An incredible young lawyer from Artsakh, Arman Asryan, will graduate with an LL.M. at Southwestern Law School’s 107th commencement this Sunday, May 29, 2022, at the Rose Bowl. Both he and his story are remarkable.

Lucy Varpetian, Chair of the Armenian Bar Association and 1996 Southwestern alumna, explains: Just months before Arman matriculated into Southwestern’s LL.M. program as the inaugural fellow under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Southwestern and the Human Rights Defender’s Offices of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, Arman was 7,000 miles away helping defend his homeland of Artsakh in the war of aggression against it by Azerbaijan. Armed with the tools he has learned and developed at Southwestern, Arman will now return to his native land to steer and safeguard an indigenous civilization steeped in the rule of law, the respect for human and civil rights, and the security and dignity of all people.

In the wake of Arman successfully completing Southwestern’s LL.M. program, Southwestern signed new MOUs with the Human Rights Defender’s Offices of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh extending and expanding the relationship. Under the MOUs, Southwestern will provide up to two full scholarships for LL.M. students during the next four academic years.

“I am excited to offer this educational and advancement opportunity to more dedicated attorneys like Arman to strengthen their international law and human rights related knowledge and skills at Southwestern and return home to Artsakh and Armenia as impactful change makers and leaders.”
Darby Dickerson, Southwestern Law School’s President and Dean

Human Rights Defender of Armenia, Kristinne Grigoryan, offered congratulations to Arman for his upcoming graduation. She is proud to be part of this important initiative with Southwestern that “provides an excellent opportunity to young lawyers from Armenia and Artsakh to enrich their knowledge in the field of human rights and rule of law.” Ms. Grigoryan is grateful to Southwestern “for such a great partnership.”

Additional accolades for Arman come from Gegham Stepanyan, the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh. He congratulated Arman for being the “’firstborn’ of this program and completing it successfully.” Mr. Stepanyan is confident that Arman will be an “ambassador of cooperation between Southwestern and Artaskh’s Human Rights Defender’s Office” and will “inspire many to follow his footsteps$ “ Mr. Stepanyan is thankful to Southwestern “for its willingness and persistence in acknowledging the potential of and creating opportunities for the aspiring legal professionals of Artsakh and putting access to education above all.”

Southwestern’s relationship with the respective Human Rights Defender’s Offices and the resulting scholarship program would not have been possible without the critical roles played by Southwestern alumna Lucy Varpetian ’96 and the Armenian Bar Association. Varpetian and the Armenian Bar Association will continue to consult with all parties to help ensure the program’s continued success.

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