In recent years, civil society in Armenia has become much more active in the form of citizens’ initiatives and public advocacy groups which are influencing cultural development.
Activities of the many culture-oriented NGOs (e.g. “Research on Armenian Architecture”, “Akos”, “Zard”, “The future is yours”, “Zharang”, “Khazer”, etc.) address cultural development of youth and children, rehabilitation of the Armenian ethnic culture and cultural heritage, development of particular spheres of art, and advocacy in the cultural sphere. NGOs are organising learning processes in the spheres of art, music, foreign languages for children and youth, conducting specific events like contests, concerts, festivals, and advocating for the endangered cultural heritage.
Citizens’ initiatives and advocacy groups
Civil society in Armenia has been actively developing through citizens’ initiatives and public advocacy groups. In general, initiatives can be grouped by spheres and goals:
- Initiatives on preservation of cultural heritage include activities in social networks, rallies and demonstrations of group of citizens in support of preservation architectural values of old Yerevan planned to be removed or transformed in the course of new urban construction processes. The Summer Hall of the “Moscow” cinema theatre, the “Covered market”, the Mashtots park and other constructions have been objects of citizens’ initiatives during the last four years (2010-2013).
- Initiatives defending or prioritising cultural values such as mother tongue. A campaign against changes in the Law on the Language resulted in establishment of an initiative group “We are against schools in foreign languages” which is actively protesting against opening schools in foreign languages.
- Ecological initiatives that defend ecological and cultural sustainability and protest against industrial projects jeopardising eco-cultural balance of the Armenian villages and towns. The most outstanding was the initiative on preservation of the waterfall of Trchkan, one of the touristic places of Armenia (2011).
- Anti-globalisation initiatives protesting against “western” innovations in information, gender, economics, political and religious spheres. One of the last outbursts of this movement has become the creation of a public group of parental control (All Armenian Parents’ Committee, 2013), which is aimed at controlling information flows, legislation changes and other processes related to education, gender, culture and information spheres.