WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian American high schoolers and rising university first-year students are invited to apply for the second annual Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Haroutioun & Elizabeth Kasparian Summer Academy, a week-long program introducing future leaders to advocacy and career opportunities in the nation’s capital.
The week-long program will take place from August 1 to 5, 2022. Applications are available online and must be submitted by June 30th.
“The ANCA is thrilled to welcome the best and brightest Armenian American high schoolers to Washington, DC for an intensive one-week session to learn pro-Artsakh/Armenia federal advocacy best practices, explore future career opportunities, and make friends for life,” said ANCA Programs director Alex Manoukian. “The Haroutioun and Elizabeth Kasparian Summer Academy’s innovative program will open up exciting new academic and professional horizons for these students.”
Summer Academy participants, ages 17 to 19, are chosen based on a rigorous application process focusing on academic excellence and proven pro-Artsakh/Armenia efforts through groups, including the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Armenian churches and organizations, schools, student groups and individual initiatives.
ANCA Summer Academy participants will stay at the ANCA Aramian House, a landmark property in downtown Washington, DC which serves as the home and permanent headquarters of the ANCA’s signature youth programs. The Aramian House is named in honor of the late community leader and philanthropist Martha Aramian of Providence, Rhode Island.
During the inaugural session of the program in 2021, Summer Academy participants explored Armenia and Artsakh’s diplomatic challenges and opportunities in discussions with former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans and Artsakh Representative to the US Robert Avetisyan. Big Whig Media founders Ken and Keith Nahigian discussed the broader Washington, DC political media scene and effective communication strategies during a tour of their state-of-the-art multi-media studio located just blocks from the White House. Battling Armenian Genocide denial in academic and community settings took center stage during a discussion with Dr. Khatchig Mouradian, the Armenia and Georgia Area Specialist at the Library of Congress.
During the 2021 program, the ANCA’s Washington, DC team focused on teaching best practices in Armenian American grassroots advocacy, with interactive sessions on the organization’s 360-degree agenda to defend Artsakh safety and security, promote stronger US-Armenia ties, secure justice for the Armenian Genocide and support at-risk diasporan Armenian communities in the Middle East and around the world. Summer academy participants were also introduced to a wide range of career opportunities on Capitol Hill, international development, advocacy, and consulting by accomplished Armenian Americans in each of the areas.
Vana Dakarian, a 2021 Summer Academy alumna from Elgin, IL, explained, “It was an honor to participate in the ANCA Haroutioun and Elizabeth Kasparian Summer Academy. In just five short days, we spoke with professionals, learned about advocating for the Armenian Cause, and explored careers in politics, policy, and media. I encourage all Armenian youth to participate in this one-of-a-kind opportunity, to learn, explore the nation’s capital and form great friendships.”
Garni Khanzadian, who was an incoming freshman at University of California, Riverside, concurred. “After the Artsakh War in 2020, many Armenian youth were left feeling helpless, and this program opened my eyes to all the things we can do to help our brothers and sisters. The guests who spoke to us during this trip came from all different backgrounds, and we got a chance to listen to so many stories about them helping to spread the Armenian Cause. Thanks to the Haroutioun & Elizabeth Kasparian Summer Academy, I met lifelong friends from all over the country, and made memories that will last forever.”
Video introductions to the 2021 Summer Academy alumni are available on the ANCA YouTube channel.
The ANCA Summer Academy is named in honor of Haroutioun and Elizabeth Kasparian in recognition of their lifetime of selfless service and sacrifice for the Armenian community and cause, through a generous grant by their daughter and son-in-law, Arsho and Adour Aghjayan and grandson Nareg. It is the latest in the series of youth empowerment and career development programs including the Leo Sarkisian Internship Program, Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program, Maral Melkonian Avetisyan Fellowship, and the ANCA Rising Leaders Program – which features the Lucine Kouchakdjian Capitol Hill Day.