RSC Staff

Richard Giragosian. Founding Director of the Regional Studies Center (RSC)

Mr. Richard Giragosian is the Founding Director of the Regional Studies Center (RSC), an independent “think tank” located in Yerevan, Armenia. He also serves as a Visiting Professor and as a Senior Expert at the YerevanStateUniversity’s Centre for European Studies (CES) and is a contributing analyst for Oxford Analytica, a London-based global analysis and advisory firm.

Giragosian previously served from 2009-2011 as the Director of the ArmenianCenter for National and International Studies (ACNIS), another think tank in Armenia. From 1999-2008, he was a regular contributor to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) publications, and also served as a contributing analyst for the London-based Jane’s Information Group from 2003-2010, covering political, economic and security issues in the South Caucasus, Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. From 2008-2010, he was a regular columnist for the Turkish-language international edition of Newsweek and still serves as a consultant and adviser to several Turkish media outlets and analytical publications.

He has contributed to publications of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Bertelsmann Foundation, the International Security Network (ISN), the Swiss Peace Foundation, and has written for Jane’s Defence Weekly, Oxford Analytica’s Daily Brief, theChina and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Jane’s Intelligence Digest, the Hong Kong-based “Asia Times,” the journal Demokratizatsiya,Jane’s Foreign Report, the Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, the “Turkish Daily News,” the Turkish Policy Quarterly, OxfordUniversity’s St. Antony’s International Review (STAIR), and the Harvard International Review, among others. He has also been regularly quoted and cited by the “Washington Post,” the “Wall Street Journal,” the “New York Times” and the “International Herald Tribune,” as well as by the BBC, AFP, Reuters and Bloomberg news agencies.

From 2002-2006, Giragosian served as a guest lecturer for the U.S. Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, NC, and has participated in various research projects for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI), the Naval Post-Graduate School (NPS), the U.S. Navy’s Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), and for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School. He has also worked as a consultant for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union (EU), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Crisis Group (ICG), and the London-based global risk consultancy Control Risks, among others.

For nine years, Giragosian served as a Professional Staff Member of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) of the U.S. Congress. As the committee’s principal staffer for the former Soviet Union and China, he was responsible for organizing Congressional hearings, studies and briefings for Members of Congress and served as JEC liaison to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). He has also worked as an analyst for Abt Associates Inc., a social science consulting firm, from 2000-2005, and was a research consultant for the New America Foundation and the Center for National Policy (CNP) in Washington.

Giragosian is a member of the IREX Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program Reading Committee and the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) Fellowship Selection Committee. He was twice appointed as a State Commissioner on the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Armenian Affairs and the Virginia Gubernatorial Armenian Advisory Commission. He has also served as an honorary member of the National Steering Committees of both the 1996 Clinton-Gore Reelection Campaign and the Gore 2000 Presidential Campaign.

David Shahnazaryan

Dr. David Shahnazaryan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, is a Senior Analyst, providing strategic guidance, innovative analysis, and specific support for the Regional Studies Center (RSC), an independent “thin tank” located in Yerevan, Armenia. In his capacity as Senior Analyst, Dr. Shahnazaryan is engaged in several projects, including RSC efforts in support of “normalizing” relations between Armenia and Turkey and our ongoing engagement and collaborative research with experts and analysts from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. He is also supporting our research and analysis on a wide range of broader regional issues, such as security in the South Caucasus, Russian interests in the region, and EU policy priorities for the Eastern Partnership region, among others.

More recently, Dr. Shahnazaryan has also supported our project activities focused on security within the broader Black Sea region and the Middle East, and is an active contributor to our efforts in support of developing and deepening Armenian relations with the European Union.

As a prominent experts on the region, he is widely cited by various media outlets in Armenia, throughout the former Soviet Union, including the South Caucasus region, and internationally, and is a regular commentator for leading publications in Europe, Turkey the United Kingdom, the United States, and Ukraine, among others. He is also a frequent contributor to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) publications.

Shahnazaryan is also the Founder & Chairman of the Center for Legal and Political Studies “Concord,” and is a former two-term deputy in the Armenian parliament (from 1991-1995 and 1995-1999), as well as a founding member of the Board of the “Armenian National Movement” Party. He has also held several senior-level posts in the Armenian government, serving as the Ambassador of the President of Armenia on Special Missions and Special Representative of the President of Armenia from 1992-1995, and as the Armenian Minister of National Security from 1994-1995.

Dr. Mikayel Zolyan is an Analyst with the RSC, specializing in ethnic conflict, politics of nationalism and ethnicity, as well as issues of democratization and nation-building in the post-Soviet context. Zolyan holds a Ph.D. in history from the YerevanStateUniversity and an MA in Nationalism Studies from the CentralEuropeanUniversity in Budapest. Dr. Zolyan currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the BrusovYerevanStateLinguisticUniversity’s UNESCO Chair of Democracy, and was previously a Lecturer at the Department of International Relations and Political Science at the Russian-ArmenianStateUniversity in Yerevan.

