WASHINGTON — The Armenian Assembly of America honored former US Secretary of the Navy Paul Ignatius at the Willard Hotel on Tuesday, September 26. The tribute was headlined by several dignitaries, including Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), with guests including Congressmen David Valadao (R-CA) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, former State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-MI), and former member of parliament in Turkey Garo Paylan, among others.
Speaker Emerita Pelosi toasted Secretary Ignatius for his “patriotism” and how he has served as an “example of the American Dream.” Turning to the current event, Pelosi also expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Assembly on Capitol Hill amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Artsakh.
For the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the Assembly had the distinction of honoring Speaker Emerita Pelosi in November 2022 at The Willard, where she was awarded the Assembly’s Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Award for her strong support of and leadership on US affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.
Echoing Speaker Emerita Pelosi, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) assured the audience that “we will do everything we can to move the needle with this Administration” in relation to Armenia and Artsakh, while noting Secretary Ignatius’s contributions “in his service to this country” as the “son of the Armenian community.”
Assembly Board Member and grassroots activist Valina Agbabian served as Master of Ceremonies and Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Vicar of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, delivered the opening prayer followed by remarks by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), who recently returned from Armenia. He noted that he was motivated to travel there due to the “vibrant Armenian community in Detroit” who feel “so strongly about what is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh and the suffering the Armenian people are going through.”
Peters, who served more than 10 years in the United States Navy Reserve, stated that he was “going to encourage more of the colleagues in the Senate” to support the Armenian people and for “repercussions” to take place against Azerbaijan’s Aliyev regime.