Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Forum for Economic Development in Armenia

Wednesday we had a forum regarding the economic development of Armenia. Two different people spoke about the problems of economic development in Armenia. In many ways, there is reason for optimism. In the early 90’s Armenia lacked necessities including water, electricity, and gas. Other times, I am discouraged by what I hear from the locals that I work with. Policeman often pay for their jobs and thus receive the privilege of bribing motorists. I experienced this first hand with my host dad. After being pulled over, he put 1000 dram (about $2.50) into his passport, handed the passport over, and that was it. I was told by an American working here that if you refuse to pay, the police have been know to say things like “but I have friends in town.” It’s funny, but also a major problem that is difficult to change. Similar corruption exists in universities in which students often pay bribes to get into university, and then pay professors bribes to pass their exams.


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