A Rising Star

To sustain Armenia's transition to democracy and develop a healthy civil society, youth need to be actively engaged and given opportunities to participate in political dialogue and social development. In 2005, the Jinishian Memorial Foundation-Armenia (JMF) launched the project Civic Dialogue and Action (CDA) in two regional universities of Armenia. Presently, thanks to a grant from the Foreign Ministry of Norway, Civic Dialogue and Action is thriving in seven regional universities by engaging over 1500 students. The projects vivifies and enhances civil participation in Armenia through supporting and encouraging university students to play more active, capable and informed roles in Armenia's economic, social and political development.

Astghik Hoveyan, a student at Gavar State University during 2005 and 2007, was an active participant in the project. After graduation in 2007, she continued volunteering for the project, advising students in implementing small civic activities through community needs assessments. In 2008, she was selected to join the JMF team as a CDA project officer in Gavar State University. Astghik is a highly reputable person and role model among her students. She is not only a valuable and knowledgeable resource person, but also an energetic person who sincerely shares her compassion with friends. Astghik stresses, "the youth are not just the future, but they are the present of the country and their voices should be heard". The name Astghik means petite star, and Astghik is a real star in the university, well known for her brave character and efforts in spreading democratic values among peers. Astghik is only one of many students whose lives were positively changed as a result of the project. Among the seven project officers currently coordinating student activities, five are former students. Other CDA graduating students are now involved in the civil life of the country as NGO leaders, mass media representatives and civil activists.

Read about the project...