GLENDALE–The Armenian National Committee of America-Glendale (ANCA-Glendale) enters the second week of its annual summer internship program. Last week the organization welcomed two young activists to join the selective eight-week summer program. Recent Clark Magnet High School graduate Alen Shirvanyan and incoming high school senior Henri Gurgenyan began the program with the shared goal of becoming better immersed in local Armenian-American advocacy issues, developing their knowledge of Glendale’s governing institutions, and strengthening their leadership skills as they mobilize towards their broader professional and academic pursuits.
“Through the combination of guest lectures, workshops, and independent as well as group projects, the ANCA-Glendale Summer Internship aims to shed light on the importance of participating in local government and advocating for the Armenian Cause while relaying the interns’ experiences to broader Glendale specific issues,” stated internship coordinator Tigranna Zakaryan. “I am very impressed with the level of commitment Alen and Henri have demonstrated thus far and look forward to supporting their leadership development goals.”
The program focuses on giving participants unique experiences such as meeting with elected officials, attending field visit to local media outlets, while developing their leadership goals through initiating an individualized research project based on their personal interests, and engaging in resume and public speaking workshops.
“It has been an awaited goal to work with the ANCA-Glendale and I look forward to all of the learning opportunities that the program will bring as I prepare to begin my college career and develop my interest in political advocacy” stated ANCA-Glendale intern Alen Shirvanyan. Shirvanyan recently began his college career at Glendale Community College with the goal of transferring to the University of California- Berkeley to study political science. Aside from working on local campaigns, he was an active member of Clark Magnet’s Mock Trial Club and in January 2015, earned the “Best Prosecutor in LA County Award.”
Henri Gurgenyan is an incoming Clark Magnet High School senior and also an active member of Mock Trial program in addition to the president of the Model United Nations club, Debate and Public Speaking club, and member of the Associated Student Body. Gurgenyan’s interests combine political science and technology as a tool for community organizing. “I am happy for this opportunity to get better involved in the city I live in and believe this program will give me the direction I need to develop my academic and professional goals as I prepare for my last year of high school” commented Gurgenyan.
Since the start of the program, Shirvanyan and Gurgenyan have received a personal tour of Glendale City Hall and the Glendale Police Department, in addition to meeting with ANCA National and Western Region executive board member Raffi Hamparian to discuss the history of the organization, current Armenian issues within the diaspora and in Armenia, and the future of Armenian-American advocacy pursuits. In the coming weeks, the program will host speakers ranging from local elected officials to representatives from Glendale community-based organizations, and culminate with internship project presentations and externship opportunities.
The ANCA-Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.