Updated: Sep 12, 2022
Washington, D.C. - The Armenian Assembly of America is a family affair for Alex Karapetian, who met his wife Leslie during the Assembly's Terjenian-Thomas Summer Internship Program in 2002, and currently serves as an Assembly Board member as he strives to continue his family legacy with the organization.
2002 Assembly Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program Participants Leslie Azarian Karapetian and Alex Karapetian
"It was a fantastic experience to not only work on Capitol Hill and be part of the change, but also to meet a dynamic group of motivated young Armenian American professionals from all over the world," said Alex, who interned for then-Pennsylvania Congressman and current Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). Alex vividly remembers the energy of working on the Hill alongside "policymakers and change-makers" and building "irreplaceable" lifelong friendships that were made possible through the Internship Program. Complementing the interns' work on the Hill, Alex highlighted the social and educational events that the Assembly organized on a weekly basis - from meetings with Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) - while attending local Armenian events, including a barbecue at longtime Assembly Board Member and supporter Annie Totah's house, and a summer festival at St. Mary Armenian Church in Washington D.C. "The real takeaway from that summer was that I met my wife Leslie," said Alex. "She was my next door neighbor and now we have three sons who we hope will also join the Assembly's Summer Internship Program when they come of age."
Alex with his brothers-in-law who all participated in the Assembly's Summer Internship Program: Adam Azarian ’09, Alex Karapetian ‘02, Michael Azarian ‘05, Alex Azarian ‘14
Family history takes centerstage for both Alex and Leslie, whose families have been involved with the Assembly since its inception in 1972. In addition to philanthropic endeavors, their families also participated in key milestones for the Assembly, such as when Alex's aunt and uncle, Jeff and Helen Acopian, traveled to Armenia as part of the Assembly's first mission trip to the homeland in the early 1990s. His cousin, Ani Acopian, was also a former intern. Leslie's grandmother and grandfather, Barbara and Sam Hagopian, were involved as Board Members, and led the Assembly's Western Region from their home base in Texas. Leslie's uncle, Sam Hagopian II, her cousin, Raffi Manoukian, and her three brothers also participated in the Assembly's Summer Internship Program.
Karapetian Family: Alex, Leslie, Teddy, Nicholas and Zachary
"I feel very close to the Assembly and I felt I had to give back because the organization has done so much for Armenia and the diaspora, whether through securing humanitarian aid, promoting public awareness, and supporting legislation," said Alex. "As the third generation involved in the Assembly, it is my duty to pay it forward, because without the Assembly's efforts and relationship-building on Capitol Hill, we can't further our agenda and initiatives for Armenia."
Acopian Technical Company: Alex Karapetian, Jeff Acopian, Greg Acopian, Ezra Acopian
In his professional career, Alex serves as President of Acopian Technical Company, a third generation, family-run and operated business that manufactures electronics power supplies with locations in Easton, Pennsylvania and Melbourne, Florida. Aside from his service to the Assembly, Alex also serves as a Member of the Board of Directors at Notre Dame High School, President of the Alumni Association at Lafayette College, Lafayette College Board of Trustees Committee Member, and former Board Member of Armenia Fund, USA. Born in Los Angeles, California, Alex attended the Vahan and Anoush Chamlian Armenian School until his family moved to Easton, PA, where he graduated from Lafayette College in 2004, and received his graduate degree from New York University in 2009. "The Assembly brings urgent Armenian-related issues to the forefront and does an amazing job of educating the diaspora to help them get involved and become aware of the issues," said Alex. "I see a promising future for Armenia and the organization itself. Needless to say, the Armenian Assembly of America changed my entire life." In honor of the 45th anniversary of the Assembly's Terjenian-Thomas Internship Program, a series of articles will feature Assembly intern alum in the coming weeks.
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.