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Nagorno Karabakh Representative Visits Florida International University

MIAMI, FL – On his first official visit to South Florida, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan gave a lecture at Florida International University (FIU) earlier this month. Students and professors of the FIU International Relations and Political Science Departments attended the event. Several FIU Armenian students were also on hand.

“It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Avetisyan in South Florida and welcome him to Florida International University (FIU) to discuss further development of Artsakh’s recognition and raising awareness of investment opportunities in Artsakh Republic,” stated FIU graduate student and FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan. “I believe that at FIU, and other universities across North America, it is essential to educate the public about Artsakh’s democratic progress and self-determination,” Shahbazyan said.

[READ: Florida Armenians Host Economic Roundtable Discussion on Nagorno Karabakh in Miami]

During the lecture, Mr. Avetisyan briefed guests on the history of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict, the current situation in the settlement process, as well as regional developments.

FIU International Relations students with Mr. Avetisyan

At the end of the meeting, the Artsakh Representative answered numerous questions of the lecturers and students related to the peaceful settlement of the conflict, the international recognition of Artsakh, and the state-building process.

FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, Artsakh Representative Robert Avetisyan, FIU Professor Alex Barder, FLArmenians Founder Taniel Koushakjian beneath the Artsakh Republic flag.

During his time at FIU, Mr. Avetisyan visited the flags of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia, which are prominently displayed at the FIU Graham Center on campus.

[READ: Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh Flags Raised at Florida International University]

FIU Professor Misak Sargsian, Artsakh Representative Robert Avetisyan, FLArmenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, and FLArmenians Founder Taniel Koushakjian on the campus of FIU.

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Miami Armenian Student Clubs Bleed Red, Blue, and Orange

UM-FIU ASA Mtg_crop

Gevorg Shahbazyan, President, FIU-AASO; Mercedes Gechidjian, President, UM-ASA; Todd Avedian, NOVA; Mishela Gevorkian, UM-ASA; Arman Shahbazyan, FIU-AASO; and Guadalupe Gechidjian, UM-ASA. Photograph credit Ashot Mamyan.

By Mercedes Gechidjian
FLArmenians Miami Contributor

Hollywood, FL— On Sunday, September 20, several representatives of the Armenian Student Association (ASA) of the University of Miami (UM), the Armenian American Student Organization (AASO) of Florida International University (FIU), and NOVA Southeastern University, had the opportunity to meet at the Armenian Independence Day picnic hosted by St. Mary Armenian Church.

Following Church service, and after indulging in delicious kebabs and barbecued meats prepared by the St. Mary Men’s Club, the UM-ASA and FIU-AASO members met and discussed future plans, potential for joint events, and aspirations for their clubs this academic year and beyond. Ms. Mercedes Gechidjian, President of the UM-ASA, and Florida Armenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, also President of FIU-AASO, discussed the idea of cooperation between the two clubs to bring awareness of Armenian life and culture in Miami.

However, it was not just a business meeting for the members of the Armenian clubs. Social events such as joint dinners, beach days, and movie nights were also explored. “I think that by strengthening our friendship and planning ‘non-business’ hang outs with FIU-AASO we will be able to work as a family,” said Mishela Gevorkian, a graduate student at the University of Miami and member of the UM-ASA. Arman Shahbazyan, an active member of FIU-AASO, was extremely happy to meet more young Armenians in South Florida. “Living in Miami, it’s a little hard given the size of our community here. So when you have the opportunity to meet new Armenians, you just become happy. We had a very productive day and I’m looking forward to future joint activities,” said Shahbazyan.

Both clubs are relatively new but, since their establishment, have caught the attention of their respective student bodies and Armenian communities around the world. It is wonderful to see the next generation of Florida Armenians promoting our culture, our traditions, and our language amid their peers, as they help grow and expand the Armenian American community in South Florida.

South Florida Armenian Students Participate in Summer Internships

By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Managing Editor

Instead of taking the summer off, five South Florida Armenian students are working in a variety of industries to advance their careers. From finance to international relations to law, Florida’s Armenian American youth are growing fast and branching out across America.

Mariam Grigoryan

Mariam Grigoryan

Mariam Grigoryan, a Boca Raton native and senior at the University of Florida (UF), is currently a legal intern in the Broward County Public Defender office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Under the director of Public Defender Howard Finkelstein Grigoryan’s work will focus on indigent defense. Grigoryan looks to graduate with a double major in Political Science and Criminology, as well as a minor in Business Administration. She plans to attend law school in the fall of 2015.

Gevork Sarkisian

Gevork Sarkisian

Boca Raton resident and Queens, New York native, Gevork Sarkisian, is also pursuing his career in the legal field. A second year law student at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Sarkisian is currently interning with the law firm Kanner and Pintaluga, P.A. in Delray Beach, Florida. Sarkisian received his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Following his internship, Sarkisian plans to visit Washington, DC to “explore new opportunities in the legal field,” he said.

Carine Kazandjian

Carine Kazandjian

Palm Beach County native Carine Kazandjian, a communications major and commercial music minor at FAU, is spending her summer interning with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Company in West Palm Beach, Florida. The FAU junior has a passion for music and has even released a few songs of her own, available on ITunes. “I am gaining so much knowledge working with the different departments whether it is radio or promotions. The music industry is mainly what I want my future in and this internship is giving me the opportunity to learn more and more each day,” Kazandjian said.

Sarine Kazandjian

Sarine Kazandjian

Meanwhile, her twin sister, Sarine Kazandjian, is currently interning at Morgan Stanley’s Palm Beach Gardens office. A finance major with a minor focus in entrepreneurship, Kazandjian is a junior at the University of Florida.

Florida International University (FIU) junior Gevorg Shahbazyan is currently an intern in the office of the Nagorno Karabakh Representative in Washington, DC as a participant in the Armenian Assembly of America’s Terjenian-Thomas Summer Internship Program, the first student internship program offered by an Armenian organization in America. Recently, Shabazyan worked with his fellow students and FIU faculty to have the flags of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh raised in the school’s atrium. Hailing from Yerevan, Armenia, Shahbazyan studies international relations and hopes to continue his studies in graduate school and someday be a diplomat.

Gevorg Shahbazyan with Nagorno Karabakh Representative Robert Avetisyan

Gevorg Shahbazyan with Nagorno Karabakh Representative Robert Avetisyan

These young, bright, rising stars of the South Florida Armenian American community are sure to impress their friends and colleagues, while representing our community proudly in all their endeavors.