WASHINGTON—George Mason University sophomore Ani Tikoyan spent her summer on Capitol Hill interning for Congresswoman Katherine Clark. An active member of the D.C. Armenian community, Tikoyan sought an internship with the congresswoman who represents Watertown, Mass., one of the largest and oldest Armenian communities in America.
Congressional interns are offered a window into the inner workings of America’s legislative process. This summer, Tikoyan had a front-row seat to national debates surrounding national security, foreign policy, and healthcare. In the Capitol, she attended briefings, provided research, and worked with the congresswoman’s staff to answer calls and emails from constituents.
Congresswoman Clark, who serves on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, invited Tikoyan to attend a committee hearing where members of Congress debated foreign aid spending. The Appropriations Committee is the deliberative body of the U.S. House that decides spending amounts for federal programs. The congresswoman has been a vocal advocate for greater U.S. assistance for Armenia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh), the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, and at-risk minorities in the Middle East.
Congresswoman Clark has been a strong voice on Armenian issues, advocating for Genocide recognition, increased foreign aid, and for keeping peace in Artsakh. One of her first official acts in Congress was joining the Congressional Armenian Caucus to help to raise awareness of issues facing Armenian Americans and Armenians across the globe. In 2014, she successfully pushed the administration to bring the Armenian Orphan Rug (also known as the Ghazir Orphans’ Rug) to the White House Visitor Center. In May, she joined the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) in publicly condemning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail’s attack on peaceful protesters on U.S. soil.
Tikoyan’s internship continues her leadership and service to the community. She is also a member of the Homenetmen Washington Chapter, a Homenetmen Scout Leader, and a member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF) Washington D.C. “Ani” chapter executive committee. Tikoyan will return to George Mason in the fall.