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U.S.-Armenia Local Democracy Forum in Yerevan, Armenia

U.S.-Armenia Local Democracy Forum in Yerevan, Armenia

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard R. Verma and President of the Republic of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan opened the U.S.-Armenia Local Democracy Forum on June 17 in Yerevan, Armenia. The Forum, which is the first of its kind, brings together U.S. and Armenian mayors and regional, state, and provincial leaders for a two-day exchange about what it means to be a local leader in a democracy.

Ambassador (ret.) Nina Hachigian, the U.S. Department of State Special Representative for City and State Diplomacy, led the U.S. delegation, accompanied by Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Sarah Morgenthau. The delegation included Mayor Elen Asatryan of Glendale, California; Director Samuel Assefa for the Office of Planning and Research of the State of California; Mayor Paige Cognetti of Scranton, Pennsylvania; Mayor Wilmot Collins of Helena, Montana; Mayor Victor Gordo of Pasadena, California; Deputy Secretary Kelsey Olson at the Department of Agriculture of the State of Kansas; and Chief Information Officer Ted Ross of Los Angeles, California.

Armenian participants included Lilya Davtyan, Vanadzor Head of Development Programmes, Foreign Relations, and IT; Davit Gevorgyan, Head of Foreign Affairs Department, Yerevan; Governor Hayk Ghalumyan of the Tavush Province; Mayor Armen Grigoryan of Stepanavan; Arman Khojoyan, Deputy Minister of Economy; Edgar Martirosyan, General Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Syunik Province; and Mayor Vardges Samsonyan of Gyumri as well as several other Armenian local and national officials.

In the opening session of the Forum, local leaders announced their intention to form new city and regional partnerships between the city of Helena, Montana, and Stepanavan community; the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Armavir community; and the state of Michigan and Tavush province.

Following the opening session of the Forum, participants will discuss democracy building at the local level through cooperation with civil society and free media, transparency and accountability, election integrity, constituent engagement and other areas. On the second day of the Forum on June 18, delegates will travel to Gyumri, meet with municipal officials, visit the Gyumri Technology Center, and hold in-depth discussions on topics such as IT development, fostering public-private partnerships, responding to climate change, and promoting tourism.

Participants will also hold meetings in their sister city and state pairs to share ideas for deepening their dialogue and cooperation over the coming months, with the intent to build robust partnerships that enhance mutual understanding, good governance, economic development, and peace and prosperity for the people of Armenia and the United States.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/u-s-armenia-local-democracy-forum-in-yerevan-armenia/

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