Armenian Assembly Holds Spring Advocacy Summit

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WASHINGTON — In an inspiring display of unity and enthusiasm, activists from across the United States met with elected officials on Capitol Hill to bring attention to critical issues facing the Armenian people during the Armenian Assembly of America’s Spring 2024 Advocacy Summit, held on Tuesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

Former US Sen. Ambassador Sam Brownback spoke to participants about the importance of educating decision-makers about the risks faced by Armenia as a Christian country, at a time when two major wars are being waged that has drawn attention away from the crisis in the Caucasus.

The following morning, a breakfast briefing took place prior to advocacy meetings, and the entire day was dedicated to meeting with elected officials, where advocates visited over 300 offices of elected officials.

Assembly Board Members with Ambassador Brownback

The Summit concluded with the Armenian Genocide Commemoration on Capitol Hill, where Members of Congress shared their remarks on the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and their efforts to support the Armenian people amidst its current challenges.

“We appreciate the dedication of our advocates who traveled to Washington, DC, to show their Armenian American presence on Capitol Hill and make the effort to inform their elected officials about ways to help the Armenian people during this crucial time,” said Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. “We have already gained new members in the Armenian Caucus as a result of these meetings and anticipate Members of Congress supporting legislation that sanctions Azerbaijan for its unjust actions against Armenians, including the proposed $250 million aid package for Armenia and the Armenian people of Artsakh who were forcibly driven from their ancestral lands.”

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with constituents who thanked her for her impact in the Armenian-American community

A special highlight of the Assembly’s Spring 2024 Advocacy Summit was the participation of young scholars, thanks to donor support, which allowed 20 scholarships to college students from across the US. Each of the participants voiced their appreciation for the program and the chance to serve as advocates, an experience they wish to repeat again soon. The scholars included: Maria Akhverdyan, Lilit Arakelyan, Nanor Boyajyan, Nellie Chobanyan, Milena Davtyan, Maria Galstyan, Karine Grigoryan, Areg Hovhannisyan, Liana Issaian, Celine Khachiki, Norair Khalafyan, Susanna Kharatyan, Syuzanna Kovalenko, Araz Majnoonian, Meline Martirosyan, Yervand Matevosian, Artur Melikian, Nataleen Orangian, and Arman Tarverdyan.

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The Assembly’s Young Scholar Program, thanks to donor support, gave 20 Armenian American college students from across the US the opportunity to participate in theAssembly’s Spring 2024 Advocacy Summit.

Meline Martirosyan, a nursing student living in Santa Clarita, Calif., who is originally from Syunik, Armenia, emphasized how impressed she was with the Summit and its all-encompassing scope, in addition to providing opportunities to network and advocate for Armenian issues with like-minded individuals.

“I have always been an activist online and consistently respond to action alerts as this is a personal commitment for me, but it was a new experience of meeting with elected officials in person,” said Martirosyan, noting it was an emotional time for her as well because of her involvement in her homeland.

Areg Hovhannisyan, a student at Glendale Community College who is from Glendale, California, stated that the Summit “opened up a fresh path” for him to become involved in advocacy and “have the opportunity to learn and talk to elected officials about issues I really care about.”

Ed Markey (D-MA) with Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Deputy of the French National Assembly Hon. Astrid Panosyan-Bouvet and Assembly President Carolyn Mugar; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Assembly NY State Chair Mariam Aghayan, Assembly Co-Chair Van Krikorian, and Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan; Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Hon. Astrid Panosyan-Bouvet and Anthony Barsamian; Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) with constituents; and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) with constituents

Artur Melikian, a student at UCLA from Glendale, said he looks forward to the next Assembly Summit, as he “met with different officials and gained new friends.”

The hands-on experience of participating in 10 meetings helped him understand the “different principles and approaches of elected officials,” which was an insightful experience for him.

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