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Blog Archives

White House Budget Proposes 67% Cut in Aid to Armenia

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released its budget recommendations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to Congress with substantial budget cuts to Armenia and the region.

Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Adam Schiff (D-CA) are currently circulating a Dear Colleague letter asking Members to join them in opposing cuts in aid to Armenia.

Under the Administration’s proposed budget, aid to Armenia would be reduced by 67%, dropping from $20.4 million in FY16 to $6.8 million proposed for FY18.

The Armenian Assembly of America issued an Action Alert urging the community to contact their Representative asking them to sign the letter and stop the drastic cut in critical aid to America’s ally Armenia.

The President’s budget envisions across the board cuts. Assistance to the South Caucasus region would be reduced by:

  • Azerbaijan: 90% cut
  • Armenia: 67% cut
  • Georgia: 58% cut

The President’s budget recommendation includes a 70% reduction in aid to Ukraine.

For details on the President’s budget proposal as it relates to Armenia, click here.

“As the current Administration reduces foreign aid across the board, we must ensure that Armenia has the resources to address the compelling humanitarian needs as a result of the current refugee crisis and Turkey’s blockade, as well as Azerbaijan’s ongoing and deadly ceasefire violations,” stated Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

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Armenian Advocacy Groups: Contact White House, Congress

By Taniel Shant
FLArmenians Political Contributor

Armenian American advocacy groups, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) and the Armenian National Committee (ANC), are currently urging the Armenian American community to voice their concerns to the federal government.

Last month, both groups issued ‘Action Alerts’ on issues of concern to the over 1 million strong Armenian American community. Here in Florida, there are approximately 30,000 Armenian Americans.

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With the inauguration of the President Donald J. Trump and the start of the 115th Congress, the groups called on their respective members to take action to boost the Armenian Caucus membership, express opinions regarding the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, as well as contacting the Trump Administration to advance Armenian American policy priorities for 2017.

Prior to the calls for action, both the Assembly and ANC sent congratulatory messages to President Trump on his election (see the Assembly letter here and the ANC letter here).

The Assembly, an independent, non-partisan, Washington, D.C.-based organization, urged members to send messages to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding nominees Sessions and Tillerson. Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate last week and Sessions is expected to be approved this week.

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The Assembly is currently seeking to boost the bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, which currently stands at 87 Members of Congress, a historic low. “The 115th Congress is at work, and we are turning to you to urge your Representative to join the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues,” read the Assembly statement. “We need to expand the Armenian Caucus to counter growing opposition, and hostility in the region. Our goal is to increase the number of Members who will speak up for the rights of the people of Armenia and Artsakh. Please urge your Representative to join the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues,” read the Assembly alert.

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The ANC, the U.S. arm of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a Yerevan-based Armenian political party, issued calls to its membership to outline key policy priorities to the Trump White House. “Ask President Trump to support Armenia,” reads the ANC alert. The ANC outlined three key policy areas: “Properly commemorating the Armenian Genocide as a clear case of genocide challenging Turkey’s obstruction of justice for this still unpunished crime and more broadly rejecting Turkey’s efforts to control U.S. policy on Armenian issues; Advancing a durable and democratic peace in the Caucasus by recognizing and supporting the independent Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and; Growing the U.S.-Armenia economic military and political partnership and supporting a secure prosperous and democratic Armenia.”

You can take action on the Assembly and ANC alerts here and here.

Armenian Assembly of America Now Accepting Applications for Summer Internship Programs in Washington, Yerevan

You Can Be a Part of the Assembly’s 40th Summer Internship Class

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Applications for the Armenian Assembly of America’s (Assembly) summer internship programs are available, and the deadline for this upcoming summer is fast approaching. The 2017 Terjenian-Thomas Summer Internship Program applications in Washington, D.C. are due on December 1, 2016 and candidates for the Yerevan Internship Program in Armenia will be accepted through January 10, 2017.

This upcoming summer will mark the 40th anniversary year of the Assembly’s internship program for Armenian youth in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1977, the Armenian Assembly Summer Internship Program was the first internship program offered by an Armenian organization in America. Over 1,000 students of Armenian descent have graduated through the Assembly ranks.

Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Class of 2016 Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Interns,Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Armenian National Institute Director Dr. Rouben Adalian

Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Class of 2016 Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Interns,Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Armenian National Institute Director Dr. Rouben Adalian

The Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program gives college students of Armenian descent an opportunity to gain exposure to the policy-making process in our nation’s capital for eight weeks each summer. Students accepted to the Washington program are assisted in securing internships in congressional offices, government agencies, media outlets, think-tanks, and non-governmental organizations based on their educational background and interests. Placements have included the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, the Senate, the House, Congressional Committees, Armenian Embassy, Library of Congress, Voice of America, and other media, federal agencies, and think tanks.

In addition, Assembly interns will have the opportunity to discuss Armenian American issues during meetings with Members of Congress, Senators, and other government officials, industry professionals, and noted academics through the Capitol Ideas and Lecture Series programs. These programs provide interns a forum to ask questions and discuss topics important to the Armenian-American community, including current events taking place throughout the world and U.S. foreign policy towards Armenia and Karabakh.

The Terjenian-Thomas Assembly Internship Program is made possible by the Memorial Fund established through the generosity of Aram Terjenian, Annie Thomas and Florence Terjenian of Belmont, Massachusetts. Additional support comes from the Richard Tufenkian Memorial Fund, the John Hanessian Scholarship Fund, the Armen Astarjian Scholarship Fund, the Ohanian Memorial Fund, the Estate of Haig J. Boyadjian, the Estate of George Judge Karabedian (George Kay), Mr. & Mrs. James and Connie Melikian, and the Knights of Vartan.

Armenian Assembly of America Regional Director Arpi Vartanian and Class of 2016 Assembly Yerevan Summer Interns with Nagorno Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan

Armenian Assembly of America Regional Director Arpi Vartanian and Class of 2016 Assembly Yerevan Summer Interns with Nagorno Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan

The Assembly also offers a similar internship program in Yerevan, Armenia. Now entering its 17th year, the Yerevan Internship Program provides students the opportunity to live and work in one of the most historically and culturally rich countries in the world. Students can work in Armenian government agencies, non-governmental organizations, medical centers, or media outlets. Participants will meet with Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh government officials, including Assembly partner organizations of Armenia Tree Project and HALO Trust, and tour historical sites around the country. Recent placements include the United Nations, Constitutional Court, Civilitas Foundation, International Center for Human Development, and other non-governmental organizations, as well as various government ministries.

For more information on the Assembly internship programs or assistance with the application process, please contact Internship Program Director Joseph Piatt in Washington, D.C. at (202) 393-3434, ext. 336, or via email at jpiatt@aaainc.org. You can find stories, posts, and testimonials from last year’s internship class on the Assembly’s Intern Blogs (Washington, D.C. or Yerevan, Armenia). You can also check out their photo albums (Washington, D.C. or Yerevan, Armenia) on the Assembly’s Internship Alumni Facebook Page.