Established in March, 2000 the International Center for Human Development (ICHD or the Center) is a one of the leading think tanks in the region that brings together a team of highly-qualified analysts and researchers with strong academic background and substantial experience in both public and private sectors committed to professional excellence and ethics.
In our perception the Center is a trinity of the team, its achievements and vision.
ICHD employs a team of highly-qualified analysts and researchers with strong academic background and substantial experience in both public governance and the private sector.
The researchers, analysts and trainers of the Center are committed to professional excellence and have demonstrated high level of professionalism throughout the years. The ICHD team has always been open to collaboration and innovation. We are keen to learn new ideas and skills. The ICHD team comprises young, committed and enthusiastic professionals striving to be a part of improvement initiatives, making things happen and stimulating a change for a better society.
The experts of the Center have contributed a lot towards strengthening the regional cooperation in the Caucasus. The research conducted by the Center, as well as the personal contacts of the team members with their counterparts - experts and relevant organizations at both national and regional levels - are of a great asset for the successful implementation of any project. The ICHD core team has been trained in conflict management, effective communication, negotiations and leadership skills in the United States, at the Conflict Management Group (CMG), Cambridge, MA and New School University, New York, NY. Individual experts regularly participate in professional development activities both in Armenia and abroad. The Center feels strongly about the need to pay close attention to lifelong learning and the continued search for knowledge. ICHD is also proud of the fact that a number of its former employees and volunteers currently hold high positions in various international organizations, NGOs and government institutions in Armenia and abroad.
During its decade long history the Center has cultivated a culture of inclusive policy making process, has developed and introduced innovative instruments effective in the regional, national and local policy environment.
We have established trusted institutional relations and partnerships with the policy makers proving ourselves as a reliable partner through providing quality advice, policy analysis and development services to all stakeholders including government, civil society organizations, the private sector and development partners, as well as through creating innovative policy communication tools and promoting adaptive environment for dialogue.
Our consistency and argument based persuasive approach proved to be effective in cultivating a new culture for cooperative advocacy in Armenia, as an alternative to rampant confrontative practices.
We have also championed the development and introduction of new technologies working for effective participation of citizens in decision-making in the country and in the region. The instruments that we have introduced first time ever since 2004 have been further improved to the third generation participatory tools and yet to be developed further to ensure even more effective inclusion.
Various networks in Armenia have been created in the past, and many more will be created in the coming decades. Yet ICHD has plaid a critical role in the evolution of the networks and networking in Armenia and in the region through bringing the change leadership into the logic and practice of the networks. Being the cultivator of the networks we have boosted the self referential power of these networks from their birth; we have equipped the leaders with the practical knowledge and helped them to utilize and multiply this knowledge in various initiatives ranging from advocacy to track two diplomacy initiatives. The networks cultivated by the ICHD proved to be viable and long-lasting leveraging the professional and political career of their members, many of which became high level political leaders and policy makers. ICHD remains the librarian of these networks and tailors its efforts of adding value to the networks tailored to the particular needs of the network and public interest at large.
Overall, we became a center of excellence and knowledge in a broader region recognized as a credible and attractive partner internationally.
We have gained a critical level of institutional sustainability through diversifying our financial sources and ethical independence through commitment to the key values. ICHD’s annual turnover reached over one million euro in 2009. While passing the tipping point of institutional sustainability and maturing rapidly in the past, we also recognize the institutional “curse of grow or fade; we strive to absorb new opportunities, enter new areas, to employ new instruments and address the emerging challenges that face Armenia and the region. We see the creativity and innovation as the key drives for our institutional sustainability in the coming decade.
The Vision and Strategy
We believe that the main omission in the 19-year old reforms in our country is the fact that we have, in essence, until now failed to engage the public in and win its support for the ongoing political, economic and social changes. Furthermore, by concentrating on the creation and strengthening of a state system, we have effectively ignored the need to create and strengthen a new society, as a result of which we do not have today an organized society seeking democratic values and demanding the development of a civil society.
