Q&A: Norway's honorary counsel on making fair trade, development work in Armenia

Timothy Straight (left), the founder of the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation, models some of the organization’s products with Shaunt Tchakmak, the group’s marketing manager. Photo by: Amy Lieberman / Devex

More than two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, parts of Armenia appear to remain stuck in time, while others have surged ahead.

There are clear signs of progress: the country’s national poverty rate has almost halved since the 1990s and the capital Yerevan bustles with lively sidewalk cafes. But brutalist Soviet buildings and sculptures are also scattered throughout the capital city and the landlocked country’s rural provinces. It’s there, also, that a lack of development is most evident, says Timothy Straight, the honorary consul of Norway and Finland and the founder of the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation, HDIF.

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About the author

  • Lieberman amy

    Amy Lieberman

    Amy Lieberman is the New York Correspondent for Devex. She covers the United Nations and reports on global development and politics. Amy previously worked as a freelance reporter, covering the environment, human rights, immigration, and health across the U.S. and in more than 10 countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, and Cambodia. Her coverage has appeared in the Guardian, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times. A native New Yorker, Amy received her master’s degree in politics and government from Columbia’s School of Journalism.