AAA: Senator Sarbanes to Address Assembly National Advocacy Conf.

Armenian Assembly of America
122 C Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-3434
Fax: 202-638-4904
Email: [email protected]

March 19, 2004
CONTACT: Christine Kojoian
E-mail: [email protected]


Washington, DC – The Armenian Assembly announced this week that longtime
Armenian issues supporter Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) will be the
Democratic keynote speaker at the Assembly’s National Conference and
Banquet, April 18-20, in Washington, DC.

Sarbanes will join Republican keynote speaker Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
during a Monday night banquet that is part of a three-day event being held
in cooperation with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the
Eastern and Western Diocese of the Armenian Church.

“We’re delighted to have Senator Sarbanes, a staunch supporter of our
community, take the time to brief conference participants,” said National
Conference and Banquet Chair Annie Totah.

In August of last year, McConnell and Sarbanes introduced S. 1557, which
would extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Armenia. If
enacted, the legislation would allow Armenian goods easier access to the
U.S. by eliminating a 30-year-old provision governing levy of duty and

More recently, the senator joined five of his colleagues in sending a letter
to President Bush urging him to ask Turkey to lift its damaging blockade of
Armenia during his recent meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan. In addition to his support on this letter, the senator is a
cosponsor of the genocide resolution (S. Res. 164), which would ensure that
the lessons of the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, in addition to those
in Cambodia and Rwanda, as well as others, are not forgotten.

Additionally, Sarbanes has repeatedly led the fight to maintain Section 907
of the Freedom Support Act, which places reasonable restrictions on U.S.
assistance to Azerbaijan while it continues to immorally block Armenia and
Nagorno Karabakh. In 2001, he and McConnell led the successful Senate floor
debate in defeating an attempt to rescind this crucial measure.

Organized by the Assembly’s Armenian American Action Committee (ARAMAC), the
three-day event is a prime opportunity for anyone interested in honing their
advocacy skills and brainstorming issues with some of Washington’s most
influential policymakers. Participants will have the opportunity to gain
deeper insight into the inner-workings of Congress during advocacy workshop
sessions, panel discussions and meetings with elected officials.

The conference agenda will include a panel discussion on “Secrets to
Advocacy.” Panel participants include: Former Congressman James Rogan
(R-CA), New Hampshire State Representative Harry Haytayan (R-NH),
legislative assistant for Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) Joanne Berry and
Assembly Board of Directors member and one-time aide to former Governor
Wilson (R-CA), Lisa Kalustian. The panel will be moderated by Assembly
Board of Directors Vice Chair Lisa Esayian.

The conference will open with an ecumenical service at the National
Cathedral marking the 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. From
there, guests will attend a welcoming reception at the Kennedy Center for
the Performing Arts. The next day, conference attendees will take part in a
full-day of advocacy workshops and panel discussion, followed by a reception
and banquet that evening. The conference will close Tuesday with a farewell
breakfast after which time activist will head to Capitol Hill for meetings
with their elected officials.

The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


Photograph available at the following link:

Caption: Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)