And yet the time is putting forward its demands. One of the main integral parts of a developed democratic state is civic organizations that are able to foster good governance and development through their alternative research, policy feedback and other various initiatives. The activities of the International Center for Human Development are a good example of the emergence of an alternative think tank. The vast majority of the Center's experts has a rich experience with working for various government agencies and is at the same time devoid of any "mentality constraints." They form a team which believes that in this era of globalization and development of high technology we Armenians are able to keep pace with and talk to thinking units of the world in an understandable language, get our message across to the international community, and have our role in the regional and global developments. People in the United States, Russia, and more than 10 countries of Europe, Southeastern Asia, Australia and elsewhere are familiar with ICHD's research. Our close cooperation with the most active organizations of Russia, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan is aimed at finding solutions to serious problems hampering joint and harmonized development of the countries of the South Caucasus.
We are confident that dialogue and rigorous discussion is the right way of identifying existing problems and searching for their solutions. The Center has developed a tradition of discussing current political, economic and social developments as well as acute problems with the participation of the country’s renowned specialists and researchers as well as high ranking officials, diplomats and ordinary citizens. All ideas and proposals resulting from those round-table and public discussions are polished and presented to the public and policy-makers through our policy channels. We have thus tried and will continue to try to provide a forum for various strata of the population to make their voices heard at the highest echelons of power.
We also believe in the huge potential of professional and social networks and have materialized this value in creating several large networks of young leaders.
We have often had to learn from our own mistakes because of the absence of alternatives and possibilities of learning from others. However, we are now more confident about our future because we believe that the initial period of organization-building already belongs to the past. The existence of nine-year experience and a closely-knit team give us a reason to believe in the success of the most challenging projects.
We hope that such a vision will lay the groundwork for sustained development and the center will live up to the expectations of its supporters and partners.
To achieve its main goal and objectives ICHD has worked out a long- and mid-term strategies. The long-term strategy covers the five-years period and the mid-term strategy is developed for the first three years.
In a long-term perspective ICHD aims at becoming a generator of the public policy agenda through utilizing its comprehensive policy analysis and communication technologies and instruments. This approach will allow us to stay a step ahead of the upcoming challenges in a dynamic global environment.
Our society will unavoidably face a genuine leadership generation shift in the coming five years. This creates both opportunities for a think tank to mobilize gaining stronger impact in shaping proactive public policy agenda and challenges like the reproduction of the former policy making and administrative culture through new generation of policy makers. ICHD’s response to these opportunities and challenges require the key strategic element of actively engaging the new generation of leaders in ICHD's policy assistance net. Through such engagement ICHD will strive for streaming its vision and approaches among the new cohort of young policy makers. The objective here is rather ambitious: cultivating a new policy making culture and achieving change through reproduction and joint effort.
In a long-term perspective ICHD will strive for communicating its policy advices more soundly and effectively. Here, the ICHD strategy is anchored at enhancing its own capacity and strengthening capacities of its partners in policy communication.
ICHD envisages engaging the national parliament as a proactive recipient of its policy products and bringing the parliament to ICHD’s advocacy loop in the long-term timeframe. Once again, the ICHD’s cultivated networks and well established connections will be the key strategic resource.
Overall, in a longer term, ICHD will mostly build on its past achievements including networks we have cultivated, technologies and methodologies we have introduced and the knowledge we have learnt. ICHD will also continue creating innovative products and bring in new initiatives, engage new partners and boost new relations regionally and globally.
In a mid-term perspective ICHD will focus on about ten increasingly critical areas of the public agenda. Meanwhile, ICHD’s mid-term strategy incorporates element ensuring its flexibility and timely response to any emerging public issue every year. For the last purpose, ICHD will reserve resources for this purpose considering the resources needed for implementing specific instruments.
Through its mid-term strategy ICHD will, firstly, work to improve the environment for financial sustainability of civil society institutions, particularly, the think tanks through developing policy recommendations and advocating for the legislative change. This element will both contribute to the overall development of civil society in Armenia, and will specifically ensure the long-term sustainability of the ICHD’s work. The new legislative initiatives will particularly refer to the introduction of the institute of endowments in Armenia and will foster public-private partnership in the country.
Secondly, ICHD will keep the public anti-crisis policies in the focus of its work. ICHD’s mid-term strategy in this area aimed at generating alternative policies and serve as a counterweight in anti-crisis initiatives. The ICHD strategy considers that both the impact of its policy products and the credit that the think tank will eventually gain (even if the Government would not implicitly follow ICHD’s policy advice) will capitalize.
