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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.

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

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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.

Florida Armenians Meets With Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Washington

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Taniel Koushakjian, Serzh Sargsyan, Bryan Ardouny

Last week, Florida Armenians Managing Editor Taniel Koushakjian sat down with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during his trip to Washington, D.C. Sargsyan travelled to the U.S. to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City where he delivered an impassioned speech about the need for international condemnation of Azerbaijan military attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh that has recently claimed several lives, including three Armenian female civilians, in the last few weeks.

From New York, President Sargsyan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, Presidential Chief of Staff Vigen Sargsyan, and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tigran Sargsyan, travelled to Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings with Armenian American community leaders. Koushakjian shared with Sargsyan activities of the Armenian community in Florida marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Koushakjian explained that Florida is one of 43 states that has acknowledged the 1915 Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey, which was last proclaimed by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2006. Although Florida recognizes the Armenian Genocide, it does not have an official curriculum mandated by the state to teach the Armenian Genocide. Sargsyan inquired if the presidential candidate was aware of his strong record on the Armenian Genocide, which Koushakjian assured him was the case.

In that regard, Koushakjian talked about efforts by Florida Armenians and the Armenian Assembly of America to advance Armenian Genocide education in the Sunshine State despite lack of a state mandate. For instance, in April of this year Koushakjian presented an Armenian Genocide exhibit entitled “Iconic Images of the Armenian Genocide” at the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida (HMSWFL). In the lead up to the presentation, the Turkish Consulate in Miami wrote a threatening letter to the HMSWL objecting to the presentation and demanding it be canceled. Koushakjian explained to Sargsyan that Armenian Genocide denial exists around almost every street corner in America and that grassroots efforts promoting genocide education are vital to ensuring a future free of mass atrocities.

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Taniel Koushakjian meets Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan

In addition, Koushakjian thanked Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian for his efforts to confront and assist with the Syrian refugee crisis. To date, Armenia has absorbed close to 20,000 refugees, the majority of which are the most vulnerable communities: Armenians, Assyrians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities. In addition to Armenian government efforts, Nalbandian has raised the cause of the Syrian peoples’ plight to the international community on several occasions this year alone. Koushakjian informed Nalbandian that Florida Armenians would do everything they can to inform the American public that Armenia is the last Christian safe haven in the Middle East.

In the afternoon, the Florida Armenians attended a luncheon on Capitol Hill hosted by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) and the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues in honor of President Sargsyan. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) gave remarks and introduced President Sargsyan. “For years, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has been a leading voice promoting awareness of the Holocaust and other genocides throughout history, and the Foundation has called upon all of us to have the courage to stand against such despicable brutality in the future,” stated Chairman Royce. “As the leader of a people who survived the first genocide of the twentieth century, President Sargsyan is well aware of the need for that courage. We must continue to speak the truth about the Armenian Genocide and learn its bitter lessons in order to help others who are targeted,” Royce said.

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Taniel Koushakjian and Serzh Sargsyan on Capitol Hill

The luncheon featured remarks by special guest Robert M. Morgenthau, grandson of U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, who received an award from IRWF Chairman Eduardo Eurnekian and co-founder Baruch Tanembaum for his efforts advancing Armenian Genocide recognition.

On Thursday, October 1, President Sargsyan concluded his visit to Washington with a presentation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.