He was also a Visiting Scholar at both the Institute of Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley (February-June 2010) and at the University of California Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Department of Sociology (January-May 2008), as well as a Visiting Researcher at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (TEMPUS Individual Mobility grant; 2004).

Dr. Zolyan is a prominent expert on democratization within the former Soviet Union and is recognized as a specialist on the use of social media tools for civic activism. Since 2010, he has worked as a Project Coordinator and Analyst at the Yerevan Press Club, and has published over two dozen articles and book chapters in Armenia and abroad. A native Armenian language speaker, he is also fluent in both English and Russian, and is an intermediate speaker of Spanish and French.

Dr. Haykak Arshamyan is a Project Coordinator of the RSC Turkey Project, responsible for the administrative and logistical management of the RSC’s participation in the 18-month EU-financed consortium on Armenian-Turkish Normalization. Arshamyan holds a Ph.D. in history from the YerevanStateUniversity, and since 1994, has served as a Visiting Professor at both the YerevanStateUniversity and the StateEconomicUniversity. He has also participated in a number of professional training courses and developmental seminars, including training courses offered by the Conflict Management Group at the HarvardLawSchool and at the Institute of International Studies of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Arshamyan is a recognized expert on Armenian civil society, media, education and youth issues, with over 15 years of experience working in the fields of education, civil society and the public sector. He also has extensive managerial, program design and budgeting experience, as well as proven skills in analytical research and cross-cultural training. During his professional experience, he has also developed and coordinated volunteer/internship programs with local NGOs, the private sector and government agencies. He experience includes serving as the Acting Director of the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC), where he implemented and managed their international volunteer program, and has worked for many years in the Armenian Ministries of Education and Science and Foreign Affairs, and has also served on the staff of the Armenian Prime Minister.

Ms. Satenik Baghdasaryan is the Project Director of the RSC Black Sea project, focusing on broad economic, political and security issues in the wider Black Sea region. She also provides research and analysis in support of other RSC projects, and serves as a Teaching Assistant for graduate courses at the YerevanSateUniversity’s Centre for European Studies (CES).

Baghdasaryan holds an MA in European Studies from the YerevanStateUniversity’s (YSU) Center for European Studies, where she also earned a BA in Political Science, and completed the American Institute on Political and Economic Systems (AIPES) academic program at CharlesUniversity in Prague. She has also worked as a Research Assistant at the ArmenianCenter for National and International Studies (ACNIS) and as a Project Coordinator at the Civic Forum NGO, a Yerevan-based civil society organization. She has also officially represented the RSC in various conferences, both within Armenia and Europe, including a high-level conference devoted to the EU Eastern Partnership programme that was convened in Poland, and has also successfully completed a specialized “Managing Defense in the Wider Security Context” training course implemented by the UK Ministry of Defence, which took place in Tbilisi, Georgia in May 2012.

Ms. Anush Ghazaryan is a Research Analyst working on a number of RSC projects, with a specific focus on economic and financial analysis and security issues. She is a graduate of the EuropeanRegionalEducationalAcademy in Armenia and is currently completing an MA at the YerevanStateUniversity’s Centre for European Studies (CES), with a specialization in Armenian-EU relations, European enlargement and integration, and the EU’s Eastern Partnership. Ms. Ghazaryan has officially represented the RSC in various international conferences. Most recently, Ms. Ghazaryan participated in a December 2012 security seminar organized by the Washington-based Fund for Peace (FFP), in cooperation with TbilisiStateUniversity and the Georgian Institute of Politics, in Tbilisi, Georgia, focusing on the converging threats of proliferation, trafficking, terrorism, and state weakness in the South Caucasus.

Ms. Masoumeh Jamalinia is the Project Director of the RSC Iran Project, with a particular focus on proliferation and domestic Iranian developments. A native of Shiraz, Iran, Ms. Jamalinia has been working with the RSC since 2011, after completing an MA in International Relations from the YerevanStateLinguisticUniversity. She also holds a BA from the YasoujStateUniversity in Iran, with a focus on English Language and Literature.

Mr. Robert Ghazinyan is the Project Director of the RSC Economic & Financial Analysis project, a strategic partnership with an Armenian financial education and services group. In addition to providing research and analysis in support of other RSC projects, including the RSC Turkey and Iran projects, he also serves as a Teaching Assistant for a certified professional development and training program for young professionals and graduate students, known as the “RSCExpertSchool.” Mr. Ghazinyan holds both a BA and an MA in Iranian Studies from the Yerevan State University (YSU). He has also successfully completed a specialized “Managing Defense in the Wider Security Context” training course implemented by the UK Ministry of Defence, which took place in Tbilisi, Georgia in May 2012. He has officially represented the RSC in various conferences, both within Armenia and Europe.

Mr. Ashot Turajyan is the RSC System Administrator, responsible for the RSC website design, administration and security. A graduate of the State Engineering University of Armenia, Turajyan also provides technical expertise and analytical support for RSC work in the areas of cyber-security and cyber-crime, and assists with our work in using social media tools and technology for organizational outreach and promotion.