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Armenian Assembly Discusses Key Issues on Capitol Hill During April Advocacy Month

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a month of intensive advocacy on the Hill, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) submitted congressional testimony outlining key priorities for Armenia and Artsakh, joined the bi-partisan Armenian Genocide Commemoration on Capitol Hill, and accompanied activists in meeting with Members of the House and Senate.

“Our State Chairs and activists hailed from across the nation, from California to Maine and from Utah to Pennsylvania to visit the capital and speak with their elected officials. We very much appreciate their dedication and commitment, and look forward to future advocacy events,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

The Assembly delegation met with a host of Congressional offices to discuss strengthening U.S.-Armenia relations, participating in the Armenian Genocide Commemoration, and joining the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.

Armenian Assembly Board Member Annie Totah, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Diocesan Legate of the Armenian Church of America Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, and Armenian Assembly Grassroots & Development Associate Mariam Khaloyan; Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), Archbishop Aykazian, and Totah; Khaloyan, former intern Adriana Demirciyan, Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), Ardouny, and Armenian Assembly Public Affairs Associate Danielle Saroyan; and former Armenian Assembly intern Jason Capizzi, Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Bryan Ardouny

In the Assembly’s meeting with Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Assembly Board Member Annie Totah discussed the importance of U.S. assistance to Artsakh and the ongoing cease-fire violations by Azerbaijan. They also met with Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) prior to the Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Commemoration and discussed a range of key issues.

Utah State Chair Narine Sarkissian joined Assembly staff in meetings with congressional offices and attended the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats hearing titled “Turkey’s Democracy Under Challenge,” in addition to the Armenian Genocide Commemoration.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Armenian Assembly Utah State Chair Narine Sarkissian, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration on Capitol Hill

Assembly Public Affairs Associate Danielle Saroyan attended Senator Diane Feinstein’s (D-CA) first Constituent Breakfast of the year as a special guest. At the breakfast, Sen. Feinstein thanked the Assembly for its work and spoke about her close ties with Armenian Americans in California.

Together with former Assembly intern Adriana Demirciyan from New York, the Assembly thanked newly-minted Member Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) for joining the Armenian Caucus and were impressed by his knowledge of Armenian culture. American Armenian Rose Float Association Director Arthur Kokozian spoke with Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) about Armenian culture as well, and the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and American Armenian Rose Float Association Director Arthur Kokozian

Elected to office in 2014, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) pledged to join the Armenian Caucus as a result of the Assembly’s meeting. “Rep. Beyer represents a vibrant Armenian community in Northern Virginia, including the city of Alexandria which is the sister city to Gyumri as a meaningful demonstration of solidarity after the devastating 1988 earthquake in Armenia,” Assembly Grassroots and Development Associate Mariam Khaloyan said. “The Assembly will continue to meet with offices throughout April,” she added.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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