WASHINGTON, DC –The Administration’s attacks on Artsakh aid, the growth of U.S.-Armenia aid and trade, and the recent Senate and House passage of Armenian Genocide legislation (S.Res.150 and H.Res.296) took center stage at a series of community and coalition briefings in Philadelphia, hosted by Armenian and Hellenic organizations, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan and Programs Director Sipan Ohannesian offered a 360-degree review of the ANCA’s advocacy agenda and youth empowerment programs including the upcoming ANCA Rising Leaders Conference (March 22nd to 24th), the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship Program and Maral Melkonian Avetisyan Fellowship, and the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program. Yerimyan and Ohannesian also encouraged broader participation in the ANCA Rapid Responder Program, an innovative initiative – now over 10,000 strong – that ensures timely, hard-hitting, and high-impact community support for ANCA action items.
On the policy front, Yerimyan and Ohannesian emphasized the challenges facing continued Artsakh assistance and encouraged community members to reach out to their Senators and Representatives by visiting anca.org/aid. This alert empowers activists to call for the fiscal year 2021 foreign aid bill to include $10 million in Artsakh assistance and $90 million in Armenia aid. U.S. assistance to Artsakh, a core ANCA priority since 1997, is needed to continue the life-saving de-mining work of The HALO Trust and rehabilitation efforts like those provided by the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center in Stepanakert. De-mining assistance has increasingly become the target of Administration officials, based, in part, on the claim that these funds are needed to “prepare the Azerbaijani and Armenian populations for peace.”
“It was wonderful to visit with Philadelphia’s active Armenian and Greek communities to share our advocacy priorities and discuss how we can increase our collective voice in the halls of Congress,” said Yerimyan. “I look forward to working with our regional and local ANCA teams to organize Capitol Hill advocacy trips and increase participation in our ANCA Rapid Responders program.”
“The ANCA is committed to helping students and recent graduates begin their policy, politics, or media careers in Washington, DC – and there is no better way to share the message of our youth empowerment programs than through community and campus visits,” said Ohannesian, who is organizing a series of presentations to Southern states in the upcoming months.
The visit to the City of Brotherly Love started with a Friday evening, January 24th presentation at St. Gregory’s Seroonian Center dinner hosted by the Philadelphia ARF Gomideh, followed by a robust question and answer session about the ANCA’s efforts on the next steps deal.
On Saturday, Yerimyan joined Dr. Peter Stavrianidis, Mr. Louis Katsos and Paul Pavlakos, Supreme President of the Sons of Pericles, on a panel discussion focusing on the “Christian/Greek Genocide During the Late Ottoman Period (1894-1924),” organized by the Order of AHEPA Hercules – Spartan Chapter #26 and the AHEPA Hellenic Cultural Commission in Association with EMBCA (Eastern Mediterranean Business Cultural Alliance). Yerimyan called special focus to the longstanding campaign to secure proper Congressional reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, the near-unanimous passage of S.Res.150 and H.Res.296, which included reference to the genocides committed against the Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites and other Christians.
On Sunday, Yerimyan was joined by ANCA IT Director Nerses Semerjian for an after-Mass presentation at the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Cheltenham, where the ANCA was welcomed by Rev. Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan and enthusiastic parishioners. The ANCA offered special thanks to parishioners Ashot and Ayida Petrosyan, who generously donated copies of “The Chronicles of Karabakh,” a magnificent picture book detailing the history of Artsakh, for distribution to elected officials and libraries.
The ANCA Washington, DC and Regional teams are always available to share Armenian American advocacy priorities and methods to expand civic engagement in communities across the U.S.. To invite ANCA representatives to your community or church event, please email the ANCA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 775-1918.