ANC News: Interns Recognized for Answering Call of Duty

Armenian National committee of America – Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 208
Glendale, CA 91206
Tel: 818-500-1918
Fax: 818-246-7353
Email: [email protected]

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Contact: Armen Carapetian
(818) 500-1918


Glendale, CA – The Armenian National Committee of America -Western
Region (ANCA-WR) hosted a reception honoring this summer’s ANCA Leo
Sarkissian and ANCA-WR interns from the Western United States at its
offices on August 24, 2004.

The reception provided the outgoing interns an opportunity to reunite
with their friends, share their experiences with their family, and be
recognizedfor their admirable accomplishments by the community. The
event also allowed attending newcomers to learn about the ANCA-WR’s
mission, programs,and achievements. Finally, the occasion gave
representatives of the ANCA-WR a chance to formally thank the interns
for their commitment and proactive involvement in the
Armenian-American community.

`We are a rich organization,’ said Raffi Hamparian, Chairman of the
Board of Directors of the ANCA-WR. `Our wealth is derived from the
highlycapable and active Armenian-American community that has
successfully continued to pass the baton of responsibility from one
generation to the next. Through these internship programs, we pass the
baton to the next generation,’ concluded Hamparian.

Last week marked the end of both the ANCA Leo Sarkissian Internship
Program in Washington, DC and the ANCA-WR’s inaugural summer
internship program for 2004. For over two decades, Armenian-American
youth interested in public policy have participated in the Leo
Sarkissian Internship Program at the ANCA headquarters in Washington,
DC where they not only learn about the American political system but
also receive hands-on experience in advancing issues of concern to
Armenian-Americans within the democratic process. After deliberate
consideration of each applicant’s credentials, this year’s ANCA-WR
internship selection committee accepted Ani Garibyan, Garen
Kirakosian, Seepan Parseghian, and Shant Taslakian to participate in
the two-month internship program in Washington, DC.

Due to the large pool of exceptionally qualified applicants to this
yearâ=80=99s program, the ANCA-WR launched its own summer internship
program modeled after the Leo Sarkissian program at its offices for
the first time. With the dedicated coordination efforts of ANC
activist Argam DerHartunian, ANCA-WRstaff set forth a project-based
internship program and selected five young Armenian-American activists
– Nare Avagyan, Nairi Chopurian, Gennadi Gevorgyan, Elina
Mnatsakanyan, and Lara Talverdian – through a formal application
process with whom they worked side-by-side for a period of six weeks.

`Having been former interns in DC, both Argam and Armen knew how
tocreate the special atmosphere that the ANCA office provides for
interns,’ explained Ardashes Kassakhian, Executive Director of the
ANCA-WR. `It comes from giving each intern real responsibilities and
making sure that their input is recognized. People want their work to
be meaningful and for it to count. Wedo that here regardless of
whether you are a volunteer, intern or paid staff. We just don’t have
any resources to waste,’ stated Kassakhian.

Both in Washington, DC and in Glendale, the interns were each assigned
projects reflecting the current work of each of the offices. In
Washington,DC, interns worked on questionnaires used to gauge
candidates seeking elected office this fall regarding their stance on
issues such as the Armenian Genocide, aid to Armenia, and the status
of Nagorno-Karabagh. In the Western Region offices, Nairi Chopurian
formulated a volunteer team of activists to begin registering
Armenian-American voters in the Los Angeles area while Elina
Mnatsakanyan developed a database of potential grant sources for
special projects. Both Leo Sarkissian and ANCA-WR interns devised
tools and strategies that each office could use to improve
communication with local chapters. On the media outreach end, a number
of significant improvements were made to the ANCA-WR’s media tools,
and the organization witnessed the publication of Seepan Parseghian’ s
letter to the editor of `The Hill,’ one of the most prestigious
journals covering politics in the country.

Parseghian’s letter was in reference to mistakes and omissions he
found in an article regarding the Schiff Amendment in which he wrote
`As a presidential candidate, Bush made a bold promise to accept the
atrocities committed against the Armenians as genocide. However, as
president, Bush had many chances to act upon his promise, yet failed
to do so, breaking his public promise on this human rights issue.’

The Schiff Amendment is a measure restricting Turkey from using US aid
to lobby against recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The amendment
passed the House of Representatives during the internship programs,
which gave the interns a sense of real accomplishment in applying
their learned techniques in communicating with Congressional staff,
community members and the media.

With the conclusion of this year’s internship programs, the graduating
class of interns began preparing to return to their universities with
a renewed sense of purpose. `I loved how this internship gave me the
opportunity to see the inner workings of an organization that has done
and continues doing so much for the Armenian-American community,’
stated Narine Avagyan. â=80=9CI look forward to doing my part in
helping the ANCA advocate for Armenians everywhere.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and
most influential Armenian American grassroots political
organization. Working coordination with a network of offices,
chapters, and supporters throughoutthe United States and affiliated
organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the
concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of

Photo Attached: From left to right – Garen Kirakosian, Ani Garibyan,
Seepan Parseghian, Elina Mnatsakanyan, ANCA-WR Executive Director
Ardashes Kassakhian, ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian, SHant
Taslakian, Nare Avagyan, Lara Talverdian, ANCA-WR Government Relations
Director Armen Carapetian, and Nairi Chopurian at the ANCA-WR
reception honoring participants in this year’s ANCA Internship