Research and Training Center

Research and Training Center

The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia has a new Center called Research and Training. It was initiated within the scope of a UNDP project called “Modern Parliament for a Modern Armenia” and is funded by the UK and Swedish governments. Regional Post talked to Head of the Republic of Armenia National Assembly’s Expertise and Analytical Department Garnik Atanesyan and Adviser to the National Assembly Speaker David Karapetyan.

Text : Hasmik Barkhudaryan     Photo :  Araks Kocharyan


Whats and Whys of the Center

The Republic of Armenia National Assembly’s Expertise and Analytical Department – as suggested by the name – is a subdivision of the National Assembly staff, employees of which are considered as public servants and their remuneration is made in accordance with the general guidelines stipulated by the Law on Remuneration of Persons Holding Public Offices. However the vibe here is a bit different. 

The Expertise and Analytical Department is like in a parallel reality amid the neoclassical and somewhat old-fashioned interior design of the National Assembly premises. The luminous space marked by glass walls and modern furniture stands out from everything else inside the building. The Department consists of four divisions, namely the Division of State and Legal Expertise, Financial and Economic Expertise Division, Social, Educational, Healthcare Expertise Division and Legislative Monitoring and Information Division. While the first three ones are engaged in expertise the fourth deals with monitoring the laws adopted during the last three years and providing information on the social impact of those laws. Any legislative initiative coming into the National Assembly, regardless of its provenance is checked meticulously by legal experts who ultimately give an exhaustive answer on its constitutionality and conformity with the existing legislation. This job is not an easy one and apart from a well-structured general knowledge and solid awareness of the laws requires a good deal of concentration. One needs to be extremely attentive to avoid giving the green light to such laws which could potentially contain mutually contradicting provisions. 

 

Garnik Atanesyan notes that the Research and Training Center came into a structural reorganization and a status readjustment of his department. The main goal of the newly created body is to offer better research and expertise services to the National Assembly and have a greater involvement in the training of the MPs and the staff members. The center according to Atanesyan should be a good partner to each and every MP who can find their answers to their questions within the shortest possible time. As a result of the creation of the center other divisions are being reorganized, merged or expanded. 

Adviser to the National Assembly Speaker David Karapetyan notes that the activities of the center will be coordinated with the research units of the government ministries which will be helpful for making even deeper research and analysis and making more informed decisions. The center’s training division will enable both the staff and MPs to attend different courses on different topics.

 

Staff and Efficiency 

Involvement of quality experts is of key importance for the center to produce serious research. “It is no secret that serious research can be produced by serious researchers. However, involving serious specialists under the present rates of remuneration is not realistic. Thanks to the successful cooperation with the UNDP the center is embarked on a successful implementation of its projects,” says Garnik Atanesyan. 

In terms of recruitment, the department has started involving promising specialists from high school or brilliant master’s students to join the team as junior experts. The center is also striking cooperation deals with leading regional universities. Atanesyan says they will try not to leave a good student looking for a job; they will recruit them as soon as they appear in the job market. In case of new jobs opening in the center – especially of senior positions – priority will be given to its own junior staff. For the moment the department has 34 employees, 12 more positions are still vacant while the center, if functioning in its full capacity, will employ 70 people, some of whom will be busy with research and expertise while others will be engaged in training. 

 

The center needs professionals in multiple disciplines, including lawyers, finance experts, sociologists etc. Albeit the number of the staff is still limited, while there is a vast amount of work for them to do, the department finds time on top of everything else to do research on such topics as criminalizing spreading false news, pros and cons of majority and proportional voting systems and be honored with a well-deserved praise for the job done. 

Atanesyan is happy with the staff and mentions with pride that the youngest team member is 21 years old while the senior one is 66 years old. According to him they got a perfect blend of youth and experience, which contributes to the efficiency of the work done.

According to Garnik Atanesyan the most important thing is that they have a vision and belief in it as well as good mutual understanding with international organizations.

Related Articles