AYF New York “Hyortiks” on Capitol Hill

Aris Givelekian
Andrew Gorgissian

This summer, two active AYF New York “Hyortik” Junior members participated in the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) Summer Academy. High school students Andrew Gorgissian and Aris Givelekian were eager for the opportunity to learn about Hai Tahd while staying in the nation’s capital. 

“The ANCA Summer Academy opened my eyes to advocacy and Armenian issues. Throughout the week, many of our lectures and group activities were conducted on the topic of Artsakh. My peers and I were able to understand more about the reality and ongoing tragedy that Artsakh is facing during the blockade,” Gorgissian shared. “Toward the end of the week, our group went to Capitol Hill to persuade congressional staffers to co-sponsor H.Res.108, which condemns the atrocities that come with the blockade of the Lachin Corridor.”

Gorgissian explained that the group learned new concepts about government and policy, while also bonding through activities including touring the Wilson House, paddle boating on the tidal basin and playing board games at the Aramian House. He said they formed strong connections with each other, which will help them to strengthen their Armenian community.

“My peers and I were all amazed by the ANCA’s efforts to persuade politicians to support Armenia, and we aspire to support the Armenian cause in any means necessary,” Gorgissian said. “The ANCA Summer Academy motivated me to spread my knowledge of Armenian issues to my fellow peers and my local Armenian community. I truly enjoyed the balance of education and leisure that we experienced throughout the program. I am forever grateful for the accommodations that the ANCA has provided and the people I’ve met throughout the ANCA Summer Academy. I long to use all of the lessons I’ve learned in order to improve myself and benefit others around me.” 

“During my stay at the Aramian House as an ANCA Haroutioun and Elizabeth Kasparian Summer Academy intern, I learned a lot about political advocacy for the Armenian Cause,” Givelekian said. “Each and every day, 16 other interns and I sat through meetings, lectures and discussions regarding the current state of Artsakh and Armenia. Following this, we made our way to Capitol Hill where we went to all 440 congressional offices to inform and discuss the current situation of Artsakh.”

Givelekian also enjoyed the activities planned for the ANCA Summer Academy participants, particularly paddle boating, touring Washington D.C and Georgetown, and getting ice cream. 

“All in all, I had a very memorable experience, and I encourage everyone who seeks to join ANCA as a future intern or volunteer to take this opportunity,” Givelekian said.

The AYF “Hyortik” Chapter looks forward to seeing what Andrew and Aris bring back to the chapter and the New York community. We encourage other members to participate in this program after learning about Andrew and Aris’s positive experiences.

AYF New York "Hyortik" Chapter

AYF New York "Hyortik" Chapter

The AYF-YOARF New York “Hyortik” Chapter existed even before the AYF was founded in 1933 and works to unite Armenian youth and organize activities in Queens and Long Island. The chapter has a Senior and Junior chapter. The New York “Hyortik” Chapter sets out to achieve its goals and objectives throughout the year with events such as commemorating the Armenian Genocide every April 24th in NYC; fundraising for our homeland; hosting a fall festival and Christmas dinner with juniors; annual Super Bowl parties; and ski trips. The AYF-YOARF’s five pillars (athletic, cultural, educational, political, social) guide this chapter and help to keep its membership active and at the forefront of the Armenian cause at all times.

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