Tag: ombudsman

21 Nov 2019

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.

15 Aug 2019


From June 27 through July 3, 2019, Armenia and Artsakh were in Los Angeles. The Armenian Bar Association called, and the Hayrenik answered.

Armenia and Artsakh came to Los Angeles and headlined the Armenian Bar’s 30th Anniversary Conference in a panel entitled “What Is and What Is Not Today’s Republics of Armenia and Artsakh”. The countries joined friends and family of the Armenian Bar Association at its Gala Banquet honoring US District Judge Dickran Tevrizian, Ret. Representing Armenia was its celebrated Human Rights Defender, Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan, who also serves as an Ad Hoc Judge of European Court of Human Rights. Representing Artsakh, its fierce and inimitable Human Rights Ombudsman, Artak Beglaryan. For seven (7) consecutive days the Armenian Bar Association shared this unique dual presence of the human rights ombudsmen of Armenia and Artsakh with the Armenian community of Southern California.

A Week of Intense and Productive Meetings and Events

The working visit began with a dinner meeting with the Armenian Bar Board on June 27, followed by meetings with the UCLA’s Promise Institute in the morning of June 28th. In the afternoon on that same day, the Ombudsmen participated in the Board Meeting of the Armenian Bar Association at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Los Angeles. The event was capped by an al fresco cocktail reception on Friday evening.

Saturday, June 29th was spent in an all-day conference featuring our very own Matthew Karanian, Esq. who was joined by Thaddeus Stauber, Esq. in a presentation exploring “The Winding Roads of ‘Genocide Claims’ in the 21st Century.” The panel discussion was moderated by Armen K. Hovannisian, the Chairman of the Association’s Armenian Genocide Reparation Committee—AGRC. In the final segment of the Association’s conference on Saturday afternoon, the Ombudsmen presented their respective perspectives on the state of affairs in Armenia and Artsakh. [See video.] Serving as the moderator was Garo B. Ghazarian, Co-Chair of the Bar’s Armenian Rights Watch Committee—ARWC. That evening, and together with the human rights ombudsmen, the Association celebrated its 30th Anniversary Gala Banquet at the prestigious California Club in downtown Los Angeles.

On Sunday, June 30, and after a morning Board meeting, Ombudsmen Arman Tatoyan and Artak Beglaryan were accompanied by an Armenian Bar Association delegation to a meeting with California State Senator Anthony Portantino. Thereafter, they joined members of the Armenian Bar Association at the Homenetmen’s “Victory Ball” held in the Beverly Hilton Hotel where the ombudsmen were announced to a crowd of more than a thousand Armenians gathered in celebration of the 101 year tradition marked by the call Partsratsir yev Partsratsur.

Monday, July 1st began with a working meeting at the USC Institute for Armenian Studies. The afternoon brought meetings with the Southwestern Law School and Loyola Law School’s “Genocide Studies Center.” The early evening was time for a reception at the Republic of Armenia’s Consulate, co-hosted by the Honorable Dr. Armen Baibourtian, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Bar Association. That evening, the Armenian Bar took the Ombudsmen to an introductory visit to the Board of the Armenian National Committee of America, Western Region (ANCA-WR). Thereafter, Mr. Charlie Galian and the Homenetmen-Western Region Board hosted the Ombudsmen and the Armenian Bar delegation to a private dinner.

Tuesday, July 2nd, included a working visit by the Ombudsmen who accompanied the Armenian Bar delegation to Los Angeles City Hall for a discussion with the Hon. Paul Kerkorian, Council-Member, and Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles for International Affairs, Hon. Nina Hachigian. That same afternoon, the Armenian Bar Association delegation escorted the Ombudsmen to a meeting with the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Western Region Board (AGBU-WR). The evening closed with an an intimate supper at the home of Armenian Bar Association board member, Garo B. Ghazarian.

Finally, on Wednesday morning, prior to heading for the airport to board a flight back to Armenia, our Ombudsmen took in the final meeting of their trip. They sat down for a spirited discussion with Mr. Max Huntsman, Inspector General for the County of Los Angeles’ Sheriff Department. Our very own Chris Keosian, Esq. joined the Ombudsmen and Armenian Bar delegation.

From the moment the Ombudsmen arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), they were greeted by an Armenian Bar Board Representative and, throughout the seven (7) days, they were accompanied by an Armenian Bar Association delegation. The Ombudsmen were also accompanied throughout their trip to Los Angeles by the Ambassador of the Republic of Artsakh, the Honorable Robert Avetisyan, the Permanent Representative of Artsakh for the United States and Canada, based in Washington D.C. Ambassador Avetisyan remains very active with the Association’s Artsakh Legal Initiative Committee—ALIC, co-chaired by brothers Saro Kerkonian, Esq. and Karnig Kerkonian, Esq.

A Milestone Week Marking Substantive Progress and Unparalleled Camaraderie

Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan captured the meaningful bonds established over the intense seven days: “You’ve wholeheartedly embraced us and, with your embrace, you’ve enthralled us.” Artak Beglarian the Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh and the house-guest of Armenian Bar board member Armen Hovanissian’s family, noted the value of having the Armenian Bar Association delegation in step with them in this historic working visit: “The Human Rights Defenders of Armenia and Artsakh feel very well defended and protected by the Armenian Bar Association,” he said, describing as well they many doors opened and valuable connections made.

On July 3rd, back again at LAX, there were deep embraces but no goodbyes exchanged. Working delegations from Armenian Bar Association will return to Armenia and Artsakh—some later this month, some in the next month, and others in the months ahead, ensuring that the faithful bond between the Armenian Bar Association and the institutions of the ombudsmen in Armenia and Artsakh will remain firm and forever embracing, as no distance can keep apart those kindred spirits who are devoted to further the work of human rights in the homeland and, in doing so, fuel the Armenian nation and the Armenian people always toward the just and right.