PSIA Holds Seminar on Immunization and Individual Rights

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YEREVAN, Armenia – On January 26, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) department held a seminar, given by Associate Professor Simon Clarke, entitled, “Should Vaccination Be Compulsory? Political Theory and Individual Rights.”

The presentation examined whether there is any principled objection against mandatory vaccination. Immunization is an important social good but many people choose not to have their children vaccinated. Dr. Clarke discussed two of the strongest theories of individual rights, and argued that neither of them gives reason to think that compulsory vaccination would violate people’s rights.

Of the importance of the topic, Dr. Clarke stated that, “As well as involving an interesting policy debate, the research illustrates how political theory can be useful for understanding the foundation of individual rights.”

The seminar was attended by faculty members from PSIA as well as other programs, and was also attended by PSIA graduate students. After the presentation, there was discussion of the various issues raised, including the issue of vaccination policy in Armenia. One audience member commented, “It’s an interesting topic and is especially important for Armenia today.”
The seminar was the first in a series of PSIA seminars to be held this semester on Monday afternoons. The seminar series will give faculty an opportunity to present and receive feedback on their latest research and for students to hear about the subjects that faculty are working on.


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.


Students and faculty attend PSIA seminar


The seminar was given by PSIA Associate Professor Simon Clarke

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