On December 10, Gavar State University (GSU) celebrated the fifth anniversary of its legal clinic, established with the support of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The clinic provides free legal aid to vulnerable groups in society including women, children and the poor, with a special focus on domestic violence victims. It also provides a unique opportunity for law students to apply their theoretical knowledge about the law in a practical setting, imparting necessary experience to enter the legal profession. The clinic has, since its inception, provided legal consultations to 400 citizens. In her opening remarks, Ruzanna Hakobyan, rector of the university, expressed her appreciation to ABA ROLI and USAID for their generous contributions to the clinic. “A special tribute should go to the ABA ROLI and the USAID,” she said, “By their funding of these kinds of projects, they have shown they are genuinely interested in the reconstruction of our country.”
Arsen Aproyan, vice rector and head coordinator of the legal clinic, reported on the activities undertaken by GSU legal clinic throughout the past five years. He said the clinic has helped citizens exercise their basic rights. He thanked the university and the Gavar legal community for their support and said the clinic helps “to raise awareness of the pro bono ethos among law students and young lawyers.”
In attendance were Vardan Hayrapetyan, GSU vice rector of academic affairs, deans from several departments of the university, legal clinic alumni and other guests from international and local organizations. A conference dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights followed the celebration. In her speech at the conference, Ms. Hakobyan said that major improvements have been made in recent decades in how human rights is understood and applied. “Knowledge about human rights empowers individuals and offers solutions for specific problems,” she said.
Student participants submitted abstracts on human rights and clinical education for the conference, which will be published in the university’s reader. The best reports were highlighted at the conference.
At the closing of the conference, Kregg Halstead, ABA ROLI’s country director in Armenia, made final remarks noting the important work of the clinic and the hard work of its staff.
To learn more about our work in Armenia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].