Marc Behrendt Freedom House Presentation
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BAPG Hosts Discussion with Freedom House

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YEREVAN, Armenia On May 21, the BA in Politics and Governance (BAPG) program of the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a discussion with Marc Behrendt, director for the Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. 

Freedom House is an international human rights NGO working in Armenia to create spaces for dialogue among civil society, the government, policymakers, journalists, and the public to combat disinformation and defend democracy and fundamental freedoms. 

The discussion focused on the role of Freedom House and the importance of efforts by civil society actors in promoting democracy. The discourse also covered the programs Freedom House is currently implementing in the region as part of the “Advancing Democratic Culture in Armenia” project, launched prior to the pandemic and the Artsakh war to address the challenges disinformation poses to democratic progress. Within the scope of the project, Freedom House creates spaces for dialogue among local authorities, civil society, lawmakers, and the public to realize positive change in Armenia’s fight against disinformation and also defend core democratic values. 

Behrendt also highlighted the critical role civil society actors can play as a bridge between the government and the public while continuing to work in a watchdog capacity. The participants followed up with questions on the potential challenges that Freedom House faces in implementing its vision. The event concluded with a discussion of the yearly reports published by the organization that are typically utilized by scholars and policymakers to assess the level of freedom enjoyed by individuals in different countries. 

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.