WASHINGTON — The Armenian Assembly of America commemorated its 50th anniversary with a special event honoring the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), with the Assembly’s Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Award for her strong support of and leadership on US affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.
The event, representing a cross-section of Armenian American organizations, and filled with an impressive number of young and mid-career professionals, took place on Thursday, November 17, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., and included a salute to the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, led by Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
Speaker Pelosi, who received multiple standing ovations throughout her remarks, expressed her gratitude to the Assembly for the “very distinguished honor” of receiving an award created in honor of an outstanding and heroic diplomat who courageously promoted human rights and helped save the Armenian people. Pelosi noted that it was a “privilege” to receive an award named after Ambassador Morgenthau, “who sounded the alarm on the Armenian Genocide unequivocally and without hesitation.” She thanked the Assembly Board for its “excellent leadership” and emphasized that the Assembly has been an “invaluable force for half a century in creating bonds between America and Armenia.”
“It’s been a joy to work with you in our treasured Armenian-American community, and in my hometown of San Francisco,” she said. “All of you are active advocates, and I thank those of you who I saw firsthand strongly lobbying and advocating.” She stressed that visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan was a “life-changing experience, where we learned the horrific truths of the 1.5 million Armenians murdered, and where we spoke the names of the communities that were erased. At that eternal flame, we felt the pain and open wounds.” Reflecting further on her trip, she said it was a “thrill” to lead the delegation, alongside Representatives Anna Eshoo, Frank Pallone and Jackie Speier.
“We made it very clear the US strongly condemns Azerbaijan’s attacks as illegal, brutal and escalatory, threatening prospects for a long-awaited and deeply needed peace agreement,” said Speaker Pelosi. “In the weeks since, both parties and the Biden Administration have redoubled diplomatic efforts to pave a way towards peace.”
Pelosi continued that the world must formally recognize the Armenian Genocide, and the passing of H.Res.296 in 2019, authored by Rep. Adam Schiff, was a culmination of a decades-long fights. Thanks to the support and leadership of President Biden, the historic step of formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the US, which was rooted in “bipartisan cooperation in Congress,” came to fruition. “We pledge to fight efforts to erase history that denies the truth,” she said. “America is committed to upholding liberty and security in Armenia and around the world…in this difficult moment we draw inspiration from the Armenian people who keep the flame burning now and for centuries to come.”