‘Socialist Approaches to Challenges’ Forum Opens in Yerevan

YEREVAN—An international conference entitled Socialist Approaches to Armenia’s Challenges “Socialist Approaches to Armenia’s Challenges: Global Perspectives, Local Realities,” organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation kicked off on Thursday.

The two-day gathering includes both Armenian and non-Armenian delegates from around the world who have converged in Yerevan to discuss workable solutions to Armenia’s challenges.

In his opening remarks to the conference, ARF Bureau member Davit Lokian stated that the ideas generated from the conference will be compiled together in an official packet of proposals, which will open new opportunities for tackling the socio-economic problems accumulated in Armenia.

Some of the questions to be explored by the conference include the modern applications of socialist ideology and practice; paths socialist and social-democratic parties have chosen to take in recent years; and the positive outcomes these parties have secured in the sphere of economic reform and social justice in their countries.

In a press conference earlier this week, ARF member and vice-president of the Socialist International, Maria Titizian, elaborated on the motivation behind the conference by stating, “Today in Armenia, we have extreme wealth amid extreme poverty, issues of higher education, women’s rights, and the protection of children’s rights. In this regard, it is important to analyze the experience of other nations, which is what we will be attempting to do with this conference.”

Participants in the conference include experts and activists from such countries as Russia, the US, France, Sweden, Greece, Argentina, Chile, Iran. There are also participants from Armenia and various Diasporan political, intellectual and public institutions.

ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovannesian also addressed the conference opening today, noting the importance of such a gathering in the context of the world economic crisis—a time when the government’s public policies have become highly disputable. The conference was organized with the direct intent of laying answers down to these pressing issues, he said.

Following the opening remarks, presentations were also given by, among others, ARF Bureau member Mario Nalbandian and President of the Swedish Association of Christian Social Democrats, Peter Weiderud.

ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamian also added that the conference aimed to offer tangible solutions to the grave problems facing Armenia and propose solutions that the Armenian society, as a whole, can engage in the reform processes.

“Government policies to combat poverty have failed. Serious economic and social reforms are needed to address these and other critical challenges,” said Rustamian.

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