YEREVAN, Armenia – On November 8, the Political Science and International Affairs program (PSIA) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) organized a seminar exploring the current stalemate in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and perspectives for conflict transformation. The speaker of the event was Dr. Artak Ayunts, who argued that the political systems of the countries engaged in the conflict have adjusted to the situation, as the conflict has remained dormant for more than 20 years. Presumably, the existing status quo serves the interests of the existing authorities. Hence, the ruling regimes do not have strong incentives to seek conflict resolution.
Dr. Artak Ayunts believes that in these conditions, conflict transformation approaches are considered a necessary means to deal with the conflict. Given that political elites have little incentive to implement such change, civil society activists come increasingly to the forefront. The lecturer concluded that only through multi-track initiatives supported by civil society activists that the conflict transformation practices would advance and subsequently bring peace to the region.
Dr. Artak Ayunts has over ten years experience in peace research and conflict studies in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. He also has experience in research design conducting qualitative and quantitative studies in the fields of conflict resolution, peacebuilding, transition democracies, and discourse analysis. During the last several years, Dr. Ayunts has also worked with various international and local non-for-profit organizations and educational institutions, in particular, International Alert, Caucasus Research Resource Center-Armenia, the Yerevan State University, and UNDP. In 2014, Dr. Ayunts joined the Eurasia Partnership Foundation where he oversees peacebuilding programs, focusing on Armenia-Turkey normalization and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Dr. Ayunts holds an MA degree in Sociology from the Yerevan State University (YSU), MA degree in Conflict Resolution from the Peace Studies Department of Bradford University. He completed his Ph.D. studies at YSU in 2004. Additionally, Dr. Ayunts is an author of more than twenty academic publications and research articles. He has also been a DAAD Fellow at Peace Research Institute Frankfurt in 2012 and Visiting Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University in 2013.
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.