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Assembly Delegation Concludes Working Visit to Armenia

Updated: Jul 1

Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian and his wife Nancy Barsamian, former chief advisor to the late Israeli President Simon Peres Nadav Tamir, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Assembly President Carolyn Mugar, Assembly Co-Chair Van Krikorian, and Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny

Washington, D.C. - A leadership delegation of the Armenian Assembly of America visiting Yerevan, Armenia, earlier this month conducted a round of meetings that included officials from the governments of Armenia, U.S. and France, as well as discussions with the Catholicos of All Armenians, the leadership of Artsakh, the United Nations, opposition, civil society and NGO groups. The wide-ranging meetings covered a myriad of topics from assistance for the Artsakh refugees and their right of return, to greater U.S. assistance and Armenia's security, as well as Azerbaijan's ongoing hostile actions and the prospects of a "peace treaty," among other issues.

In its meetings, the Assembly delegation, consisting of Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Co-Chair Van Krikorian, President Carolyn Mugar, and Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, focused on the need for new approaches in the face of continuing threats of genocide. The Assembly reiterated its long-standing non-partisan policy that it supports democracy for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, but does not interfere in the internal affairs of Armenia, applying the principle that diaspora politics ought not be brought to Armenia, and that Armenian politics ought not be brought to the diaspora. 

Assembly leadership in a meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

The Assembly also hosted Nadav Tamir, former chief advisor to the late Israeli President Simon Peres. After his visit to Tsitsernakaberd, Tamir stated on X (formerly Twitter): "I am so ashamed that my country doesn't recognize the Armenian Genocide. Visiting the memorial for the Genocide in Yerevan Armenia, reading the conclusion of Hitler that the world didn’t care, how can we, the victims of the holocaust ignore the Armenian one?!?!"

Assembly leadership held a meeting with Armenia's Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan

During the visit, the Assembly also held a memorial service for Regional Director Arpi Vartanian, long-time Board Member and founder Robert A. Kaloosdian, and Anthony Barsamian, Sr, a World War II veteran and father of Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian.

Anthony Barsamian, Carolyn Mugar, Bryan Ardouny, Sevag Vartanian, and Van Krikorian during the memorial service for Arpi Vartanian

In addition, the Assembly held a special dedication in honor of and in memory of Arpi Vartanian - who represented the best of America and Armenia in her service there since 1994 - its office in Yerevan, just off Republic Square, where they dedicated the office in Arpi's name with an inscription that read: "For her decades of service through the Armenian Assembly of America, her lifelong commitment to the betterment of Armenians everywhere, her courage in sharing the numerous challenges faced by the people of Armenia and Artsakh, born and raised in the United States, resettled in Armenia in 1994, we respectfully dedicate this historic office to the spirit and memory of Arpi Vartanian."

The first intern selected for the Arpi Vartanian Armenia Internship Fund - Ani Hekimian, a student at Pasadena City College studying biochemistry - was also announced.

The standing-room only event was attended by representatives of the Armenian and U.S. governments, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien, USAID Director John Allelo, and USAID Armenia Director Jeff Paretchan, former foreign ministers Raffi Hovanissian (also a former Assembly Regional Director in Armenia), and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, foreign ministers of Artsakh Masis Mailyan, Karen Mirzoyan, and Sergey Ghazaryan, High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs of Armenia Zareh Sinanyan, France's Deputy Head of Mission Christophe Katsahian, Stepan Demirchyan and his wife Tamara, former Board Member Raffi Kasarjian and his wife Lucine, representatives from the Armenian Tree Project, and more.

Remarks were given by Assembly Co-Chair Van Krikorian, Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, and U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien, who praised Arpi's dedication and passion. Arpi's brother, Sevag Vartanian, who was presented with the flags of Armenia, Artsakh, and America that were flown from the historic balcony outside of Arpi's office where Armenia's independence was declared in 1918, also provided heartfelt remarks.

"As our family mourns Arpi's loss, let us celebrate her life as an inspiration to all diasporan Armenians," said Sevag Vartanian. "She returned to our homeland 30 years ago, and worked tirelessly for the betterment of Armenia and Artsakh."

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.


NR# 2024-24

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