Assemblyman Chris Holden

California Assemblymember Holden Builds Ties Through Syunik Sister State Relationship


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Assemblymember Chris Holden’s resolution, ACR 105, proposing a sister state relationship between California and the Province of Syunik in Armenia, passed the California Senate Floor on February 10. Syunik is the southernmost province in Armenia and has profound historical and cultural significance for Armenia and the world. It is one of the original provinces of the ancient kingdoms of Armenia. It is also home to the Armenian Stonehenge, which dates to the bronze age and has petroglyphs that are seven thousand years old. Syunik is described by Armenians as the backbone of Armenia, as it is an essential to importing and exporting goods from the south.

ACR 105 would reinforce California’s solidarity with and support for the people of Syunik and will facilitate mutually beneficial educational, economic, and cultural exchanges between the two states. The resolution would create a taskforce with representatives from the community of Syunik, government of Syunik, government of California and community partners of California.

“Strengthening the relationship with Syunik comes at a critical time as regional powers like Azerbaijan and Turkey pose a threat to its existence and livelihood. This resolution reaffirms California’s solidarity with Armenia and our 1-million-strong community of California-Armenians,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. There is power in our solidarity and there is even more when we acknowledge the wrongs committed and urge for justice. We set precedent for the future with our action or inaction and today, we are creating long-lasting ties to thread forward a better tomorrow.

“As an immigrant, this issue hits close to home for me. I and many of my constituents worry about the safety of loved ones residing in that region. So, I am deeply aware of the uncertainty inherent in living there and the privilege we have to live in California. By creating this sister-state relationship with the Syunik Province, we will do our part, albeit small, to share some of the benefits of living here through economic, educational, and cultural engagement,” said Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, co-author of ACR 105.

“Today, we are grateful to Assemblymember Chris Holden for working with us and spearheading the effort, now adopted both by the State Senate and the State Assembly, in establishing a Sister State relationship between California and Syunik province of Armenia. At such a critical time when Syunik’s sovereignty is at great risk under the grave threats posed by Azerbaijan and Turkey, this bold move by the State of California is a declaration of solidarity meant to facilitate mutually beneficial educational, economic, and cultural exchanges, which in turn will strengthen the resolve of the people of Armenia to stand strong against the ongoing threats they face from belligerent and aggressive actors in the region,” remarked Nora Hovsepian, Chair of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.

“In the aftermath of the war and given the absence of requisite pressure by the international community, the Azerbaijani military conducted deep, cross-border incursions into the Republic of Armenia’s Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces. Such actions are in clear violation of Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Armenian Assembly of America salutes and thanks Assemblymember Chris Holden for working in solidarity with Armenian Americans statewide and leading this landmark humanitarian effort. Now adopted both by the California State Senate and the State Assembly, we look forward to assisting Assemblymember Holden in creating a long-lasting bond between the State of California and Syunik Province,” stated Mihran Toumajan, Western Region Director of the Armenian Assembly of America.

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