Southwestern Cements Foundations of Human Rights Education and Scholarship with the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh

November 21, 2019

Summer was not a season of rest or reverie at Southwestern Law School as the wheels of innovative educational initiatives spun steadily forward from July to September.

(L-R) Dr. Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender, Republic of Armenia; Artak Beglaryan, Human Rights Ombudsman, Artsakh Republic; Robert Avetisyan, Artsakh’s Permanent Representative to the U.S.

This July, Southwestern Law School hosted distinguished guests from the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh, including the Human Rights Defender of each Republic, along with Board members of the Armenian Bar Association. Their goal: explore possible opportunities for collaboration between Southwestern and the Human Rights Defender’s Offices of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh relating to legal education and the protection of human rights.

Based on the productive meeting, Vice Dean Dov Waisman and Professor Anahid Gharakhanian, with the enthusiastic support of Dean Susan Prager, presented the following opportunities to Armenia and Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender’s Offices: (1) providing full scholarships for Southwestern’s LL.M. Program as well as enrollment in various courses, and (2) hosting visiting scholars interested in advancing their scholarship and professional development. These arrangements were formalized in memoranda of understanding executed between Southwestern and respectively Dr. Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender, Republic of Armenia, and Mr. Artak Beglaryan, Human Rights Ombudsman, Republic of Artsakh – both of whom partook in the initial July meeting at Southwestern.

Invaluable legal advice and knowledge received from prominent lawyers of the Armenian Bar Association and the professors of the Southwestern Law School will firmly contribute to the enrichment of the human rights system of Armenia and build the capacities of the National Human Rights Constitutional Institution of Armenia. In its turn, this will produce results that make us more competitive in the international arena.

Dr. Arman Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia


This is an exciting and bright opportunity for Artsakh lawyers and students to hone their human rights-related skills and knowledge, as well as to explore the developments and trends in international and American law. Thanks to the Armenian Bar Association and Southwestern leaderships, the Artsakh human rights protection system will get a fresh and effective contribution in terms of its capacity building, which is highly needed because of the lack of the country’s international engagement.

– Artak Beglaryan, the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh


The Armenian Bar Association, led by Gerard Kassabian ’01 and Lucy Varpetian ’96, respectively Chair and Co-Chair, played a key role in facilitating the relationship between Southwestern and the Human Rights Defenders and will continue to provide support in the implementation of the various components of the agreements.


With Southwestern’s longstanding record of educating Armenian-American lawyers, this is the perfect law school to also contribute to the further development of lawyers in Armenia and to bring the two communities of lawyers together!

Dean Susan Prager


“This exciting new program is another step forward in strengthening the symbiotic bonds between Southwestern and the Republic of Armenia and establishing a new relationship with the Republic of Artsakh,” remarked Ms. Varpetian.  From 2012-14, Southwestern and the Republic of Armenia partnered in the Southwestern Law School Armenia Fellowship Program, during which an American-trained lawyer worked at Armenia’s Justice Ministry in Yerevan to help develop and strengthen the rule and administration of law in that young democracy.

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