PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) will recognize its 2021 summer interns as well as those who participated in the 2021 ANCA Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship Program at the 15th annual ANCA Eastern Region gala on Saturday, October 23 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. This year’s gala will include a cocktail hour and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. and dinner and awards program at 7:30 p.m.
“We are looking forward to honoring our youth at this year’s gala. They are the next generation of activists, and we are so proud of the work they and past interns did during their program and continue to do. We would love to have our past interns come and support this class and have an LSI reunion photo. I know the meeting of past and present interns will no doubt provide an opportunity for our youth to see what their advocacy efforts can produce,” said ANCA-ER board member Steve Mesrobian.
Lori Baronian (NJ), Tvene Baronian (NJ) and Aram Brunson helped the ANCA-ER this past summer focusing on advocacy, legislative and state-level efforts as well as special projects, including the women’s empowerment series and the eight advocacy workshops that culminated earlier this month.
Lori Baronian, a junior at The College of New Jersey, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. She is an active member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), the Hamazkayin Nairi Dance Ensemble and the ANCA.
Tvene Baronian, a junior attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, plans to graduate with a major in environmental studies and a double minor in entrepreneurial studies and writing. On campus, Tvene is a member of the Environmental Club, Campus Green Club, Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), Outdoor Recreation Adventure Program (ORAP), Sustainability Club, Koshare Dance Collective and the Lacrosse Club. Her passion for her Armenian heritage drives her participation in various volunteer organizations including the AYF, Hamazkayin Nayiri Dance Ensemble, Homenetmen and the ANCA. She loves to sing, dance, write and draw. She has a passion for music and has performed at Carnegie Hall, where she showcased her love for Armenian opera.
Aram Brunson, an avid and active participant in his local Armenian community, serves as chair of the AYF’s Central Hai Tahd Council and is a current member of the AYF Chicago “Ararat” chapter. He was previously a member of the Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter and often attended the local ANC of Eastern Massachusetts meetings as well. Outside of the AYF, Brunson dances with the Hamazkayin “Sardarabad” Dance Ensemble. He is a member of the ANC of Illinois and hopes to join the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) in the future. Brunson is a freshman at the University of Chicago, where he is studying political science.
Since this year was a remote internship experience, the summer interns had an opportunity to connect with the region’s LSI interns as well. Mari Bijimenian, Garen Meguerditchian and Anais Boyajian joined seven other interns as they experienced the many facets of Washington, DC. The 2021 summer intern team played a key role in the passage of the bipartisan Pallone Amendment to the US House fiscal year 2022 foreign aid bill, with the primary focus of zeroing out US arms and aid to Azerbaijan. The interns developed a stronger understanding of geopolitical challenges in Armenia and Artsakh, as well as explored career opportunities in policy, politics and media, throughout the summer and through their participation in an interactive speakers series. The series consisted of discussions with diplomats, academics and Armenian-American professionals, including former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, Artsakh Representative to the US Robert Avetisyan and representatives of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.
Boyajian, a sophomore at Seton Hall University studying diplomacy and international relations, is actively working to restart the Armenian Students Association at her university. She has been named the region’s Maral Melkonyan Avetisyan Fellow, named in honor of the lifelong Armenian community advocate who called the eastern region home.
Meguerditchian, a sophomore double majoring in applied math and quantitative economics at Tufts University, is active in the Tufts Armenian Club.
Bijimenian is a senior at St. John’s University studying sociology and philosophy. She serves as secretary of the AYF New York “Hyortik” Chapter, and she is a member of the ANC-NY Executive Board.
Aside from their group efforts, the interns also worked on their own projects throughout the eight weeks. Boyajian, Meguerditchian and Bijimenian worked closely with ANCA IT director Nerses Semerjian to strengthen the ANCA’s advocate outreach infrastructure and promote broader community input through letters, calls and tweets to educate legislators regarding Azerbaijan’s ongoing attacks against Artsakh and Armenia.