Armenian Assembly of America Terjenian-Thomas interns met with Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) this summer to participate in policy-related conversations, and discuss issues relating to Armenia and Artsakh.
Washington, D.C. - The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) marked another successful summer welcoming students from around the country for the 2022 Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program in Washington DC, where they participated in various high-profile placements, from governmental departments to embassies and federal legislative offices. "The Assembly is committed to training the next generation of leaders through our Internship Program. Every year we look forward to connecting with bright, college-age students from across the country who have an interest in the political process, government and advocacy," said Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. The Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program provides students a closer look into the way government functions, particularly on Capitol Hill. "We learned about the importance of grassroots support for Armenian issues," said Bettina Saraydaroglu, who served as the Assembly's Summer Intern Coordinator. The George Washington University rising senior, who is studying International Affairs and Geography, noted the "impact" of being an advocate for Armenia and Artsakh. "I was inspired by the work done by the staffers, Congressmen and Congresswoman who put in the time to represent their constituents," added Saraydaroglu. As an intern in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's (D-FL) office, Lily Kalandjian appreciated the network of Armenian students and professionals she was exposed to throughout the Internship Program, including Capitol Hill staffers, World Bank traders, and McDonald's executives. "This summer was an invaluable experience where I was able to meet directly with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators to advocate for Armenian issues and give back to my Armenian community while furthering the Armenian cause," said Kalandjian, a rising junior studying Political Science at the University of Florida. "Not only was I able to get in touch with my Armenian heritage on a deeper level, but I was also able to create lifelong friends. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity provided by the Armenian Assembly as it has afforded me an experience of a lifetime."
The Armenian Assembly of America Terjenian-Thomas interns met with Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen and thanked him for his support on issues pertaining to the Armenian people.
California native Peter Chelebian also cited the Assembly's Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program as a "memorable summer experience" that provided him with the "tools" to understand all facets of Washington, DC. "Advocating for Armenian issues in the nation's capital was incredibly empowering as I consider law and government work in the future," said Chelebian, who highlighted the importance of meetings organized by the Assembly with key figures including Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Sam Tatevosian, director of McDonald's Corporation's federal government relations department. Chelebian, a rising senior at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is studying Political Science and interned at the Center for Immigration Studies. "I learned so much talking to successful and admirable power players in DC, and thank the Assembly for setting up such opportunities." As an Armenian Assembly of America intern, Lilia Karapetyan also appreciated connecting with elected officials and being exposed to Armenian American issues. "The meetings were incredibly useful to get in contact with professionals in the advocacy field and intern alums now pursuing their respective careers," said Karapetyan, a rising senior at University of Maryland, College Park, where she is studying Criminology, Criminal Justice and French. "A number of people we met with had careers that align with my interests and hearing about their experiences will help me with my own upcoming transition into the professional world." In addition to the daily internship placements, participants enjoyed a range of programming and activities throughout the summer, including discussions with Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA); Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA); Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA); Grigor Sargsyan, Principal Portfolio Manager at the World Bank; Jeffrey Kramb, Armenian Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of State; Sam Tatevosyan, Head of Federal Government Relations at McDonalds Corporation; Ani Toumajan, Legislative Assistant to Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Assembly Board Member and intern alumnus Aram Gavoor, Esq., who serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School; Khatchig Mouradian, Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress; recent Assembly Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program alumni Sophia Badalian, Tamar Barsamian, Arianna Cruickshank, Robert George, Armen Kaprelian, and Olivia Zorayan; Bryan Ardouny, Assembly Executive Director; Mihran Toumajan, Assembly Western Regional Director; Arpi Vartanian, Assembly Armenia Regional Director; Mariam Khaloyan, Assembly Congressional Relations Director; as well as mixers with Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) interns, and a trip to the Washington Nationals baseball game, courtesy of Chuck Yessaian from the Armenian Youth Center Golf Committee.
The Armenian Assembly of America Terjenian-Thomas interns in front of the U.S. Capitol.
The Assembly’s flagship Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program, which marks its 45th year, along with its sister Yerevan Internship Program, is comprised of meetings with elected officials, as well as with leaders and experts who work in government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the mass media. Over the last four decades, the Assembly has welcomed over 1,200 students and secured placements for them in high-profile roles, including with congressional offices, government departments, media outlets, think tanks, and nonprofit organizations in Washington DC, and Yerevan. This year's intern class included: Louisa Bayburtian, Armenian Assembly of America; Peter Chelebian, Center for Immigration Studies; Jack Dunkerley, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation; Lucas Eskigian, Office of Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA); Elen Hovhannisyan, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia; Gagik Hovhannisyan, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia; Lily Kalandjian, Office of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); Lilia Karapetyan, Armenian Assembly of America; Elena Martinez, U.S. Department of Treasury; Bettina Saraydaroglu, Armenian Assembly of America; and Alis Tokatlioglu, Armenian American Cultural Association, Inc.
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.