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September 27, 2002

ACNIS Roundtable on Anti-Corruption Strategies

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) convened today a working seminar on “The Anti-Corruption Program of the Government of Armenia.”

ACNIS research director Professor Tatoul Manasserian delivered welcoming remarks. “To the traditional functions of money, such as a measure of cost, means of payment and circulation, treasury accumulation and international currency, today obviously another function has been added: a means for bribery,” he said.

Edith Khachatrian, executive director of International Legal Consulting, presented her paper on “The International Experience of Fighting Corruption.” “The broad expansion of corruption in developing countries and in countries with transition economies may devastate those nations and their newly created markets. Corruption inflicts losses of resources and betokens the absence of transparency in business, whereas that atmosphere of transparency and the corresponding legal system are among the vital preconditions for attracting investments,” she said.

In a comment on the first presentation, ACNIS founder Raffi Hovannisian noted that, “while international experience provides important guidance, it is essential for us to foster in Armenia a new civic culture that recognizes as a major source of corruption the conflict between an official’s public duty and private interest, with the system-wide supremacy of the latter.”

Arshaluis Tcheknavorian, a former senior UN executive in Vienna, added that “unfortunately, Armenia has not adopted a development strategy, and that is why corruption cannot be reined in. A personal approach pursues personal gain. This also results from an absence of democracy. People are afraid to speak out.”

The keynote topic, “The Anti-Corruption Strategy of the Armenian Government,” was presented by Stepan Tsaghikian, co-author of the strategy. “The program is a comprehensive document that includes the issues relating to the prevention of corruption in all areas of Armenian life. It also includes the mechanisms for the program’s implementation. These will certainly work if high-ranking officialdom demonstrates a strong will to implement it,” he said.

An open panel discussion followed the formal presentations, with the participation of Honorable Alvina Giulumian, Constitutional Court Justice; Professor Armen Harutiunian, dean of Armenia’s National Academy of Management; national parliamentarians Stepan Zakarian and Vardan Mkrtchian; Hrach Hakobian of the National Citizens’ Initiative (NCI); Vaga Amirkhanian, representative of the “Hakastver” (Anti-Shadow) NGO; Dr. Manuk Harutiunian, senior researcher for the Institute of Philosophy and Law at the Armenian National Academy of Sciences; Arman Babajanian, international affairs analyst from the University of Southern California; Tigran Jrbashian, executive director of “Sed Marsed” consulting; Narine Sahakian, UNDP national project coordinator; and many others.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi Hovannisian and supported by the Lincy Foundation and a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2002, the Center focuses increasingly on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on critical public and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center and its activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am.

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