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Tufts E-News: New Site Design TrialFletcher School Program Provides Expertise, Resources Not Found In Former Soviet Republic

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.18.01] With few trained diplomats around him, even fewer resources and a growing need for an international presence, Armenia's foreign minister needed help putting together a trained diplomatic corps. So he turned to his alma mater for help.

Vartan Oskanian worked with Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Armenian American businessman Aso Tavitian to create a program to train a new corps of diplomats for the former Soviet Republic.

"The idea came to me, why not use American universities to train diplomats? That would give our diplomats exposure to the West and America and have a broadening effect on their thinking and the thinking of the ministry," Oskanian told the Boston Globe.

According to the newspaper: "When Oskanian thought of appropriate US universities, he naturally thought of Fletcher, which had run similar training programs for diplomats in other countries."

"Spurred on by a Tufts trustee, Joyce Barsam, Tavitian volunteered to pay the costs" for the program, reported the Globe. To date, the Tufts partnership has trained 30 diplomats -- nearly one fifth of the entire Armenian diplomatic corps.

And the results have been encouraging.

"I use all my knowledge and experience for my work," Ara Margarian told the Globe. The head of the European Union department added, "Now I am really proud that I have the honor to call myself a 'Tuftonian.'"

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