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Armenian Assembly of America Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian Travels to Armenia, Meets with Government Leaders

Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian with Assembly Regional Director Arpi Vartanian during a meeting in Yerevan with Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

Washington, DC – Anthony Barsamian, Co-Chair of the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly), traveled to Armenia and met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and former President Robert Kocharyan this summer.

Joined by the Assembly’s Regional Office Director Arpi Vartanian, the meeting focused on relations between Armenia and the United States. Barsamian stated that the Assembly will continue its efforts to enhance Armenian American activism based on mutually shared values.

During the meeting, Barsamian also extended his condolences to the Armenian Republic and families of the soldiers killed in the Artsakh war last Fall.

While in Armenia, Barsamian was interviewed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, where he elaborated on U.S.-Armenia relations under the Biden Administration and its increased humanitarian assistance and involvement in the region. He commented on the importance of building infrastructure in Armenia, alongside U.S. partnership, to assist in strengthening Armenia’s security and prosperity.

Regarding the post-war situation, Barsamian urged for the immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war and intensified efforts from the OSCE Minsk Group to negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement. Barsamian cited security as the primary issue for Armenia at the moment.

Despite the milestone of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, Barsamian noted the work of the Assembly carries on as the international trend of affirmation continues. Barsamian also noted the importance of Turkey coming to terms with its past.

Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian with former President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan

“This visit provided an important opportunity to strengthen relations and discuss current developments in Armenia and the United States as we all work toward a secure and peaceful Armenia and Artsakh,” said Assembly Regional Director Arpi Vartanian.

Armenian Assembly of America Mourns Passing of Life Trustee Virginia “Ginny” Ohanian

Ginny AAA

Armenian Assembly Co-Chair Anthony Barsamian, Armenian Assembly Board Member Lu Ann Ohanian, Middlesex County Sherriff Peter Koutoujian, Ginny Ohanian, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Nevart Talanian, and former Armenian Assembly Board Member Rachel Kaprielian.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) mourns the loss of Virginia “Ginny” Ohanian, who passed away peacefully on September 13, 2018.

Both Ginny and her late husband Michael were staunch supporters and core members of the Assembly from the beginning. They were close to Stephen Mugar and actively participated in all of the Assembly’s work. In 2013, she was honored, alongside Ann Hintlian and Nevart Talanian, with the Assembly’s Distinguished Humanitarian Award.

“Ginny was a remarkable individual with a sparkling sense of humor who cared deeply and passionately about Armenia and its people. Her generosity and commitment to Armenia and the Armenian Assembly served as an inspiration to us all. She will be missed greatly. This is a loss to the entire Assembly family,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian said.

After visiting Armenia and Artsakh as part of the Assembly Mission Trip in 1999, Mrs. Ohanian became committed to the reforestation of the country. Of the thousands of supporters of the Armenia Tree Project no one individual has given as many “tree gifts.” She took it beyond just planting trees.

Mrs. Ohanian had said: “I saw for myself the need for trees, jobs and education. I thought this was a fitting way to memorialize Michael’s and my ardent devotion to the Armenian Assembly,” thus giving the funds to open the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Environmental Education Center at the Karin Nursery in Armenia.

Mrs. Ohanian, her sister, daughter, and daughter-in-law were at the ribbon cutting in 2004. In 2011 the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Center for Environment Studies was opened in Margahovit, Lori Marz province. This center trains students, teachers and professionals in best forestry practices and conducts environmental education lessons with students from all regions of Armenia.

Her son Bruce is a long-time Assembly Trustee, and her daughter-in-law, Lu Ann Ohanian, is also a Life Trustee and a member of the Assembly’s Board. Mrs. Ohanian’s daughter Veronica Heath and husband Donn have been members and supporters of the Assembly and the Armenia Tree Project.

Mrs. Ohanian was a life-time member of the Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge where she was an ardent supporter and a member of the Women’s Guild, and a longstanding seasonal parishioner of St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL.  She was very active along with her husband in the Armenian General Benevolent Union. Michael was an excellent golfer, winning the Massachusetts Amateur. Mrs. Ohanian thought it only fitting after he passed that she establish a college scholarship through the Ouimet Society named the Michael Ohanian Scholarship. Her other philanthropies include: Armenian Heritage Park, Berkshire Hill Music Academy, Bentley College, the Belmont Hill School, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The wake will take place on Wednesday, September 19 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am with a funeral service to follow at Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston at 145 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA.

Armenian Assembly of America Congratulates President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Armenian Assembly of AmericaArmenian Caucus Members are Successful

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a long, close, and hard fought presidential race, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump, early Wednesday morning, surpassed the requisite number of Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). In addition to the White House, Republicans retained their majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate although by smaller margins.

“We congratulate president-elect Trump and his running mate Mike Pence, and we commend American Armenians who participated in the election process throughout the country,” stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian.

“In his victory speech, president-elect Trump’s call for national unity was gracious and is welcome. During the campaign, president-elect Trump recognized Turkey’s ties to ISIS, as well as its increasingly authoritarian regime. In addition to Turkey, President Trump will also need to address Azerbaijan’s sharp deterioration and its links with ISIS. Both countries pose a threat to stability in the region,” Co-Chairs Barsamian and Krikorian added.

“In view of the insecurity in the region, it is vitally important that Christians and minority communities at risk be protected and we urge the new Administration and new Congress to take steps to safeguard these vulnerable communities,” the Co-Chairs continued.

Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues

In the House of Representatives, the Members of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues had a strong showing with the overwhelming majority of those seeking re-election winning, including Co-Chairs Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA) and Vice Co-Chairs Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Dave Trott (R-MI). Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Robert Dold (R-IL) facing a re-match with Democrat Brad Schneider did not win, nor did his Senate colleague Mark Kirk (R-IL). Meanwhile, Armenian Caucus Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) handily won his election to the United States Senate having defeated Turkish Caucus Congresswoman Donna Edwards in the Maryland primary. In addition, Caucus Member Janice Hahn (D-CA) won her bid for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“We congratulate the Members of the Armenian Caucus on their victories. We are proud to have two Members of Armenian descent in the House of Representatives, namely Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier. Armenian American Danny Tarkanian, however, did not prevail in Nevada,” stated Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “We also appreciate the strong support of our friends who will not be returning to Congress and wish them every success.”

In addition to a strong showing on the House side, pro-Armenia candidates also won in the Senate. Apart from Van Hollen, Armenian Genocide resolution cosponsors Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and long-time supporter of Armenian issues Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were all re-elected.

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 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.