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Assembly Hosts Successful Advocacy Summit on Capitol Hill, Calls for Increased Aid & Action

Updated: 2 days ago


Assembly advocates and elected officials commemorate the

Armenian Genocide on Capitol Hill


Washington, D.C. - In an inspiring display of unity and enthusiasm, activists from across the United States met with elected officials on Capitol Hill to bring attention to critical issues facing the Armenian people during the Armenian Assembly of America's (Assembly) Spring 2024 Advocacy Summit, held on Tuesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 17, 2024.


Assembly Board Members with Ambassador Brownback


Former US Senator Ambassador Sam Brownback spoke to participants about the importance of educating decision-makers about the risks faced by Armenia as a Christian country, at a time when two major wars are being waged that has drawn attention away from the crisis in the Caucasus.


(l-r) Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) with Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Deputy of the French National Assembly Hon. Astrid Panosyan-Bouvet and Assembly President Carolyn Mugar; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Assembly NY State Chair Mariam Aghayan, Assembly Co-Chair Van Krikorian, and Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan; Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Hon. Astrid Panosyan-Bouvet and Anthony Barsamian; Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) with constituents; and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) with constituents


The following morning, a breakfast briefing took place prior to advocacy meetings, and the entire day was dedicated to meeting with elected officials, where advocates visited over 300 offices of elected officials.


Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with constituents who thanked her for her impact in the Armenian-American community


The Summit concluded with the Armenian Genocide Commemoration on Capitol Hill, where Members of Congress shared their remarks on the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and their efforts to support the Armenian people amidst its current challenges.


(l-r) Capitol Hill Meetings with Members of Congress including Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA); Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) with Dr. Gary and Linda Assarian; Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA); Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); and CA constituents outside the Capitol


"We appreciate the dedication of our advocates who traveled to Washington, DC, to show their Armenian American presence on Capitol Hill and make the effort to inform their elected officials about ways to help the Armenian people during this crucial time," said Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. "We have already gained new members in the Armenian Caucus as a result of these meetings and anticipate Members of Congress supporting legislation that sanctions Azerbaijan for its unjust actions against Armenians, including the proposed $250 million aid package for Armenia and the Armenian people of Artsakh who were forcibly driven from their ancestral lands."


(l-r) Capitol Hill Meetings including John Vatian and Michael Bezjian; Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) with Dr. Gary and Linda Assarian; Christopher Visser, David Onanian and Marisa Onanian; Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ); Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA); Oscar Tatosian and Paruir Sarkisian; Serge Seropian, Jacob Bournazian, Steven Keytanjian and Alex Bakalian; and Joseph Piatt and Tyler Bagdasarian


In the weeks leading up to the Advocacy Summit, the Assembly held virtual briefings and training sessions that served as an educational tool for participants as they learned detailed information about legislation and the legislative process, as well as specific actions to request from their representatives.


(l-r) Armenian Genocide Commemoration on Capitol Hill including Assembly advocates; Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) with Assembly Director of Development and Membership Mary Jo Bazarian Murray and Carl Bazarian; Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-GA) with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA); Assembly Board Member Lisa Kalustian with Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA); Assembly Board Member Aram Gavoor, Dr. Mary Papazian, Hon. Astrid Panosyan-Bouvet, Van Krikorian, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Nina Hovnanian and Anthony Barsamian; Armenian Genocide Commemoration on Capitol Hill attendees; and Mariam Khaloyan with Maryland State Delegate Lorig Charkoudian


A special highlight of the Assembly's Spring 2024 Advocacy Summit was the participation of young scholars, thanks to donor support, which allowed 20 scholarships to college students from across the US. Each of the participants voiced their appreciation for the program and the chance to serve as advocates, an experience they wish to repeat again soon. The scholars included: Maria Akhverdyan, Lilit Arakelyan, Nanor Boyajyan, Nellie Chobanyan, Milena Davtyan, Maria Galstyan, Karine Grigoryan, Areg Hovhannisyan, Liana Issaian, Celine Khachiki, Norair Khalafyan, Susanna Kharatyan, Syuzanna Kovalenko, Alexa Luborsky, Araz Majnoonian, Meline Martirosyan, Yervand Matevosian, Artur Melikian, Nataleen Orangian, and Arman Tarverdyan.


The Assembly’s Young Scholar Program, thanks to donor support, gave 20 Armenian American college students from across the US the opportunity to participate in the

Assembly’s Spring 2024 Advocacy Summit


Meline Martirosyan, a nursing student living in Santa Clarita California, who is originally from Syunik, Armenia, emphasized how impressed she was with the Summit and its all-encompassing scope, in addition to providing opportunities to network and advocate for Armenian issues with like-minded individuals.


"I have always been an activist online and consistently respond to action alerts as this is a personal commitment for me, but it was a new experience of meeting with elected officials in person," said Martirosyan, noting it was an emotional time for her as well because of her involvement in her homeland.


Areg Hovhannisyan, a student at Glendale Community College who is from Glendale, California, stated that the Summit "opened up a fresh path" for him to become involved in advocacy and "have the opportunity to learn and talk to elected officials about issues I really care about."


Artur Melikian, a student at UCLA from Glendale, California, said he looks forward to the next Assembly Summit, as he "met with different officials and gained new friends."

The hands-on experience of participating in 10 meetings helped him understand the "different principles and approaches of elected officials," which was an insightful experience for him.


The Assembly offers its thanks and appreciation to our 

2024 Advocacy Summit Sponsors and Donors:


Sponsors


Dr. Gary and Linda Assarian

Alexander and Sima Bakalian

Michael Bezjian

Arda Boyar

Vigen and Dr. Houry Ghazarian

Vasken and Hikanouch Kaltakdjian

Mr. & Mrs. Zaven and Sona Khanjian

David and Margaret Mgrublian

Carolyn Mugar

Dr. and Mrs. Arthur and Rosemond Muncheryan

Dr. Stephen and Mariam Ovanessoff

Sami and Annie Totah Family Foundation

Varuj Babikian and Ms. Talin Yacoubian


Supporters

Lilit Arakelyan

Tyler Bagdasarian

Alexander Bakalian

Gregory Balukjian

Harry and Alvard Barseghian

Vahe and Anni Bedian

Jacob Bournazian

Edward Constantian

Hosanna Derderian

Dr. Heratch and Sonya Doumanian

Sirvart Endrigian

Alice Guida

Julia Hanessian

Marguerite Hougasian

George and Bella Issaians

Vartan Jerian

Vasken and Hikanouch Katakdjian

State Rep. Katherine Kazarian

Steven and Marietta Keytanjian

Nazenig Kolenick

Alex and Vesna Markarian

Meline Martirosyan

Artur Melikian

Peter Melkonian

Dr. Richard Mikaelian, DDS

David Ojakian

David and Dr. Myrna Onanian

Claudine Sakayan Ozzello

David and Arpi Sahr

Aida Sarafian

John and Debra Saryan

Maral Skelsey

Sandra Koorejian and Kirk Springsted

Marc and Marguerite Tarjan

Arshag and Takouhi Tarpinian

Khajag Tchakerian

Florence Thomasian Speck

Garen Vartanian


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.


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NR# 2024-18






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