WASHINGTON — On March 6, the Knights and Daughters of Vartan of Washington, DC, hosted a community-wide reception to welcome five members of the Armenia-US Parliamentary delegation, visiting Washington DC for a series of meetings with US government officials, politicians and Armenian-American community leaders. The trip has been organized by the Armenian Embassy, in cooperation with the Congressional Armenian Caucus.
The Armenia-US Parliamentary Delegation is headed by Arpine Hovhannisyan, deputy speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia and includes Parliamentarians of four major political parties of Armenia, Armen Ashotyan, Edmon Marukhyan, Aghvan Vardanyan and Naira Zoorabyan.
Sareen and Arya Balian sang the National anthems of America and Armenia. Parish council Chairmen of both St. Mary’s Armenian Church and Soorp Khach Armenian Church, Onnik Sivaslian and Hrant Jamgochian, respectively, welcomed the dignitaries. Knights of Vartan Commander Kevork Marashlian emphasized that the silent majority of Diaspora Armenians supports the foreign affairs of the country as well as the Armenian people, but that they are entitled to constructive critique of the government and the political parties, especially regarding the welfare of the people. Then he invited Ambassador Grigor Hovhannesyan, who thanked Knights and Daughters of Vartan for the event and presented the members of the delegation of the Armenian Parliament.
Arpine Hovhannisyan reiterated the importance of the Armenian Diaspora and announced that this is the first visit of its kind to Capitol Hill by an Armenian delegation.
After a prayer by Fr. Sarkis Aktavookian, a traditional Armenian Lenten dinner was served to the parliamentary delegation and the invited guests from the Washington community Armenian organizations, churches, along with Armenian advocacy organizations, the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly of America.
The dinner was followed by a lively discussion, during which the parliamentary members answered the written questions from the participants. The Armenian delegation emphasized the importance of Armenia’s political transition to a Parliamentary democracy for the future of US-Armenian cooperation in political, economic and social spheres.