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Armenian Student Associations in the U.S. Pen Letter in Solidarity with Student-Driven Movement in Armenia

Mother Armenia overlooking the latest peaceful demonstrations in Yerevan, Armenia on April 25, 2018. (Photo credit: Bared Maronian of Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Armenian Student Associations (ASA) from universities across the United States have assembled and penned a letter in solidarity with what they are calling a “student-driven democratization movement” taking place in Armenia.

“As members of a new generation in the diaspora, we stand with our Armenian counterparts in their quest to combat corruption and ensure democratic governance,” reads a part of the letter written by five Washington D.C.-area ASAs, and endorsed by 13 other ASAs across the country.

Tereza Sarkisyan, a graduate student at American University who is from Boca Raton, FL, told FLArmenians.com, “It’s true that in order for a political movement to succeed it must include the students and young adults who care about the future of their country. Armenian American students are proud of the youth in Armenia for instilling new hope and a desire to change in all of the Armenian people around the world. We want them to know that they are not alone. We stand with them and we’re proud to be Armenian because of them. The resilience of the Armenian people has inspired us and I hope this letter is but one of many steps taken to bridge the gap that exists between the diaspora and Armenia,” Sarkisyan said.

The letter goes on to state: “As students of the diaspora, we have the unique privilege to observe the unfolding events through a non-partisan lens and for this reason, can amplify the voices of our fellow student activists in Hayastan adding to their momentum,” reads another part of the letter. “We aim to be a uniting force that will empower the Armenian people to continue to set an example of a nonviolent, yet effective democratization movement.’

Read the letter in its entirety below.

***

To the people of The Republic of Armenia:

We, as representatives of Armenian Student Associations across the United States, would like to express our solidarity with the student-driven democratization movement in the Republic of Armenia. As members of a new generation in the diaspora, we stand with our Armenian counterparts in their quest to combat corruption and ensure democratic governance.

We believe that the unbounded corruption of the undemocratically elected elite has directly led to the stunted growth and development in our homeland. However, we are hopeful and confident that this is the dawn of a major turning point for Armenia.

Though there is reason to celebrate the resignation of Serge Sarkisian as a victory, the struggle for a democratic transition continues. It is time for us, as the Diasporan community, to unite and acknowledge the grievances of the Armenian people and back the nascent democratization movement.

As students of the Diaspora, we have the unique privilege to observe the unfolding events through a non-partisan lens and for this reason, can amplify the voices of our fellow student activists in Hayastan adding to their momentum. We aim to be a uniting force that will empower the Armenian people to continue to set an example of a nonviolent, yet effective democratization movement.

We seek to join the likes of the Armenian Diaspora around the world who have stood with our brothers and sisters. We believe we must strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between the diaspora and citizens of the Republic of Armenia in aiding Armenia’s democratic transition.

We encourage the adoption of democratic electoral processes in Armenia and support a fair, democratic transition. We reject the legitimacy of any election that is carried out via bribery, coercion, or any form of electoral fraud. As such, we also support you in your rejection of the Republican Party of Armenia.

We call on members of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), who currently hold majority seats in Parliament, to uphold their promise and support the election of a people’s prime minister, in order to better represent the voices of the Armenian people, and moreover to be a part of the solution, for the future of their children.

We call on all Armenian Student Association organizations across the U.S. to stand with us against the Republic’s current regime and join the fight for a free and prosperous Armenia.

Getseh ankakh Hayastan! (Long live free Armenia!)

