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About ASCN

Eastern European countries outside the European Union, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, make up an important zone between Europe and Russia. Over the past 20 years, each country has undergone the democratization process, economic development and social change in a different manner. The three republics of the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) have been particularly affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The goal of the ASCN programme was to contribute to the region’s transformation process by supporting academic research in the social sciences and humanities and fostering a new generation of scholars. Research in the social sciences was of particular relevance to the transition process. It can help point out the need for reform in sectors critical to a country’s development. It can also help address challenges and identify possible solutions in areas essential to a country’s political stability and socio-economic development. These areas include: identities, nation-building, ethnicity, protection of minorities, good governance, state-building, among others.

Switzerland has a lot to offer in terms of “building” scientific capacities in the social sciences and humanities. Switzerland’s acquired academic expertise in the above-listed areas can have a significant impact on countries in the transformation process. Therefore, the ASCN programme aimed at strengthening research in the social sciences and humanities in the South Caucasus and helping to bring it up to European standards. Its emphasis was on individuals and helping them to become better integrated in international academic networks through the programme.

Initially, the ASCN programme focused primarily on Georgia. In 2011, activities were extended to include Armenia. Research partnerships between scientists from these two countries is encouraged.

The ASCN programme came to an end in December 2016.

fileicon ASCN Brochure.pdf (pdf, 3.5 MB)