Limited spots available for ANCA “Rising Leaders” seminar in March

Alumni praise three-day Washington, DC youth empowerment program; application deadline extended to February 7

WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian American university students have two more weeks to apply for the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)’s “Rising Leaders: Career Development and Civic Education” Program, which will offer young Armenians advocacy, policy, politics and media opportunities through a unique three-day immersion program in Washington, DC.

The ANCA is offering two participation options – March 6th to 8th, 2022 and March 13th to 15th, 2022 – to coincide with the two major spring break timelines at most universities. The top 25 applicants, based on academic excellence and proven community youth leadership, will be chosen for each session. Students who are chosen for the program have two participation options – one that offers housing for the three-day program ($100) and the other which includes program fees alone ($25). Students are responsible for travel to and from Washington, DC. Financial aid will be provided based on need and availability.

“We’re looking forward to working with the top Armenian American university students from across the country who have already applied for our 2022 Rising Leaders programs,” said ANCA programs director Alex Manoukian. “We’ve extended the application term just two more weeks to ensure students have the opportunity to take advantage of this fun, innovative and educational program in our nation’s capital.”

ANCA Rising Leaders alumni from the 2019 inaugural year have become enthusiastic advocates for the unique program.

ANCA Eastern Region communications specialist Nairi Diratsouian explains, “The ANCA Rising Leaders program provided me with a greater understanding of grassroots advocacy and strengthened my knowledge of Armenian-American policy priorities. Ultimately, it allowed me to understand how I can direct my passion for Hai Tahd [the Armenian Cause] into tangible goals and led me to where I am today.”

Former Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Western Region Central Executive member and Leo Sarkisian Internship alumnus Hakop Hajibekyan notes, “ANCA’s Rising Leaders Program is an incredible opportunity for Armenian American students considering a career in Washington, DC. The three-day program provides workshops and seminars where students/participants will get an understanding of the ins and outs of grassroots advocacy and policy-making in our nation’s capital. Not to mention the unfettered access participants will have to a multitude of resources and professionals already working in the field.”

AYF New Jersey “Arsen” Chapter’s Karnie Dishoyan remarked that “taking part in this program gave me the opportunity to network with Armenian professionals and to promote the Armenian cause on Capitol Hill.”

The ANCA has once again teamed up with the AYF Eastern and Western US and the Georgetown University Armenian Students Association (Georgetown ASA) in hosting these unique student-focused events, generously supported once again by Dean Shahinian and the family of the late ANCA activist Lucine Kouchakdjian.

The 2022 sessions will begin with a full day of interactive presentations by the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program Advisory Committee (CGPAC) focusing on career search fundamentals, from resume preparation and networking 101 to an overview of the Washington, DC internship and job market. Monday activities will include meetings with policy, political and media professionals, including current and former federal agency and Congressional staff, to discuss careers in the nation’s capital. Those will be followed by an extended session with ANCA team members on advancing community priorities on the federal, state, and local levels. The seminar will be capped off with the Lucine Kouchakdjian Capitol Hill Day, a full day of Capitol Hill discussions with members of Congress and staff on strengthening US-Armenia ties, supporting Artsakh freedom and securing justice for the Armenian Genocide. Ample opportunities will be provided to explore Washington, DC and make new friends.

In 2019, over 30 students from top universities and high schools across the US traveled to the nation’s capital to take part in the ANCA’s inaugural Rising Leaders Program, which was made possible, in large part, through a generous contribution by the Ararat Foundation Shahinian Educational Fund.

Shahinian served in the federal government in various capacities for over 30 years, including 16 years at the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, where he worked with committee chairs on numerous bills and laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. In the Armenian community, he has served on the boards of St. Nersess Seminary and the ASA. He has also served multiple terms on the Diocesan Council of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.

For dozens of years, living in the Washington, DC area – in addition to her cultural, education and charitable work with a broad range of community organizations – Lucine Zadoian Kouchakdjian organized highly effective ANCA campaigns to foster a forward-leaning spirit of civic responsibility among Armenian Americans across the nation’s capital. The Rising Leaders Capitol Hill day was named in memory of her lifetime of service to the Armenian Cause following her passing earlier this year.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.


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