WASHINGTON — The Armenian Assembly of America’s Summer Internship Program in Armenia concluded in August. The program featured lectures and discussions with a wide range of officials and tours around the homeland. The eight-week internship program in Yerevan was packed with interesting activities including meetings with prominent individuals from civil society and political leaders, aimed at helping the participants better understand the socio-political situation in Armenia and Artsakh.
This year’s summer class included Kyra Chamberlain interning at the International Center for Human Development, where she researched the status of Syrian refugees in Armenia; Rachael Minassian interning at the Regional Studies Center, where she examined gender studies in Armenia under the supervision of its founding director, Richard Giragosian; and Satenik Beglaryan interning at ArmComedy, the first satiric political news show in Armenia that just completed a tour in the United States.
“It is my pleasure every year to meet our summer interns and get to know them, especially their passions and ambitions, and watch them grow while participating in the Armenian Assembly’s internship program in Armenia. These dedicated students will be leaving their marks on the Armenian community, both in Armenia and in their hometowns,” Assembly Regional Director Arpi Vartanian said.
Since its inception in 1999, the summer program in Armenia has introduced college-aged students to life in their ancestral homeland, provided valuable international work experience, and helped participants foster the skills needed to become the next generation of community leaders.
The Assembly interns met with U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr., Founder and Director of the Yerevan-based Regional Studies Center Richard Giragosian, Assembly Turkish Regional Analyst Alin Ozinian, and former Assembly intern Sarkis Balkhian. Balkhian is now the Advocacy Director of the Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization, which supports Syrian refugees in Armenia, and a Middle East and North Africa consultant at Human Rights Watch. Balkhian spoke about his experience participating in the Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program in Washington, D.C. in 2007 with the Armenian National Institute (ANI) and in Armenia in 2008, where he interned at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute and the Middle East Division of the Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.