Composition of the "Diaspora" Expert Council

The members of the first expert council, Diaspora, are: 

  • Asbed Kotchikian (USA, Armenia) – PhD in Political Science (2008), professor at American University of Armenia.  Before AUA, he worked for many years at Bentley University and Florida State University, in addition to being a visiting professor in Armenia. Kotchikian has written, lectured, presented, and organized conferences on foreign policies of small states, questions of identity and diasporas, and regional developments in the Middle East and Eurasia. Dr. Kotchikian received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the American University of Beirut (AUB) after which he continued his graduate studies at Boston University obtaining his PhD in 2008 (with a dissertation work on the foreign policy of small states focusing on Georgia and Armenia).

  • Hrant Mikaelian (Georgia, Armenia) – interdisciplinary specialist in social sciences — political scientist, economist and social geographer, senior researcher at the Caucasus Institute (since 2009). A representative of the "Armenian Project" NGO. Previously worked as a Senior Specialist at the Research and Statistics Department of KazTransGaz-Tbilisi (currently called Tbilisi Energy). Author and co-author of 3 monographs and over 50 scientific reports and articles. The scope of his interests includes theoretical questions of resettlement of human society and, from the regional perspective, the South Caucasus.

  • Sarkis Balkhian (USA, Armenia) – a human rights activist focusing on the Middle East and the South Caucasus regions. He is the Executive Director of Aleppo-NGO, an Armenia based group supporting refugees from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). He has previously worked at the Human Rights Watch and USA for UNHCR in Washington, DC. Balkhian holds a BA in Political Science and Genocide Studies from Clark University and an MA in diplomacy and international relations from Yerevan State University.

  • Talar Kazanjian (Kuwait, Armenia) – international economist, Chief Operational Officer of the "ARMENIA 2041" Foundation. Project management professional. Member of the Board of Trustees of CRRC Armenia. Previously worked as the Executive Directot of AGBU Armenia, as well as a management consultant and program/project manager in a few geographies, namely the Caucasus, Middle East and the Arab Gulf, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Talar also worked on various government and public sector restructuring projects in the Arab Gulf countries. Kazanjian holds an MA in Military Strategic Studies from the John Hopkins University.

  • Vadim Harutyunov (Russia) – journalist, orientalist-indologist, clinical psychologist, Founder and Head of the "Antitopor" Analytical Agency. Harutyunov is an expert on the Armenian communities of the world, fluent in five languages. He is the first person in the Russian-speaking media environment who began to fight against the Azerbaijani propaganda in mass media. He previously worked as a correspondent of the Russian First Channel, Moskovskij Komsomolets newspaper and Spanish magazine Semana. He graduated from theInstitute of Asian and African Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia, 2003) and obtained a degree in clinical (medical) psychology at Kostanay State University (Kazakhstan, 2006).

  • Vartan Marashlyan (Russia, Armenia) – PhD in Economics (2000), Co-Founder and Executive Director of the RepatArmenia Foundation, which is aimed at promoting high impact repatriation to Armenia as well as engaging Diasporan Armenians with the homeland. He has previously worked as a Deputy Minister of Diaspora with a particular focus on repatriation and youth programs, Summer School for Young Leaders and Journalists, as well as an assistant to the Prime Minister of Armenia. Vartan has more than 20 years of work experience both in public and private sectors. He has been a speaker at several local and international forums with a specific focus on international experience of State-Diaspora relations, Armenian identity issues, repatriation and integration policies. His private sector experience includes real estate development and banking. He was born in Yerevan and moved back to Armenia in 2010 after living in Moscow for over 25 years. Vartan graduated from the Russian Finance Academy with a degree in International Economics in 1997. In 2000, he received his PhD in Economics from Moscow State University.
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