Apella’s Center for Elections and Democratizations brings qualified election experts, both from the academia and practice, for an inter-disciplinary and targeted research on policies affecting electoral integrity, both in Armenia and globally. Our team is equipped with experts and practitioners of international caliber and matches academic excellence in the field of electoral research with practical experience in election observation. Our core team of experts holds PhDs or other advanced degrees from world-class institutions in election-related disciplines; we have a cohort of internationally certified election observers, who have experience of election observation with leading international agencies, such as the OSCE/ODIHR and IFES. Ultimately, we network with some of the leading international election observation agencies and experts and have access to the most up-to-date information and expertise in the field of election observation. Our contributions vary from studies in electoral forensics to legal & political analysis, performance assessment & post electoral audit, electoral policy design and analysis, voter education, observation methodology development, as well as consultations on broader range of topics for civil society and other stakeholders engaged in improving electoral laws, regulations and practice.
Araks Melkonyan (Fellow)
Araks Melkonyan (Fellow) has earned her LL.B and LL.M in International Law from Yerevan State University, after which she pursued further specialized LL.Ms in International Human Rights Law from University of Essex (2014) and in International Crime and Justice from UNICRI/University of Turin (2015). Araks was previously engaged with various national and international human rights organizations in different human rights projects, including coordinating criminal trial monitoring projects, penal policy reform, human rights in armed forces, human rights and drug policy and others. Her research interests cover a wide range of human rights issues, as well as international criminal justice.
Armen Mazmanyan, PhD (Senior Fellow)
ArmenMazmanyanis the Director of theApellaInstitute and of its Center for Constitutional Studies. He has obtained his PhD in Law from the European University Institute in 2009 after a four-year intensive research on constitutional review in post-Soviet countries. He has several articles and chapters on comparative constitutional law and politics published by international journals. Dr.Mazmanyantaught comparative and international law in the American University of Armenia between 2003 and 2012 and held research positions in different universities in Europe and the US, most recently in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, University of Sydney, Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and Columbia University Law School. He frequently advises international organizations and NGOs on legal reforms and democratic institutions in countries in transition to democracy. He is currently a member of the International Steering Committee of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC).
ArmenMazmanyan’sexpertise includesconstitutional research, human rights, democratization, elections and electoral integrity, European law and integration, international law.
Marek Lenč, PhD (Senior Fellow)
Dr. Marek Lenč (Senior Fellow) works as an assistant lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Department of IR and Diplomacy at the Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. During his doctoral studies on German foreign policy completed research stays at the universities and institutes in Jena and Berlin (Germany). Conducted post-doctoral research at Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in European Studies at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (Ukraine) and was awarded 2015 research visiting fellowships at University of Vienna (Austria). He is co-author of the first comprehensive analysis of post-unification German foreign policy in Slovakia, active in contributing to recognized international journals as well as political commentator for leading Slovak newspapers Denník N. His main teaching and research interests include German foreign policy, Eastern partnership and democratization in former Soviet Union, and Slovak political and economic transformation experience.
HovhannesGalstyan (Fellow) obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from Yerevan State University. He also holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs from the American University of Armenia (AUA). His research interests and most recent focus areas include Comparative Political Systems, Political Development, Studies of Democratization and European Integration.
Margarita Galstyan (Fellow)
Margarita Galstyan(Fellow) received her LLM in Human Rights in Central European University in 2013. Her research topic was on electoral rights in national and international perspectives. She also holds an LLM from the American University of Armenia and a Bachelor’s in Law from Yerevan State University. She worked as a legal expert in the fields of human rights and justice reforms at Armenia’s Ministry of Justice, OSCE Yerevan Office, UNDP Armenia. Currently she is the project manager of CoE project on criminal justice reforms in the Republic of Moldova, focusing on reforms of Prosecution service, Ombudsperson institution and eradication of ill-treatment and impunity.
Monika Sargsyan (Fellow)
Monika Sargsyan (Fellow) is a qualified lawyer and a certified international election observer. She has earned her LLM in International Commercial Law from French University Foundation in Armenia (2006) and her Master degree in Political Science and Law in International Business law from Jean Moulin Lyon 3 (2006). Monika has an extensive exprience with the International Center for Human Development, as well as with Ameria Consulting. As a legal consultant, Monika has worked with the World Bank, Credit Agricole S.A., Les Laboratoires Servier SAS, Nokia/Siemens (Germany), Eversheds LLP (Spain), EBRD Friedrich Ebert Foundation Armenian Branch, Ministry of Justice of Armenia, and a number of other organizations and companies.
Monika got her certificate of an OSCE/ODHIR long term observer in 2010. She has been deployed as an OSCE observer in national elections in several countries, including the Russian State Duma Elections in 2011 and the Russian Presidential Elections in 2012. She also worked as an OSCE/ODHIR local legal expert in the election observation mission for the Armenian presidential elections in 2013.
Hamazasp Danielyan (Senior Fellow)
Hamazasp Danielyan (Senior Fellow) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Yerevan State University. His Pd.D (kandidat nauk) dissertation was on the influence of external factors on the democratization of Armenia. He initiated and lead research in Armenia and Artsakh on verious topics, including on the attitudes of Armenians toward democracy, political elite and electoral system of NKR, etc. Currently, Hamazasp works as Project Coordinator in USAID “Support to the National Assembly of Armenia” project and previously was a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) Armenian branch, a leading organization providing assistance in the field of elections. He also has an extensive experience in working with civil society organizations in Armenia.
Tatsiana Snegova (Fellow)
Tatsiana Snegova (Fellow)is a political analyst and European public affairs specialist. She holds a master’s degree in Political Science, with a concentration in Eastern Europe, from European Humanities University in Vilnius (2010). Upon being awarded a George Soros Open Society Foundation scholarship, she pursued and obtained a second master’s degree in European Public Affairs from Maastricht University (2014).
Snegova’s professional record includes more than seven years of experience with international organizations such as the European Commission and European External Action Service, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, as well as public consulting companies. Currently, she is a program officer at Berlin-based Democracy Reporting International, where she analyzes regional developments in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus and is also part of the team reporting on the political reforms in Ukraine. She maintains an extensive network of contacts in the region.
Snegova’s main areas of interest are EU policy and politics, elections and political processes in post-Soviet countries, civil society, civic engagement and new forms of activism, as well as democracy promotion and democratic institution building.
Tatsiana is Belarusian. Her working languages are English, German and Polish, in addition to her native Belarusian and Russian. She is currently based in Berlin.
Vardan Baghdasaryan, PhD (Senior Fellow)
Vardan Baghdasaryan (Senior Fellow)holds a PhD program in Economics and Finance from Catholic University of Sacred Heart (Milan, Italy). His research interests lie in the field of political economics and transition studies. In his thesis Vardan analyses theoretically and empirically the effect of electoral fraud on voter participation and investigates possibilities of rule of law development with non-benevolent government in power. Current and previous professional experience as an economist-consultant is related to technical assistance projects contracted by international donor organizations (World Bank, EBRD, GIZ etc.).
His most recent projects are related to the development of country strategy paper for the Republic of Armenia, simulation of the effects of tax reforms and public finance reforms in Armenia. In addition to economics background, Dr. Baghdasaryan has completed a professional education scheme in accountancy and finance – he’s an ACCA affiliate (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK) since 2010. He has got managerial experience in his capacity of Deputy Director at the Centre of European Law and Integration (currently Centre of European Studies), a European Commission funded project. He has also teaching experience, currently offering courses on Game Theory and Theory of the Firm.