various leadership positions in public sector organizations, including Children of Armenia Fund, USAID Armenia Mission, US Department of Commerce, McMaster University, and others. She has authored or co-authored over two hundred white papers and strategic briefs for the US government, as well as research articles published in peer-reviewed journals; she has presented at or chaired/co-chaired multiple international conferences and conventions, worldwide.


 Valentina Gevorgyan is a doctoral researcher. Her academic interests focus on state and society relations and the development of civil society in post-Soviet countries. Ms. Gevorgyan was a Senior Researcher of academic studies at the American University of Armenia. She has published on civil society, activism, and volunteering.  Currently, Gevorgyan is a Policy Research Fellowship Coordinator at Open Society Foundations Armenia, and pursues her PhD in Political Science at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.


Basilio G. Monteiro is Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communications, Director of the Institute for International Communications, and Chair of the Division of Mass Communications at St. John’s University, NY.  His specialization is in the area of International Communications.  Among other topics, he teaches Political Economy of Media, Communications and Global Development, Media and Public Policy, Media and the Politics of Peacebuilding, Media and Human Rights, Media and Public Diplomacy, and Ethics in Digital Ecology.  His research extends to ICT and the internationalization of human rights, education and social justice, social media in conflict zones, media and sustainable development goals, communication and theology, education in globalized economy, and the role of humanities in information/knowledge economy.



The third panel, in two sections, Revolution, Transfer, or Interstice: How Systemic are the Changes?, will examine the sustainability of change in the aftermath of mass uprisings. The panelists for this section are:

Vicken Cheterian is a lecturer in History and International Relations at the University of Geneva and at Webster University, Geneva. He has worked on nationalism, ethnic conflicts, transition, genocide, and Islamism.  He has conducted field work in the Middle East, North Africa, and post-Soviet republics.  He has published in peer reviewed journals such as Survival, Europe-Asia Studies, Nationalities Papers, Central Asian Survey, and so forth. He is the author of War and Peace in the Caucasus: Russia’s Troubled Frontier (Hurst and Columbia University Press), and his latest book, Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks and a Century of Genocide (Hurst and Oxford University Press), has been translated into Arabic and Turkish.

Donald E. Fuller received an A.B. degree in Social Psychology from Colgate University and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Public Administration, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, Denver, Colorado, and holds a certificate as Interpreter in Russian from the U.S. Navy Language School. He taught 19 years at the University of Southern California’s School of Public Administration, eight years at the American University of Armenia during which he was a Fulbright professor for one year.  Professor Fuller taught thirteen years at the Anglo American University in Prague, Czech Republic, including two years in the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.  He is a Senior Professor at AUA in the Political Science and International Affairs Program.  He served as Interim Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and as Interim Provost at the American University of Armenia. His research interests are in political economy and governance. He has published articles, book chapters, and conference papers in these fields.

 John Antranig Kasbarian works professionally as Development Director for the New York-based Tufenkian Foundation. His work focuses on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, involving small business development, social and economic recovery, and the resettlement of strategic border areas. He holds a PhD in Geography from Rutgers University, where his doctoral dissertation dealt with the geography of nationalism during the 1988-1994 war in Karabagh. He is a former editor of The Armenian Weekly, and has published in numerous scholarly, literary, and public affairs journals.

 Tigran Mughnetsyan has been serving in the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia since 2018, first as Assistant to the Chief of Staff and next as an adviser in the Department for External Relations. His BA, earned in 2017, is from the Russian-Armenian University, and he holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia. 




The fourth panel is titled, International Relations After a Political Upheaval: Continuity or Rupture? The panel will focus on the impact of the Velvet Revolution in the sphere of international and foreign relations. It will draw implications for Armenia and the larger region. This panel will be led by the following experts:

Isa Aminu is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, Federal University Lokoja, Nigeria. He is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.  He is a member of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA).  His papers have appeared in several local and international journals.  His research interests include public policy, political economy, and Development Studies.


