AYF Meets with Ambassador Heffern

AYF members with Ambassador Heffern

GLENDALE—Members of the Armenian Youth Federation Western Region on December 8 met with U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern , and USAID Public Private Alliance Specialist, Jeffery Paretchan, in order to discuss critical issues relating to Armenia.

“Much of the influence placed on the Republic of Armenia derives from its strong diaspora. As the leading Armenian youth organization around the world, the AYF has an innate responsibility to habitually assess the social, economic, and political landscape of our homeland, and to take appropriate action in order to create solutions to problems, and to progress the development of our young nation,” explained AYF Executive Director, Stepan Keshishian.

The event was held at Glendale Public Library, and was attended by AYF Central Executive members Avedis Shanlian and Levon Abrahamian, AYF Hollywood Chairperson, Arek Santikian, and AYF Executive Director, Stepan Keshishian. These youth met in a very open and inviting setting with the ambassador, and covered a range of issues, including U.S.-Armenian economic relations and trade, the regional security of Armenia, the Syrian-Armenian situation, the upcoming elections in Armenia, the AYF Youth Corps summer camp program in Armenia, the AYF With Our Soldiers program for providing medical assistance to veterans in Armenia, and other topics.

“This meeting was an opportunity for the Armenian youth to relay their voice and to affirm their interest in issues relating to Armenian and U.S.-Armenian ties, as stakeholders in their homeland,” states Avo Shanlian. “It was an important and highly beneficial first step in establishing a strong working relationship with the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, and we are grateful for their time and for their shared dedication to improving our homeland.”

Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.


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  1. Berge Jololian said:

    Very cute picture. Besides being so grateful to the US State Department Ambassador to Armenia, what else did you discuss?

  2. Stephen T. Dulgarian said:

    Congratulations to the California A.Y.F. for meeting with Ambassador John Hefferen on Armenian Issues. Although many important issues were discussed, I was disapointed that the Armenian Genocide issue was not discussed with the Ambassador. We cannot be silent on this issue and our Genocide must be recognized by the year 2015 for our 100th Anniversary.

  3. GB said:

    Dear Berge, I read your comments in “Hetq online” that was mind blowing article regards US intention toward Armenia!! I was very disappointed with Mr. Ambassador speech!!

    U.S. Ambassador Heffern: ‘Armenia is a long trip to nowhere’

  4. Berge Jololian said:

    For two decades, the US State Department acted in the most counter intuitive manner in its foreign policy towards Armenia. The routine goes something like this:

    Turkey blockades Armenia’s Western frontiers for 20 years, the US State Department puts additional pressure on Armenia to capitulate.

    The International Association of Genocide Scholars repeatedly calls on Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, the US State Department fires its ambassador to Armenia for uttering the word genocide.

    The International Monetary Fund evaluated Armenia’s loses due to Turkey’s hostile border closure at the tune of US $1 billion per year, the US State Department lowers US “aid” to Armenia each year to its now current meager $40 million.

    According to the warped logic of the US State Department foreign policy, if country A (Turkey) closes its borders with country B (Armenia), Protocols are needed to apply pressure on Armenia to open borders.

    If the US State Department does not succeed in convincing Turkey to stop its billions of trade with Iran; then the US State Department flexes its muscles to arm-twist Armenia to stop its economic survival-dependent trade with Iran.

    Extreme Islamic terrorists attack US Embassies in Arab world, the US Embassy in Christian-Armenia goes on high security alert. The US State Department and Europe have done nothing substantive about Turkey’s blockade of Armenia.

    No reason exists, therefore, to believe the West will ever truly press Turkey on that issue. Historically, the US and Europe have done nothing for Armenia as it faced massacres and genocide – betraying and breaking promises and leaving Armenians prey to Turkey.

    Why should Armenians believe the US State Department now?

    Is Ambassador Heffern so confused with the geography of Armenia that he does not see Turkey’s (“a staunch US NATO ally”) genocidal and economic blockade on Armenia’s Western frontiers – that he wants Armenia to look to the West and deepen cooperation with NATO?