Written by the Armenian Student Associations of Washington, D.C.:

  • Armenian Student Association of American University
  • Armenian Student Association of George Washington University
  • Armenian Student Association of the University of Maryland
  • Armenian Student Association of the University of Virginia
  • Armenian Student Association of Georgetown University

With support from:

  • Armenian Student Association of Michigan State University
  • Armenian Student Association University of Chicago
  • Armenian Student Association Ramapo College
  • Armenian Student Association University of Illinois
  • Armenian Student Association Northeastern University
  • Armenian Student Association Providence College
  • Armenian Student Association University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Armenian Student Association Grand Valley State University
  • Armenian Student Association UC San Diego
  • Armenian Student Association UC Irvine
  • Armenian Student Association UC Riverside
  • Armenian Student Association UC Los Angeles
  • Armenian Student Association California State University of Northridge
  • Armenian Student Association California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Armenian Student Association Santa Monica College
  • Armenian Student Association Tufts University
  • Armenian Student Association Temple University
  • Armenian Student Association Boston University

Other Endorsements:

  • Nina Melkonyan, St. Lawrence University*
  • Ari Alexanian, Purdue University*
  • Armenian Students of George Mason University*
  • Armenian Students of Drexel University*
  • Sophia Yedigarian, Fordham University
  • Armenian Students of St. Louis University
  • Armenian Students of Wayne State University
  • Armenian Students of Brandeis University
  • AEΩ Armenian Fraternity
  • Armenian Students of University of Miami

*Signatories marked with an asterisk (*) are students who chose to sign the letter independent of an official ASA.

If you or your organization would like to be added to the list of endorsements, please e-mail us at dcarmenianstudentassociation@gmail.com.

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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.

Florida Armenians Celebrate 24th Anniversary of Armenia’s Independence in Washington

Janna,-Amb,-TK_crop

Janna Mosinyan, Ambassador Tigran Sargsyan, Taniel Koushakjian

By Taniel Koushakjian
Florida Armenians Managing Editor

On Thursday, October 8, former Florida Armenians Jacksonville reporter Janna Mosinyan and managing editor Taniel Koushakjian attended a reception at the Embassy of Armenia in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 24th anniversary of Armenia’s independence. Over 100 people gathered at the embassy, including government officials from the U.S., Russia, Georgia, Poland, and Kazakhstan.

The reception began with the singing of the Armenian and American national anthems. Armenian Embassy attaché Makar Melikyan welcomed guests in attendance and introduced Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States Tigran Sargsyan. Ambassador Sargsyan gave remarks and recognized special guests in attendance, such as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. State Department John Heffern, Co-Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Ambassador James Warlick, and famous Armenian singer Nune Yesayan.

Ambassador Sargsyan explained why the 24th anniversary of Armenia’s independence is one of the most important dates in Armenia’s recent history. “The Armenian nation survived, the Armenian nation became even stronger and more united. And now, one hundred years later, I stand here in front of you all as the Ambassador of an independent Armenia to the United States and congratulate you on the occasion of the 24th Anniversary of Armenian Statehood,” Sargsyan said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary John Heffern and Taniel Koushakjian

Deputy Assistant Secretary John Heffern and Taniel Koushakjian

Ambassador Sargsyan went on to emphasize the continuous assistance and friendship of the United States. Following his remarks, he introduced DAS Heffern who spoke about his tenure as the United States ambassador to Armenia (2011-2014) and congratulated the Republic of Armenia on its 24th year of independence.

“It was wonderful seeing so many Armenians together, celebrating our independence day,” stated Mosinyan. “I felt proud and honored to be present during this event,” she said.

Following Heffern’s remarks, Ambassador Sargsyan presented medals of honor to two distinguished guests, Mr. Jirair Nishanian and Dr. Levon Avdoyan, on behalf of the President of Armenia. Mr. Nishanian received the Medal of Gratitude, awarded for state, economic, social, scientific-technical, and public activities, as well as for major personal contribution, many years’ devotion, and fruitful activities aimed at promoting the spheres of health, education, and culture. Dr. Levon Avdoyan, Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress, received the Medal of Movses Khorenatsi for outstanding achievements in the spheres of culture, art, literature, education, social sciences, and sports.

“I want to conclude with expressing my confidence that our cause is just and through joint and coordinated efforts we – the citizens of Armenia and our brothers and sisters from Artsakh and from the Diaspora – will succeed in overcoming all the difficulties and challenges and will further strengthen our Motherland,” Ambassador Sargsyan said.