Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Southwestern Armenia Fellowship

armeniafellowship_crest2Downloadable Flyer (PDF)

Read about Southwestern's Inaugural Armenia Fellow and his work

  • Winter 2014 (PDF)
  • Winter 2013 (PDF)

Armenia's Minister of Justice, Hon. Hrayr Tovmasyan, asked the Armenian legal community in the Diaspora for a particular kind of assistance: to have American-trained legal professionals' help in the development of Armenia's legal system. Southwestern responded promptly, embracing the opportunity to serve the rule of law as well as a developing country and its people who are near and dear to many within the law school community.

The cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and Southwestern has now resulted in an agreement to establish the Southwestern Armenia Fellowship in Yerevan, Armenia. The partnership will enable the fellow to work directly with the Ministry, for a one-year full-time position. As articulated in the agreement, the goal is for the position to be ongoing and "to serve the developing legal system in Armenia."

Role of the Armenia Fellow | Eligibility/Application Process
Fellowship Fundraising
| Contact

Hon. Hrayr Tovmasyan, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia"Armenia's Ministry of Justice is delighted to have this unprecedented cooperation between the Ministry and Southwestern Law School for advancing the rule of law in Armenia."

- Hon. Hrayr Tovmasyan
Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia

Role of the Armenia Fellow

The inaugural one-year Armenian Fellowship position is anticipated to start in Fall 2012 and will offer a competitive salary and benefits. The Armenia Fellow will be a Southwestern employee who will work with the Ministry of Justice, in Yerevan, Armenia. The work will involve, among other areas, one or more of the following:

  • Revising the Civil Procedure Code, including in the areas of due process and adjudication time limits.
  • Redrafting the Civil Code and drafting corresponding legislation, such as related to lease agreements and mortgages.
  • Reforming the criminal justice system in the areas of sentencing, incarceration, and reintegration.
  • Reforming the penitentiary system, in conformity with international human rights standards.
  • Developing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including arbitration and mediation.
  • Revising provisions of the Judicial Code to balance independence with accountability of the judiciary, as well as focusing on ethics and disciplinary procedure for judges.
  • Providing legal writing and reasoning training for judges and attorneys.
  • Assisting in development of NGO cooperation schemes.

Click here for a more detailed description of the Role of the Armenia Fellow.


Candidates for the Armenia Fellowship must have completed a J.D. degree. Fluency in Armenian is not required. High consideration will be given to Southwestern alumni. Click here for full qualification details.

Application Process

Click here for details regarding how to apply, application deadline and Fellowship start date.

Fellowship Fundraising

The Ministry and Southwestern's cooperation in establishing the Fellowship has been focused and swift, as it's clear to all involved that advancing the rule of law is the anchor to a nation's stability and development. The Armenia Fellowship Executive Committee plans to sustain the Fellowship for at least 5 years and continue its fundraising goal of $300,000 for long-term support of the project. Tax deductible donations to the Fellowship fund can be made by:

  • Filling out and returning the pledge form (PDF)
  • Giving through the online form (under Gift Designation, note Armenia Fellowship for "Other Gift Designation")
  • Calling Joan Bautista, Director of Institutional Advancement, at (213) 738-6814


Inquiries regarding the Armenia Fellowship may be directed to Professor Anahid Gharakhanian.

"We applaud Southwestern Law School's commitment to the development of Armenia's legal system, and look forward to our cooperation with the school and hosting the Southwestern Armenia Fellow."

- Nora Sargsyan, Ph.D.
Advisor to the Minister of Justice
of the Republic of Armenia

"A stable legal system is key to Armenia's continued growth and development, and having the cooperation of Southwestern Law School in our endeavor is truly inspired as well as inspirational. I hope that our Diaspora community will also be inspired and lend its generous support to the Southwestern Armenia Fellowship with Armenia's Ministry of Justice."

- Hon. Grigor Hovhannissian
Consul General of the Republic of Armenia

"Not only is this a nice opportunity to contribute to the justice system in Armenia, but it is also an opportunity to develop a cadre of Southwestern graduates skilled and experienced in promoting the rule of law." 

- Dean Bryant G. Garth
Southwestern Law School

Southwestern and Armenia Ministry of Justice Select Inaugural Southwestern Armenia Fellow

Attorney Garen Nazarian has been selected as the first Fellow to participate in this unique program. In September 2012, Mr. Nazarian began serving in this yearlong position in Yerevan, Armenia. Throughout the course of his Fellowship, Mr. Nazarian will work on several critical projects including: development of the new Penal Code, establishing probation in the criminal justice system, finalizing the Criminal Procedure Code and potentially developing a parole system. Read more.