Speed dating with organic stakeholders in Armenia

23. October 2019
Scholarship holder Hasmik Hovakimyan holding her workshop notes and standing next to a workshop participant
During her field research scholarship holder Hasmik Hovakimyan used the format of speed dating for discussing cooperation possibilities between organic producers and lecturers of the Armenian National Agrarian University.

Hasmik Hovakimyan is pursuing her PhD research within the project Building Organic Agriculture in Armenia |BOAA. The aim is to improve knowledge and skills of organic stakeholders through participatory curriculum development and outreach. This academic partnership between the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) is financed by APPEAR.

At the end of May 2019 Hasmik did not only participate in the project meeting but was also actively involved in organising and conducting a stakeholder event. The aim was to connect organic practitioners from Armenia with ANAU lecturers. The PhD student used a ''speed dating'' format in order to match the appropriate partners for future stakeholder integration within the classroom and coursework. This will add real-world examples in teaching by creating meaningful relationships and connections to the Armenian organic sector.

Hasmik concluded that the ''speed dating'' was a huge success. The knowledge about the partners' working areas has increased, the exchange between the teaching team and stakeholders was strengthened and the cooperation has been brought on to a practical level.

Hasmik Hovakimyan is a doctoral candidate at the Division of Organic Farming at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). Her research focuses on the participatory approach to curriculum development in higher education in Armenia, using organic farming as an example. She graduated from the Armenian State University of Economics (ASUE) in 2010 and has a Master’s degree with an honorary diploma. She has more than 7 years of work experience in different state organizations in Armenia, as well as experience in teaching at ASUE.