LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Several prominent Armenian-American professionals in the field of government, media and public affairs will headline the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Policy Seminar at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on June 4.
The invitation-only program will include presentations by respected experts across the fields of government, media and public relations, in addition to roundtable discussions and advocacy workshops. The seminar will bring together ANCA activists from across the United States and provide a platform for community leaders to gain insights and share their own experiences into the most effective approaches for promoting grassroots political engagement, building momentum behind state and regional policy priorities, and advancing our community’s federal legislative priorities through sustained advocacy.
The conference will be headlined by Ken Khachigian, who will offer reflections on his career as an influential political strategist in a fireside chat with ANCA Nevada co-chair Lenna Hovanessian.
Khachigian, known as the “Lion of California GOP [Republican Party] Politics,” served as an adviser on nine presidential campaigns – and worked in the Presidential administrations of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Most notably, he served as President Reagan’s chief speechwriter, authoring many of the president’s most consequential speeches – including his remarks on Holocaust Remembrance Day, where Reagan became the first President to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.
Khachigian also served as a senior advisor on California Governor George Deukmejian’s gubernatorial campaigns and managed the California campaign for Presidential candidate Bob Dole – a long-time champion of the Armenian people.
The conference will also feature a panel discussion led by prominent Armenian Americans in the field of media and communications. Senior political editor at POLITICO Charlie Mahtesian will join senior vice president of Edelman Public Relations Stephan Pechdimaldji and AXIOS Breaking News reporter Sareen Habeshian in a discussion on how the Armenian-American community can more effectively impact the media landscape.
In addition to his current role at POLITICO, Mahtesian has served as the editor-in-chief of National Journal’s Almanac of American Politics, the biennial book often referred to as “the bible of American politics,” as well as politics editor and deputy Washington desk chief at National Public Radio (NPR). Pechdimaldji is a communications strategist who has managed public and media relations for some of the top publishing and media companies in the country, including Time Inc., Los Angeles Times, Yahoo!, and CBS Interactive. Habeshian is a reporter with Axios, prior to which she worked at KTLA as a digital news producer – where she extensively contributed to coverage of the Armenian American community.
The ANCA Policy Seminar will also feature a panel discussion with Armenian-American elected officials who have played a critical role in advancing issues of importance to the Armenian-American community – including Glendale City councilmember and former mayor of Glendale Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian, Glendale City councilmember Elen Asatryan, and Rolling Hills Estates city councilmember and professor of governance at the University of Southern California Frank Zerunyan.
The conference will conclude with a panel discussion featuring ANCA executive director Aram Hamparian and ANCA Government Affairs director Tereza Yerimyan, who will provide an overview of the ANCA’s short- and long-term strategic policy objectives, including the organization’s engagement with key Congressional and Administration branch stakeholders on the following priorities:
— Delivering sustained US pressure on Azerbaijan to end its blockade of Artsakh
— Prohibiting all US arms sales and security assistance to Azerbaijan
— Providing immediate US humanitarian assistance to Artsakh
— Ensuring accountability for Azerbaijan’s ongoing war crimes and human rights abuses
— Securing the release of Armenian POWs illegally detained and tortured by Azerbaijan
— Defining Armenia’s security as the highest US-Armenia bilateral priority
— Recognizing the Artsakh Republic’s inalienable right to self-determination
The ANCA Policy Seminar will build upon a legacy of ANCA service to the cause of Armenian liberty that dates back more than a century, leveraging robust youth programs, vast grassroots reach in all 50 states, vigorous community engagement, and resilient coalition partnerships. The ANCA, as a grassroots Armenian American organization with chapters throughout the US, is deeply anchored in the community. The ANCA remains aligned with our enduring national aspirations – the security and survival of the Armenian homeland – while constantly updating our policy priorities and advocacy tactics to adapt to and overcome the challenges of a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape.