By Aram Arkun
NEW YORK — Bianka Kadian-Dodov, a Congressional relations associate for the Armenian Assembly of America, has been working as manager of the Assembly’s Eastern Region office, (based at the Diocesan complex in Manhattan) since the end of August. This is a part-time position, as Kadian-Dodov is simultaneously attending law school.
Kadian-Dodov was born and raised in Reno, Nev., where there was only a small Armenian community and no Armenian church. A Greek Orthodox Church was periodically used for services by a visiting Armenian priest from California. She went to college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and majored in political science. There was only a small Armenian community there too, but she became involved with an Armenian student group on campus, which had some 30 members.
She explained that after graduation, “I moved to Washington, DC and did a summer internship with the Armenian Assembly. I fell in love with the city and the political scene, and was hired by the Assembly for a regular position. I started to work as a Congressional relations associate in 2007.” She followed any legislation affecting Armenian interests and specifically worked to have Armenian Genocide resolutions as well as funding for Armenia and a resolution honoring the assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. She said, “My job was basically being the link between the Assembly office and offices of Congressional members on Capitol Hill. I met with staffers and sometimes with members of Congress to lobby for resolutions and funding.”
She feels that “In Washington my greatest achievement — what I found most rewarding — was passing the Genocide resolution through the Congressional Foreign Relations committee. I was the point person on that. We worked very hard to make it pass, and it was a very tense environment, with opponents vocally disagreeing with the bill.”
To a certain extent, Dodov-Kadian will continue her legislative work in New York, though with a focus on the Northeast region. She pointed out, “It’s like an extension of our DC office.” She will coordinate the activity of Assembly activists in the area, and keep in contact with local Congressional offices. She also plans to try to recruit new members, in particular young professionals.