After pursuing an academic career in Chemical Physics, my life took an unexpected turn. When the Soviet Union collapsed, and the struggle between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh erupted, I realised that people from academia could not remain enclosed in their academic bubble. I became involved in the Helsinki’s Citizens Assembly, which marked the beginning of my peace-oriented career. Today, after more than twenty years as a peace activist and a gender specialist, I am the Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly. As one of GPPAC's Gender Focal Points for the South Caucasus, I believe that combining peace-oriented and gender equality approaches is crucial to ensure women's participation in the field of peace and security.
How are you working on inclusive peacebuilding and conflict prevention in Armenia and beyond?
Recently, I contributed to developing and designing the Second Armenian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which was adopted in 2022. I devoted my efforts to ensure that more women would be involved in the decision-making process on the NAP, so that their voices and needs would be fully acknowledged. I believe that women must be considered as crucial change agents who bring meaningful contributions to peace processes. The participation of women in creating a peaceful future for the region is a priority for the Armenian National Committee of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly. We advocate for the government to pay attention to the issues that affect women, especially the displaced women in Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh. I am convinced that, in the future, women will be increasingly involved in concrete projects and plans related to peace and security, and their achievements will go even beyond what is envisaged by the NAPs and by the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda.
What motivates and inspires you to be part of the GPPAC network?
My goal as GPPAC's Gender Focal Point for the South Caucasus is to prevent the escalation of further conflicts in the region. GPPAC contributes to this cause with its significant experience and expertise in conflict prevention. The GPPAC network is a space for us to learn from other peacebuilders how to build peace not only on paper but also in the hearts and minds of people. I firmly believe that peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding are key to preventing the escalation of violence and to safeguarding a peaceful future. I plan to put even more effort into ensuring that the WPS Agenda is fully integrated into the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In this way, I hope to promote the meaningful participation of women in the achievement of peace in the region.
Region: South Caucasus, Armenia
Area of Expertise: Peace Activism; Gender, Conflict Transformation and Community Development.