ANCA Desk: Leo Sarkisian Internship Molds Our Future Leaders

On June 17, a handful of talented interns will arrive in Washington, D.C. for the summer of a lifetime. As they embark on the 2013 ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship (LSI) program at the ANCA headquarters, they’ll see the capital’s sights and meet and learn from a variety of influential people.

Two of them—Taleen Lachinian and Tamar Purut—are representing the ANCA Eastern Region from June 17 to Aug. 9. We couldn’t be happier to send two excited and ambitious young women to experience a mini boot camp in Hai Tahd.

From phone banking for important Congressional issues, to discussions with grassroots leaders in our region and across the country, this internship is essentially a crash course in everything the ANCA does. They will visit Capitol Hill, meet elected officials, and learn how to convey the values and issues that represent Armenian Americans. In short: The LSI program molds our future leaders.

Why am I telling you about this? Because the beginning of the LSI program every year marks the beginning of summer, which means we’re halfway through another calendar year. A lot can happen in one year or even in six months. As we get into mid-June, it’s important for the ANCA to reflect on what we’ve accomplished so far this year, but to also keep our eyes forward as we set out to accomplish much more.

I’m excited for our LSI interns this year, just like I am every year. What a great deal it is to be living in the heart of this country, where so much around them will help shape the type of people they become in their careers. We don’t realize that at the time, but it almost always turns out to be true later down the line.

The ANCA owes a lot to the man the internship is named after, Leo Sarkisian. He was a leader for Hai Tahd for decades, constantly paving the way for new ideas and plans of action. Although he died in 1992, Sarkisian is part of the reason the ANCA has accomplished so much thus far. He was a scholar, author, and above all, a champion for the Armenian cause.

With each passing year, I remember why the ANCA pushes on in its noble cause. With each passing summer and every new LSI intern, I give a little thanks for Leo Sarkisian and the work he did in guiding us. The same is true for all of our Hai Tahd leaders who have passed on and those who are still fighting for justice among us today.

The LSI program is top notch and competitive for a reason: Students want to be the next generation leading the Armenian cause. This internship allows them to start that journey, and for that reason, we need to encourage them and find ways to support that goal.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: So much of what we do depends on the contributions and training of our young people. We see how easy it is to get spread thin in all areas of our lives, so why not mentor and train the younger crowd to pick up where we’re lacking? Heck, why not mentor and train anyone willing to help?

The ANCA Eastern Region is working on identifying and strengthening our core leaders in each community we have, but we need your help. Even if you live in the most far-flung, remote town, your voice matters.

Reach out to us today at to pitch in. If you want to volunteer your time, your skills or your knowledge, you’re an asset to the ANCA. Become the next champion of the Armenian cause.

Follow in Leo Sarkisian’s footsteps and those of the interns who try every year to start living up to that name.

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian is the chairwoman of AYF-YOARF Central Executive. She has served as the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region.

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