Socialist Approaches to Armenia’s Challenges: Global Perspectives and Local Realities

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun (Armenian socialist party) held a two-day international conference in Yerevan, on March 25-26, 2010.

The conference had two main objectives: first, to discuss socialism today in its ideological and practical aspects; and, second, to consider the social and economic challenges facing Armenia and the adequate socialist responses.

To that aim, the conference provided a forum to analyze the experience of other socialist, social democratic and labour parties, successful cases of social mobilization and reforms leading to social justice in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Experts, intellectuals, political activists, and representatives of socialist, social democratic and labour parties, as well as non-governmental organizations and social democratic foundations from Armenia, the Diaspora and from around the world took part in the debates.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by Davit Lokyan, ARF-D Bureau Member and co-chair of the organizing committee of the conference.

The conference proceeded through the following panels:

Armen Rustamyan and Davit Lokyan

Panel I: Socialism and the contemporary world

Moderator: Vahan Hovhanissyan, ARF-D Bureau Member, ARF-D parliamentary Faction Leader (Armenia)
Speakers: Peter Weiderud (Sweden, Federal Chairperson, Swedish Christian Social Democrats): Solidarity in Globalization – Reflections on Challenges to the Swedish Model
Ricardo Nunez (Chile, Senator): Legislation and Socialism
Mario Nalbandian (Argentina, ARF-D Bureau Member, SI Committee on the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea Co-Chair): Socialist International as a Tool for Social Democracy
Hossein Raghfar (Iran, PhD., Economics, Expert on Social Issues): Institutional Arrangements for Equity
Karen Khanlarian (Armenia, PhD., Industrial Engineer, Editor of the ARF-D Bureau official monthly Droshak): Developments of Socialist Thought

Panel II: Socialism and the contemporary world

Moderator: Murad Papazian, ARF-D Western Europe Central Committee Co-Chair (France)
Speakers: Eleni Christidou (Greece, International Secretariat of PASOK): The sources of social injustice and Socialism in the context of the crisis of global capitalism
Maria Titizian (Armenia, Socialist International Vice President): The Crisis of Social Democracy in Europe, Lessons for the CIS
Khatchik Der Ghougassian (Argentina, PhD., Political Science): Redefining Socialist Ideology in the Former Soviet Region
Tatiana Moskalkova (Russia, Just Russia Party, Deputy of State Duma): Humanitarian Cooperation in the CIS, Issues, Development Perspectives
Armen Rustamyan (Armenia, Chairman of ARF-D Supreme Council of Armenia, Chairman of RA National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Relations): Issues of Social Justice and Solidarity in Armenia

Panel III: The market and socialism

Moderator: Ara Khanjian, Professor of Economics at Ventura College, California (USA)
Speakers: Ashot Yeghiazaryan (Armenia, PhD., Economics): The Theory of International Relations. Issues of Socialist Theory.
Boris Kuseletov (Russia, Just Russia Party, International Secretary): Prospects for Developing and Strengthening Cooperation between Social Democrats and Socialists in the CIS
Artsvik Minasyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Deputy of National Assembly, ARF-D): Socialist Approaches to the Protection of Property Rights
Mher Tsaduryan (Armenia, MA, International Law and Economics): Armenia in the Current of Globalization; Solutions or Issues?
Karine Danielyan (Armenia, PhD., Geography): Eco-socialism as a Tool for a Sustainable Future
Tatul Manaseryan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Advisor to the Speaker of National Assembly): National-Social Competitiveness of the Economy: the View from Armenia

Panel IV: The model of free market economies and the reality of monopolies

Moderator: Ara Nranyan, National Assembly of Armenia Member, ARF-D
Speakers: Haik Sargsyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Dean of Yerevan State University Department of Economics), Ruben Gevorgyan (Armenia, PhD. Physics and Mathematics): The Process of Economic Modifications and the Crisis in Armenia
Mikael Mikaelyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics): Concentration Levels of the Commodity Market and the Priorities of Protecting Competitiveness

Mourad Papazian, Mario Nalpatian, Senator Ricardo Nunez

Panel V: The right of work, the system of social protection

Moderator: Armen Rustamyan, Chairman, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Supreme Council of Armenia
Speakers: Olivier Khatchikian (France, Lawyer, Expert on Workers’ Rights): Workers’ Rights and French Law
Seyedkamal Athari (Iran, Economist, Expert on Social Issues ): Typography of Social Housing Policy
Murad Papazian (France, ARF-D Western Europe Central Committee Co-Chair): Public Intervention in the Developing State
Arsen Petrosyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Advisor to Chair of State Labor Inspectorate): Demographics and Issues of Migration in Armenia
Hrach Hovhannisyan (Armenia, National Assemly Staff Specialist): Trade Unions, Society, and the State
Arsen Hambardzumyan (Armenian, former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, ARF-D): The Vision of a Social State
Abgar Yeghoyan (Armenia, President of the Protection of Consumers’ Rights NGO): The Protection of Consumers’ Rights

Panel VI: Socialist responses to issues of health, education, gender, environment, youth and culture

Moderator: Maria Titizian, Socialist International Vice President (Armenia)
Speakers: Marlene Haas (The Netherlands, Secretary General of the Socialist International Women)
Lilit Galstian (Armenia, PhD. Linguistics, National Assembly Deputy, ARF-D): Cultural Policy, Today and Tomorrow
Karen Vardanyan (Armenia, National Assembly Deputy, ARF-D): Intellectual Property Rights, Culture in Armenia
Davit Hakhverdyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, School of Corporate Governance): Investing in Human Capital and the Quality of Education in Armenia
Gagik Vardanyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics): Knowledge-Based Economy: 21st Century Challenges
Tatul Hakobyan (Armenia, MA in Public Health, Deputy Minister of Health): Policies of Health Protection, International Experience, Perspectives for Armenia.

Panel VII: Social-Economic Reforms and Current Challenges

Moderator: David Lokyan, ARF-D Bureau Member (Armenia)
Speakers: Ashot Markosyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Professor of State University of Economics): Issues of Economic Diversification in Armenia
Bagrat Sargsyan (Armenia, Deputy of National Assembly, ARF-D): The Role of the State in the Agricultural Sector
Pavel Hovhannisyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics): Issues of Regional Development in Armenia
Antranik Tevanyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Director of Politeconomia Research Institute): Issues of the Republic of Armenia’s Transitional Economy
Ara Khanjian (USA, PhD, Economics): Pension Reform in Armenia
Ara Nranyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Deputy of National Assembly, ARF-D): Encouraging Export as a Development Strategy

Panel VIII: Corporate Governance and social responsibility

Moderator: Artsvik Minasyan, National Assembly of Armenia Member (Armenia)
Speakers: Tigran Karapetyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, President of Corporate Governance Center): Corporate Governance and Democratic Economy
Narine Melikyan (Armenia, PhD., Economics, Ashtarak Kat Ltd., Deputy Chair): Corporate Culture, Business and Social Responsibility: the Current Situation in Armenia

Among the invited participants were:
Matthias Jobelius (Germany), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Regional Director
Naira Geworkian (Armenia), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Yerevan Office
Marina Ohanjanyan (The Netherlands), Alfred Mozer Foundation Project Manager