The Armenian Law Students Association with then-Foreign Minister of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh David Babayan

Armenian Law Students Association at George Washington University Marks Active First Year

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By Azniv Nalbandian and Shushan Gabrielyan

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

WASHINGTON — The Armenian Law Students Association at the George Washington (GW) University Law School in Washington, D.C. was established in the spring of 2022 by Armenian students who were seeking both an affinity group and stronger representation on campus. Its establishment was supported by the GW Law Student Bar Association and Dean Aram A. Gavoor. The 2022-2023 school year marked the Association’s inaugural year as a fully-operating student organization.

In the fall, the Association hosted then-Foreign Minister of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh David Babayan. The event drew a diverse audience of students, faculty, and community members. Babayan highlighted the importance of analyzing armed conflict within a historical and geopolitical framework.

Later in the fall, and in partnership with the law school’s Student Bar Association, the Association passed a resolution condemning Azerbaijan’s unprovoked, premeditated, and offensive attacks on the Republic of Armenia. The Association contested the Lachs Moot Court Competition. Students worked with the GW Law’s administration to minimize the school’s participation in the Competition’s final round, which is set to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, because of the discriminatory effect it would have on students of Armenian descent. The Association also collaborated extensively with the Armenian Bar Association’s D.C. Chapter (ABA) to host a mentorship program for all Armenian law students in the D.C. area.

The Armenian Law Students Association with Drs. Levon Avdoyan and Khatchig Mouradian.

In the spring, the Association and the D.C. ABA jointly hosted Dr. Levon Avdoyan and Dr. Khatchig Mouradian for an evening presentation entitled “The Library of Congress’s Armenia Reading Room.” The novel event drew a large audience, including members of the Armenian community, Father Hovsep Karapetyan of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, Representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the United States Robert Avetisyan, Director of the Armenian National Institute Dr. Rouben Adalian, and undergraduate and graduate students. Avdoyan and Mouradian discussed the vast collection of Armenian illuminated manuscripts, books, and other rarities housed in the Library of Congress. In highlighting the importance of the Armenian Collection, Dr. Avdoyan astutely remarked that studying Armenian history and antiquities is the optimal path to dispelling disinformation concerning Armenian existence and self-determination.

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian introducing the Library of Congress Armenian Collection to a full audience in the Tasher Great Room at the George Washington University Law School

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Later in the spring, the Association hosted a commemorative afternoon at the GW Textile Museum, remembering the Armenian Genocide while memorializing our enduring cultural legacy. The afternoon featured a student-produced documentary highlighting Armenians’ roles and contributions to the Ottoman Empire and personal testimonies from students. The event concluded with musical performances of Komitas music by Alexandra and Lilia Yaralian on the Armenian qanon and Olivia Jerjian on the mandolin.

Audience viewing the student-produced documentary about Armenian cultural legacy of the Ottoman Empire in the Textile Museum at George Washington University

Gavoor is a nationally recognized scholar in the fields of administrative law, federal courts, and national security law. His work has been published in numerous law journals and cited by the Supreme Court of the United States. Above all, the Association is appreciative of his thoughtful guidance, unwavering support and encouragement during the nascent period of its student organization.

Alexandra and Lilia Yaralian captivate the audience with a Komitas medley performance

The GW Law Armenian Law Students Association looks forward to another prosperous period during the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. Those interested may reach the Association at alsa@law.gwu.edu.

(Azniv Nalbandian and Shushan Gabrielyan were copresidents of the GW Law Armenian Law Students Association in 2022-23.)

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