Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian being interviewed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Sargis Harutyunyan while in Armenia
Washington, D.C. - Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Esq. headlined this week’s Summer Speaker Series on Thursday evening, July 29, 2021, where he elaborated on the key role of the Assembly in the Armenian American community, as well as his recent working trip to Armenia. Part of his visit involved meetings with Armenian government and opposition leaders and with U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy. While on the ground in Armenia, Barsamian observed the resiliency of Armenians first-hand, despite the post-war and post-pandemic challenges. "Armenia is in a difficult part of the world where various countries have interests," said Co-Chair Barsamian. "Turkey and Azerbaijan are playing a difficult game with Armenia right now but Armenia is a true democracy and went through a free and fair election by all standards." "Armenia is getting its footing again and we have to become serious about security and military assistance and make sure the U.S., Russia, and France do their job with the OSCE Minsk Group and push back against Azerbaijan and Turkey to stop the aggression," he continued. Barsamian also stressed the importance of security in Armenia, as well as infrastructure, which will help build and strengthen the society through organizations such as USAID, which can contribute to the quality of water, roads and schools. Although the historic U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide was passed by President Biden on April 24, 2021 after decades of advocacy efforts, there is still "so much to do" in terms of awareness and education. "What we are talking about is human rights," said Barsamian. "We have suffered this tragedy and it makes us strong to advocate for others and educate others about the human suffering around the world." Barsamian also commended the activism of the community, and especially the next generation of Armenian Americans, who have the "passion" for advocacy work and who will continue to serve as activists. Barsamian recommended that constituents visit Washington, D.C. and educate their representatives, which will help result in milestones such as the Pallone Amendment that was adopted in the House of Representatives on July 28th via voice vote, and prohibits foreign military financing and international military education training to Azerbaijan. The House of Representatives also approved $50 million for Armenia and $2 million for Artsakh for Fiscal Year 2022. The Assembly is happy to connect with anyone who would like to meet their Member of Congress, attend an Assembly event, or become an Assembly supporter and member. In addition to being an advocate in the U.S., Barsamian encouraged Armenian Americans to travel to Armenia, participate in programs, and invest in the country. "Our strength is our diaspora," said Barsamian. The Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program, which is taking place virtually this summer, provides college students of Armenian descent an opportunity to gain exposure to the policymaking process in our nation’s capital for eight weeks each summer. Since 1977, the Armenian Assembly of America has assisted over 1,200 participants in securing placements in prominent congressional offices, government agencies, media outlets, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations in Washington, D.C.
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(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.