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Armenian Assembly Terjenian-Thomas Internship: Testimonial: Ava Gurekian

Updated: Aug 25, 2021


Ava Gurekian


“As an International Relations Major, I’m having a super enriching time interning at the Armenian Embassy. The embassy itself was so welcoming, and I felt like I was coming "home” every morning as I stepped inside its doors and heard my mother tongue. My duties at my workplace have enabled me to perfect my writing skills, communication skills, and diplomatic skills while encouraging me to learn about other countries’ relations with the US, specifically Armenia and the Caucuses. I’ve written reports and press releases, attended conferences, and researched Armenian issues, that were even sent to Armenian Assembly to help them lobby. I also enjoyed fostering relationships at the embassy specifically with Ambassador Tatoul Markarian and Deputy Andranik Hovhannisyan. I’ve created databases with South Caucuses statistics and performed detailed studies on the Congressmen in the Armenian and Azerbaijan Caucuses.

In addition to my embassy work, I’ve enjoyed meeting other influential Armenians as well as policy makers in Congress, including Representative Ed Royce, Representative Adam Schiff, Representative Jackie Speier, and Representative Nita Lowey, (who is a graduate of my wonderful college, Mount Holyoke College), among many others.

One of my favorite things about DC is walking everywhere. Because the city is so small, I walk by the monuments and walk by people I’ve networked with on a daily basis, just adding to the experience. DC is also a very navigable city, with easy numbers, letters, and states’ names assigned to each street. There is always something going on in DC, and on my walk back to Georgetown from the Capitol I’ve encountered such scenes: a Folk Festival, a Hungarian Dance performance, an immigration rally, smiling newly recognized couples in front of the Supreme Court, and more.

I always knew that Armenians were influential, but I never knew the extent until I came to Washington. Armenians are everywhere–from Capitol Hill, to law schools, to businesses, and more. However, this is not enough–Armenians can influence the US to a greater extent. True, Armenian interest groups and getting an “ian” on the Hill are priorities, especially with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide coming up. But, what can every Armenian-American do? We all can simply preserve our unique culture and educate people about Armenian heritage, which I learned directly from Levon Avdoyan, Armenian specialist at the Library of Congress.

This summer I’ve gained independence, new skills, and made many valuable connections, all thanks to the Armenian Assembly Terjenian-Thomas internship program."

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