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Students Connect Classroom Knowledge to Real-World Experience during Visit to EU Delegation

By Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan, PSIA Assistant Professor & Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies

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YEREVAN, Armenia – For the fourth year in a row, first- and second-year students enrolled in the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) courses “the European Union and the World” and “European Integration” were treated to a visit to the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Armenia on March 7, 2014. The visit was organized by Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan, Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies and PSIA assistant professor, who is teaching those courses.

Students were welcomed by Dr. Dirk Lorenz, head of the Political, Economic, Press and Information Section at the EU Delegation. Holding a PhD in Public International Law and having previously worked in the European Commission, Dr. Lorenz gave a talk on the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, EU-Armenia relations, the role of the Delegation, and his tasks. He eagerly answered the numerous questions posed by the PSIA students relating to the comparison of the EU’s policy towards Armenia and Georgia, the current situation in Ukraine, the complexity of the EU foreign policy, especially with respect to conflict resolution and political crises, and the economic repercussions of Armenia’s choice of the Customs Union and Eurasian Union rather than the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU. Booklets and leaflets about the Eastern Partnership, EU programs and projects were also made available to the students.

“After the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty with the launch of the European External Action Service in order to bolster the role of the EU as a foreign policy actor, EU Delegations have become Embassy-style missions. This educational visit, combined with a speech delivered by a key EU diplomat, helped the students to connect the knowledge gained from books to the political ‘presence’ and ‘actorness’ of the EU on the ground. This was an opportunity offered to our students to come into contact with the ‘real world’ out there”, said Dr. Vasilyan.

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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Head of the Political, Economic, Press and Information Section at the EU Delegation Dr. Dirk Lorenz delivering a talk. 

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Dr. Vasilyan introduced the educational purpose of the visit for the PSIA first and second year MA students taking ‘The EU and the World’ and ‘European Integration’ courses, respectively.

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Students took advantage of the opportunity to pose questions about the EU’s foreign policy. 

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Students were interested in the current situation in Ukraine. 

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Head of the Political, Economic, Press and Information Section at the EU Delegation Dr. Dirk Lorenz speaking with AUA students.

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Questions were posed by the students about the EU’s policy towards Armenia and Georgia, resolution of conflicts, and other topics.

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