Loosineh Markarian is the Civil-Military Relations Expert at the Center for Innovation in Open Governance. She holds a Ph.D. from Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Her research focuses on civil-military relations in autocratic regimes, the impact of political economy variables on military reforms, and democratic governance of security institutions. Dr. Markarian has worked as a researcher at the Global Studies Center of the University of Tehran, the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver, and at Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy at the University of Denver.

Alen Shadunts is a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford, where he studies Iranian foreign policy in the South Caucasus. His research interests include contemporary Iranian foreign affairs as well as post-structuralism and discourse theories in International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis. Prior to his commencing his doctoral studies, Mr. Shadunts worked at the Open Society Foundations-Armenia as a civil society program coordinator. He holds an MSc Degree in International Relations from London School of Economics and Political Science.  He is an alumnus of the Master of Political Science and International Affairs program at the American University of Armenia.

Baldur Thorhallsson is Professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Research Director at the Centre for Small States at the University of Iceland. He has published extensively on Small States, European integration, and Iceland’s foreign policy. In 2002, Professor Thorhallsson established the Centre for Small State Studies in association with colleagues from around the globe and re-established the Icelandic Institute of International Affairs. He has taught on Small States at several universities and was the ‘Class of 1955’ Visiting Professor of International Studies at Williams College (MA, USA) in 2013 and Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Queen Mary University of London in 2017. Baldur is currently leading a number of research projects on Small States. He is editor of a volume titled Small States and Shelter Theory: Iceland’s External Affairs (Routledge, 2019).



The fifth and final panel is titled, Human Rights, Justice, and Rule of Law: Stability vs. Change. This panel will focus on human rights and the rule of law in times of abrupt change and transformations of social and political structures. The panelists for this topic include:

David Mednicoff (JD/PhD, Harvard) is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Public Policy, and Chair of the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  His teaching and publications focus on intersections of legal ideas and institutions, politics, and public policy in the Arab Gulf and North Africa. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the politics of the rule of law across the Arab world, based on grants from Fulbright, Georgetown and Harvard Universities, the Qatar National Research Fund, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) in Bielefeld, Germany.

Ruben Shougarian was born in Moscow, Russia in 1962.  In 1966, his family moved to Armenia. Dr. Shougarian received his PhD in world history and international relations from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Armenia. He holds an MA with honors from Yerevan Linguistic University (1985), and has completed with distinction post-graduate studies in philosophy, theory of culture, and aesthetics at the Yerevan State University (1989). Dr. Shougarian served as Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister (1999-2005), Ambassador to Italy, Spain, and Portugal (2005-2008), and Armenia’s first Ambassador to the United States (1993-1999). Ambassador Shougarian currently resides in Boston, MA. He is a visiting scholar/lecturer at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.  Ambassador Shougarian is also the author of three books: West of Eden, East of the Chessboard (2010); The Politics of Immaculate Misconception: The Ides of the Post –Secular Age (2013); and Does Armenia Need Foreign Policy? (2016).

Matt Torigian is a leader in policing and public administration in Ontario, with a career that has spanned over 34 years and touched on all aspects of community safety. He has served as Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Community Safety and the chief of a large police service. Currently, he serves as a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, where he is leading a global policing initiative within the Global Justice Lab. As a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School, Mr. Torigian provides advice and assistance to government officials in the United States in South, Central, and Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean on a range of challenging issues in criminal justice. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Western University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University.  Mr. Torigian was invested as an Officer of the Order of Merit of Police Forces in 2012.

Todd Foglesong joined the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto as a Professor of Global Practice in 2014, after having taught political science at the Universities of Kansas and Utah. He teaches courses on the governance of criminal justice and the response to crime and violence in a global context. Between 2007 and 2014, Professor Foglesong was a senior research fellow and adjunct lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). He has worked at theVera Institute of Justice, creating a center for the reform of criminal justice in Moscow and founding Risk Monitor, a non-governmental research center in Sofia, Bulgaria that supports better public policies on organized crime and institutional corruption.



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