YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Secretary General of the Socialist International (SI) Luis Ayala–in Armenia on the invitation of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)–visited Yerevan State University (YSU) on Wednesday to present a lecture for University students and teachers–after meeting with YSU Rector Radik Martirosian along with ARF Bureau members Vahan Hovhannisian and Mario Nalbandian as well as Armenian Science and Education Minister Levon Mkrtchian.
The rector noted the importance of Ayala’s visit and the power of the SI–indicating that the ARF–one of the main players in political arena of Armenia–is a member of organization. Martirosian recalled that YSU was founded in 1919 when the ARF was the ruling party in Armenia.
He briefed the guest about Armenia’s educational system–its challenges and current reforms it is undergoing. Luis Ayala asked whether foreign students study in the University.
"About 350 foreign students are enrolled in the University; this number will grow in the coming years due to the seventy five agreemen’s YSU has signed with many countries," revealed Martirosian.
In presenting Ayala lecture to the YSU students and faculty–Martirosian said that while some parties in Armenia have a history of a few months–"it is quite inspiring that ARF–one of the Armenian traditional parties–is a member of this powerful organization."
Ayala thanked the university for the invitation and opportunity to speak–mentioning that although he is visiting Armenia for the first time–he knows a great deal about Armenia and the Armenian people thanks to the ARF’s presence in SI.
He introduced the history of the SI stressing the importance of socialist and social democratic ideas in present international developmen’s. More than fifty countries have socialist or social democratic governmen’s today–said Ayala.
Commenting on the Iraq crisis–Ayala said that political developmen’s indicate that organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union were unable to find solutions to this confrontation–and that the SI can become that organization–based on the cooperation of socialist parties around the world–to play a greater role.
Asked to comment on the recently held presidential election in Armenia–Ayala said he was aware of the shortcomings and difficulties–but that he views the election as a step forward in developing democracy in Armenia.
The participants of the lecture expressed hope that ARF’s membership in the SI would contribute to the well-being of Armenia and the Armenian people.
At the end of the lecture Secretary General Ayala was presented the Gold Medal of Yerevan State University.