PSIA Students Participate in US Embassy Roundtable Discussion on International Refugee Crisis

YEREVAN, Armenia – On October 10, four students from the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program,
Araks Janiashyan, Davit Musaelyan, Inesa Kocharyan and Tina Kharatyan, participated in a roundtable discussion on the international refugee crisis, held at the US Embassy in Armenia. Together with US diplomats, the students joined an in-depth discussion led by three local NGO leaders: Marine Tunyan, project coordinator of Refugee Integration Through Education and Self-Reliance Opportunities, Hayasa Tahmazyan, vice president of Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization NGO, and Sophya Nersisyan, project manager of Mission Armenia NGO. Following the discussion, the students took part in a simulated diplomacy exercise led by the Embassy Political Officer Somer Bessire-Briers.

Of her experience, Janiashyan remarked, “The diplomatic simulation game gave us an opportunity to share our ideas with other students and practice teamwork. Furthermore, we learned that as a diplomat sometimes you have to defend a country whose actions you may not approve.”

Musaelyan shared his thoughts on his experience as well, adding, “During the discussion you realize that world issues are much more complicated than you thought.”

According to Kharatyan and Kocharyan, “The roundtable organized by the US Embassy in Yerevan was a unique opportunity for each student to put their theoretical knowledge into practice, learn how to formulate arguments and reply to counterarguments, practice convincing other parties of arising conflicts, and also realize how our decisions can affect the challenges of our century.”

PSIA Program Chair Dr. Simon Clarke stated, “This event was an excellent opportunity for Master’s students in PSIA to apply what they learn in the classroom to an important issue affecting the world today.”

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.