USC Policy Fellows Program Kicks Off with Participants from Armenia, Karabakh

Councilmember Paul Krekorian meets with USC Policy Fellows at Los Angeles City Hall
Councilmember Paul Krekorian meets with USC Policy Fellows at Los Angeles City Hall

Councilmember Paul Krekorian meets with USC Policy Fellows at Los Angeles City Hall

LOS ANGELES—The USC Institute of Armenian Studies has kicked off its third cycle of the USC Policy Fellows Program, in collaboration with the offices of Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian and Los Angeles City Mayor, as well as the Armenian Government through the office of Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan.

The collaboration between the sister cities of Yerevan and Los Angeles initially took shape in 2018, following Armenia’s Velvet Revolution and transition towards implementing democratic institutions. The program selects and places mid-career professionals from Armenia in policy planning positions throughout the City of Los Angeles to learn from and contribute to the process of improving lives in both cities.

For the first time, the program is hosting a candidate from Karabakh’s government. Hayk Mayilian, project manager at Karabakh’s Ministry of Culture, was selected together with Armineh Chakhalyan, a legislative aide to Yerevan’s Deputy Mayor, to participate in the Fall 2019 term of the program. Mayilian has been placed in L.A.’s Department of Convention and Tourism Development for the duration of his stay. Chakhalyan is currently working in the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

“The USC Policy Fellows Program is a unique opportunity for me to learn about the City of Los Angeles. I spent my first week in Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s City Hall office and now I’m in the Los Angeles Transportation Department, where I am learning about the public transportation system, traffic control system, and more. After the program, I am planning to invest my knowledge in improving the public transportation system in Yerevan. The USC Policy Fellows program is also a great opportunity for me to learn more about the Armenian-American community,” said Chakhalyan.

In addition to their work at the City of Los Angeles, during their four-month placement, the fellows are able to take advantage of the rich resources available through the Institute, including attending lectures, conferences, discussions, and meeting with relevant scholars and practitioners.

“The program provided by the USC Institute of Armenian Studies is a very good opportunity to learn how everything works in the U.S. I’m involved in every working process in the Convention and Tourism Department of L.A. I try to get as much information as possible so that I can be able to take some methods that I liked here and use them in the future in Artsakh,” said Mayilian.

The previous cohort included Lucine Dayan, assistant to the chief of staff to Armenia’s prime minister, and Andranik Tevosyan, consultant in the Water Committee of Armenia. Dayan worked in the Emergency Management Department in Los Angeles and Tevosyan worked in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The Program’s inaugural fellows, Anna Aktaryan and Davit Shindyan, arrived in the Fall of 2018 and were placed in the Bureau of Engineering and in the Department of Sanitation, respectively.

“The premise of the USC Policy Fellows program is to build off of the Sister City relationship in a deep and contentful way,” said Silva Sevlian, associate director at the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. “The professionals chosen for this selective fellowship bring years of experience in their field and use the opportunity to learn best practices and amplify the efforts of government initiatives in Los Angeles and at their post at home.”

The program has been made possible through the generous support of the JHM Foundation.

Established in 2005, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies supports multidisciplinary scholarship to re-define, explore and study the complex issues that make up the contemporary Armenian experience—from post-genocide to the developing Republic of Armenia to the evolving diaspora. The institute encourages research, publications and public service, and promotes links among the global academic and Armenian communities.

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