Recently, Professor Anna Ohanyan and I visited Eurasia International University in Yerevan, an institution founded by her family in 1996, to work on logistics for our conference, Local Roots of Global Peace, an international student conference on global development and security studies. This conference will take place on June 21 and 22, 2019, and is sponsored by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (Armenia), Stonehill College (United States of America), and Eurasia International University (Armenia). This year’s conference, which will be presented in English, focuses on the emergence of a multipolar world politics, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.
The “rise of the rest,” organic challenges to authoritarian structures and regimes, is expanding the agency of developing countries, potentially leading to new systems of global governance. This is a highly complex issue, however. From an optimist’s perspective, increased multipolarity will create more open economies and political systems, deeper and more integrated social structures that are transparent and responsive to civic engagement. On the other hand, as Anna Ohanyan, points out, the more circumspect raise concerns about the competition for power between “the West and the rest,” which has increased in recent years with the growing agency of smaller, emerging countries, "creating increased divisions in conflict regions, creating fresh openings for proxy wars.” If you’d like to explore these issues in more detail, see Anna Ohanyan, ed., Russia Abroad: Driving Regional Fracture in Post-Communist Eurasia and Beyond (Georgetown University Press, 2018).
The purpose of this conference is to understand the shifting impact of the rapid increase in global change--order and disorder--on human security, in its most fundamental sense. The questions explored in the conference cut across all levels of culture and society, foregrounding some of the key existential issues for humankind in the 21st century: What are the challenges for human security within a multipolar world order? What is the role of “people power” in keeping states open and peaceful and economies trading with ease? What is the longer history of this transformation? How have art, literature, music, religion, and historiography played a role in shaping perceptions over time? What are the prospects for stronger and deeper diplomacy in conflict regions? How do we address the global flows of refugees and migrants? Women’s empowerment is central in people power movements. How do women apply their agency and voice towards a more prosperous and peaceful world? How significant is gender in shaping political power? How has religion played a role in shaping perspectives and relationships, local and global? In a context of shifting structures of world power, what is the future for human security? How well are the structures of a multipolar world order equipped to address such crises as climate change, ethnic cleansing, or human trafficking?
Eurasia International University (EIU), at Azatutyan 24/2 in Yerevan, where the conference will be held, is in a lovely, less gentrified part of the city, and I for one relish the blend of old and new. EIU is situated on a floor of an old Soviet factory, with soaring spaces and good bone structure. Color and light splash across the walls of this former industrial site.
Eurasia International University’s staff radiates their dedication and real sense of personal mission.
One can feel the heartbeat of a renascent and more open society built, quite literally, on the massive foundations and rusted relics of Soviet industry—the dinosaur bones of the twentieth century.
Contact Mariam Jilavyan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the conference.