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PSIA Students Participate in British Parliamentary Debate

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YEREVAN, Armenia – On November 26, 2014, American University of Armenia (AUA) Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) students participated in a British Parliamentary debate. The debate is organized annually by Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan, Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies and Assistant Professor in AUA’s PSIA program, within the framework of the “European Neighborhood Policy” course.

Students were divided into a Government team and an Opposition team. As is done in the classical style of a British Parliamentary debate, the debate began with speeches from the Prime Minister on the Government team and the Leader of the Opposition on the Opposition team. The debate covered Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union/Eurasian (Economic) Union versus closer integration with the European Union or non-membership in any regional bloc. Points of information were raised and a lively debate was generated.

Of the debate, Dr. Vasilyan stated, “Given the knowledge gained during the course, this was an exercise for the students to practice skills in political debate by supporting their ‘party’ or ’coalition’, which will be useful irrespective of whether they ever become members of the legislative branch or undertake a job in another sector such as non-governmental, private, etc.”

Dr. Vasilyan’s latest research on this topic has resulted in a co-authored paper on Russia’s policy towards the South Caucasus, which was presented in fall 2012 and has been published as a chapter in an edited volume. In addition, she co-authored a policy paper/brief that weighed the pros and cons of Armenia’s integration with the European Union, which was written in winter 2012 and was circulated to European Union-based think-tanks. Her research also resulted in a Roundtable Discussion at AUA in fall 2013, analyzing Armenia’s foreign policy course after its decision to join the Customs Union/Eurasian (Economic) Union.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.

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Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) students participated in a British Parliamentary debate

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Students were divided into a Government team and an Opposition team