POTOMAC, M.D. – On Wednesday, July 21, 2021 Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) wrapped up his working meetings early in order to go to community activist and Armenian Assembly of America’s board member Annie Simonian-Totah’s beautiful residence for a farewell party for Varuzhan Nersesyan, the ambassador of Armenia to the United States. Finishing his tenure in Washington, D.C., Nersesyan is ready to depart to London to his new assignment as the next ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom.
Invitees apart from speakers included Washington Armenian community leaders, Armenian Embassy staff, Father Sarkis Aktavoukian, former US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Permanent Representative of the Artsakh Republic to the US Robert Avetisyan, Armenia’s honorary consul Oscar Tatosian and Museum of the Bible board member Matt Marc. After a prayer, guests enjoyed an Armenian delicious dinner and later were invited down to the basement theater hall to continue the farewell event.
“You know a good ambassador when you see one,” stated Van Hollen, citing Nersesyan’s hard work in 2020 when the attack on Karabakh took place. The senator noted Turkey’s participation in that war. Earlier the same day, during the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on US policy on Turkey, Van Hollen spoke on this same topic, criticizing Turkey’s “malign actions” against Armenians.
Van Hollen expressed satisfaction that it was during Nersesyan’s tenure that both the US president and Congress finally recognized the Armenian Genocide. “The executive branch is always a little behind,” joked the senator, hinting at the chronology of the events: recognition by both chambers of Congress predates the presidential proclamation by nearly two years.
For Ambassador John Evans, calling the events of 1915 genocide meant the end of his diplomatic service. In 2005, while working as an ambassador of the United States to Armenia, he told the truth about what had happened to Armenians in World War I, for which the Bush Administration fired the American diplomat from the Foreign Service. At the farewell event, Ambassador Evans remarked that a resolution acknowledging the Armenian Genocide has been introduced in the UK’s parliament and the tremendous task of achieving the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the prime minister and even the Queen now falls upon Ambassador Nersesyan.
Referring to Armenians as a “new but also very old nation,” the former vice-president of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Peter Rosenblatt recalled his trips to Armenia and Artsakh, “his emotional visit to the Armenian Genocide memorial” and his trip to earthquake-hit Gyumri. On behalf of the AJC, Rosenblatt assured of this organization’s long-lasting relations with the Armenian community and “strong support with President Biden’s history-making recognition of the Genocide.”