The essay competition that kicked off on February 1, 2011 and closed with an award ceremony on April 28, was a country-wide effort undertaken in the framework of the World Bank Armenia Public Information Services. This initiative aimed at raising more awareness and stimulating discussion among university students on these outstanding national problems vying for long-term solutions that can stick. As citizens of Armenia's second and third generation reforms, it is important that the educated youth of today starts getting involved in policy discussions and thinking of themselves as future change agents and decision makers.
Armine Babakhanyan, Evelina Beknazaryan and Venera Martirosyan as a team are surely one of them. These 2nd year Master's students of Business Administration at the American University of Armenia (AUA) are the champions of the essays on the topic of economic crisis. They submitted a group project, in which Armenia's leadership presents the miracle of the country's economic success at the World Economic Forum - Davos-2016. Their creative approach and demonstration of professional knowledge of the subject matter left us – the jury members - doubtless as who the 1st prize should go to.
"This competition is an opportunity for the Armenian students to voice their ideas and thoughts, by that becoming active players rather than passive observers in the process of our country's development," enthused the winners in sharing with us the joy of their victory. "On the other hand, it gives the government an opportunity to hear how the youth sees the current situation and how they would resolve the problems facing the country. So, what we take home with us from this event is the strong feeling that the Armenian youth can really have a say in the country's development. And, also, when you work hard and believe in yourself, the whole universe contributes to your success."
The review panel was comprised of the World Bank Yerevan Office communications team and the respective operations officers. The process was really meticulous and competitive as the best products had to be selected from among 135 applications that arrived in the course of 1.5 months from a number of universities in the capital city and the regions. Overall, thirteen prizes have been granted, with three of them given as encouragement awards.
Levon Ghukasyan, an award winner for his essay on forests, and a 1st year Master's student at the International Center for Science and Education (National Academy of Sciences) goes about life and builds his relationship with the Nature by taking his cues from the wisdom of an old saying that every man must plant a tree, build a house and have children. Levon believes that preservation of forests and green spaces cannot be made possible only by state-imposed policies, but also the individual's personal culture and lifestyle. "I care a lot about Armenia's forests, and I felt obligated to participate in this competition. I felt that I had to write on this subject. Projects like this will make our youth more aware of the importance of the issue and get them more involved in it," Levon concludes.
The authors of the best two essays presented their works at the April 28 award ceremony, in which journalists from a few national media and the staff of the World Bank Yerevan Office were present. Naira Melkumyan, Acting Country Manager for Armenia, and Artavazd Hakobyan, Operations Officer, handed the certificates1. "I am so much pleased and proud to see how smart and creative you - young students - are. And that gives me confidence that your generation can build a better society and a better country," Naira Melkumyan mentioned in her welcoming remarks.