By Harout Manougian
Harvard Kennedy School – Class of 2019
2017ANCA Leo Sarkisian Intern
The motto on the coat of arms of the City of Toronto reads “Diversity Our Strength.” Having grown up in that multicultural city, I always considered it a privilege to be surrounded by students, professors, and coworkers with experiences that spanned the globe. They taught me the basics of different languages, history that was not included in the Canadian curriculum, and new perspectives from which to view current events.
After spending a week at the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) Washington, D.C. office, my city’s motto rings truer than ever. The Armenian-American community itself is a truly diverse collective. We have members whose families arrived in North America a century ago and also many who themselves were born overseas. We have community members who can speak different languages and different dialects. Armenian-Americans live across the 50 states and have taken on many different career paths. Some are Democrats, some are Republicans, and some are not bound to any one party.
In the microcosm of the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship, that diversity remains well-represented. We are the largest group of interns in the program’s history, hailing from Northern and Southern California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Virginia, and even Montreal and Toronto. Each one of us brings our own unique set of skills and experience to the national office from public relations and communications to data systems and business analytics. Many of us have been to Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakhk, and some have yet to embark on those adventures.
With such an amazing group of people, coached by our veteran staff members, we have the perfect environment to learn and grow in our personal development and make a meaningful contribution to advancing the Armenian Cause on Capitol Hill.
The ANCA is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. One reason for that is its recognition of diversity as a major strength.