Parliamentary Democracy Center


Parliamentary Democracy Center

At the National Assembly

Within the framework of the reforms envisaged by the UNDP’s “Modern Parliament for a Modern Armenia” project, a Parliamentary Democracy Center will be established at the National Assembly of RA with the funding of the governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom, and the development of its concept is entrusted to the UNDP “Modern Parliament for a Modern Armenia” project.

Text : Hasmik Barkhudaryan

Future Outreach Department

To have a better idea about the future center, we visited the National Assembly and went to see the place which is planned for the construction of the center. David Karapetyan, the adviser to the NA speaker, accompanied us to the basement of the NA building, which actually looks like a museum, or, at least, a storehouse of exhibits. It turns out, starting still from the Soviet times, none of the old things in the NA building has been thrown away; old radio sets, computers, and even framed photographs of the former governors are still there. With its П-shaped architectural design, this area is especially convenient for the exhibition model. 

For decades, this basement has partially served for technical purposes, and partially has been used for collecting such an archive. For decades, the archive hasn’t been given much importance, and it’s only in recent years that the idea of reforming the area and giving it a new function has been conceived. The main goal of the center is not only to present the history of the Armenian parliamentary democracy, but also to eliminate the notable disconnect between the parliament and the citizens.

“Although the project is still in its initial stage, the operational plan which will guide us in establishing the center is already on the table. As an end-result of consultations with historians, specialists in culture, political scientists, and relevant specialists from different state institutes, archives, museums and libraries, we will make the list of the selected exhibits, including the photo and video content, which will be presented in the center and reflect the mission and vision of this new body,” says Armen Yesayants.

In the exhibition area of the center, artifacts, documents, video and photo materials will be displayed through which the visitor will get introduced to the cornerstone stages of the history of Armenia, especially the modern period. The main goal is to present the whole history of the establishment of the parliament to the visitors of different age groups. They will be guided along the historical way of Armenian political mind, with the focus being on the development and establishment of democracy in Armenia. Temporary exhibitions and cooperation with local and international organizations, as well as individuals, will make the center’s activities more dynamic.

“That being said, we don’t want this center to become just a place for displaying the exhibits and documents, as people today prefer more active participation; we envisage to apply both combined and virtual reality and interactive technologies. By the way, the new center will also emphasize inclusion; this center will be a unique place for education and information. It will also be an important scientific platform for students, pupils and teachers specializing in relevant areas, as well as for historians, politicians and culturology specialists,” says Armen Yesayants. 

This center will be a special place for the visitors as this historical building designed by Mark Grigoryan, which is itself a unique architectural monument, will become a more spectacular place with its added historical content.
According to Armen Yesayants, the history of the mind of Armenian parliamentary democracy is worth being presented separately, as, unfortunately, the knowledge of even the RA citizens about modern history is often superficial. Despite the short period of Independence, the Armenian political mind developed much earlier. Moreover, the Armenian Legislative body stood out with its progressive and democratic views even during the years of the First Republic, about which few people know, and this is just one piece of the information that will be available at the future center.


Parliamentary Education Department in the NA

Within the framework of the UNDP “Modern Parliament for a Modern Armenia” project, the parliamentary education program is envisaged which is logically connected with the idea of the center. Adviser to the RA NA Speaker, coordinator of works with international donors Vahan Kostanyan in his conversation with Regional Post said that within the framework of the parliamentary democracy center, while studying the new standards of general education, they’ve come up with an idea of developing a new program according to which citizens of different age groups will have the opportunity to be taught on the role of the parliament and the constitution in the society.

Vahan Kostanyan studied international experience and is confident that it’s quite possible to harmonize the general and parliamentary educational programs. The initial version of this program is ready. The curriculum is designed for several age groups, with the focus being on the 10-11 graders, who study these very topics during their social science subject.

For now, the pilot version of the program is considered for the high-school students. If successful, the program will be expanded. Both the trained employees of the NA and the deputies themselves will speak about the parliament, the RA Constitution and other related topics. Other non-formal methods of education, interactive components such as quests, questions and answers, etc., will be used.

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