ICHD considers that the upcoming three years will be decisive to gain a critical impetus for accelerating Armenia’s integration with the EU. The ICHD has well positioned itself as one of the champions in civil society striving for Armenia’s progress towards EU integration, implementation of the country’s commitments and following the road map drawn by the ENP and Eastern partnership frameworks. ICHD’s mid-term strategy envisages identifying key challenges in EU integration process and shaping the policy response.
ICHD is one of the key messengers of the attitudes, concerns and opinion of citizenry on the process of the regulation of the NK conflict and Armenia-Turkey relations. In this area the mid-term strategy of ICHD envisages upstreaming citizens’ voice through translating the outcomes of the THMs into policy language and communicating. ICHD will continue building on its partnership strategies engaging effective partners in Azerbaijan and Turkey. ICHD will also continue its Track Two initiatives.
In mid-term perspective ICHD will build on its success in engaging local communities into the participatory development planning and budgeting process. ICHD has established strategic partnership with the key government stakeholder in developing local democracy in Armenia – the Ministry of Territorial Administration of the Republic of Armenia. Being interested in financial sustainability and local accountability of the local communities, the Ministry became the committed partner of ICHD in extending the participatory process countrywide exponentially and achieving the critical mass of communities implementing the participatory decision making practices. ICHD’s mid-term strategy in this area envisages building local capacities for community based organizations and local self-governance bodies, as well as cultivating a community of practitioners in participatory decision making mechanism.
ICHD will build on its successful exercise of the scenario planning policy analysis tool on defense planning. In the mid-term framework ICHD will build on another strategic partnership with national and international security and defense institutions including NATO. ICHD with its partner, Armenian Atlantic Association, a member of NATO affiliated institution, plays a catalytic role in civil society to boost the cooperation between national institutions and NATO for the objectives under the Individual Partnership Action Plan generation framework, particularly for promoting civilian control over the military.
While ICHD successfully implements its main policy communication tool; prepares and disseminates Policy Briefs, Viewpoints, THM analytical tools, etc., yet the extended scope and intensity of the issues that the thank tank engages (over 25 policy documents in 2009) requires additional skilled professional staff. ICHD intends addressing this issue in the mid-term scale through the cooperation with professional institutions offering capacity building via internal training and external mentorship. Such mentorship will also serve as a ground for establishing an internal quality control procedure for the policy products within the think tank. ICHD will build on its partnerships with various think tanks in Eastern Europe and global networks.
Policy culture change requires consolidating short-term lessons learned through the work. ICHD will continue promote best practices in effective policy analysis and communication among Armenian policy makers, civil society actors, political parties, media and development partners. In a mid-term perspective, ICHD will use genuine opportunities for exposing innovative technologies, viable partnerships and its corporate culture as a leading think tank. In 2010, ICHD used the occasion of its 10th anniversary to serve to this purpose and will, particularly, issue a publication exposing its vision, strategy and best practices, as well as organizing an event.
To secure proper funding of the resources needed for the implementation for its long-term and mid-term strategies ICHD will continue mobilizing resources seeking further possibilities to apply for solicited and unsolicited opportunities applying to the donor community active in Armenia, e.g. Eurasia Foundation, Freidrich Ebert Shtiftung, etc., as well as mobilizing resources globally, i.e. seeking support from key multilateral and bi-lateral donors, such as the European Commission, Council of Europe, OSCE, the World Bank other etc. ICHD has already secured funding from various sources for specific activities, as well as formulated its initiatives into the format of concept notes and applications with particular donors.
Armenian Atlantic Association (AAA) together with its youth branch Armenian Youth Atlantic Association (AYAA) will host a youth conference “The Black Sea Region: Bringing future decision makers together in the changing world”, to take place in Yerevan, on 14-15 March, 2013.more >>
More than twenty representatives of civil society institutions and think tanks, private businesses and development partners participated in the off-the-record discussion.more >>
More than twenty representatives of civil society institutions and think tanks, private businesses and development partners participated in the off-the-record discussion.more >>
10 public discussions on Millenium Development Goals: post 2015 development in 5 regions of Armenia and in Yerevan
From 2 September to 2 November 2012, with the support from the UN Population Fund and in close cooperation with the RoA Government the International Center for Human Development completed the International Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014 survey questionnaire. Within the framework of that undertaking, consultative and focus group meetings with competent State bodies, civil society organizations and private companies were held and a desk review was conducted.