LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) announced that Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian will be honored with the 2016 ANCA-WR Legislator of the Year Award in recognition of his unwavering and strong leadership in the California State Legislature and ongoing commitment to passionately defending and advancing issues critical to Armenians worldwide. Nazarian will accept the award at the Gala Banquet on Sunday, October 16 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
“Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian is a true son of the Armenian community and has been a devoted advocate of the Armenian Cause since his days as a student. He has carried his sense of duty with him throughout his political career and has served admirably in the California State Assembly as the torchbearer of issues that are important to all of us, ranging from leading a legislative trip to Armenia and Artsakh, to creating the California Armenian Legislative Caucus, to spearheading Armenian Genocide education in public schools, to introducing legislation for divestment of public funds from Turkish government investment vehicles. We are proud to bestow the 2016 ANCA-Western Region’s Legislator of the Year Award upon Assemblymember Nazarian and look forward to working with him on new successes as he continues to ably serve the people of the State of California,” stated ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian.
“I am honored to be awarded the Legislator of the Year Award by the ANCA-Western Region,” stated Nazarian. “Together, we have honored the sacrifices of our ancestors and embodied the entrepreneurial spirit that has emboldened Armenians to continued success no matter the obstacles. I hope to continue our work in California; creating jobs, upgrading our infrastructure, and ensuring a quality education for our children.”
Nazarian was elected in November 2012 to represent California’s 46th Assembly District, which includes Hollywood Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Universal City, Van Nuys, and Valley Village.
Since entering office, Nazarian has consistently been one of the strongest voices for Armenians and fiercest advocates on many issues, most notably regarding Armenian Genocide education and divestment of state funds from Turkey. As a founding member of the Armenian Legislative Caucus, Nazarian authored and signed into law the Armenian Genocide Education Act (AB 1915) which helped ensure that the Armenian Genocide would be included in the new History-Social Studies curriculum framework adopted by the California State Board of Education.
Throughout the years, Nazarian has continued the tradition of the annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Sacramento and, in marking the 100th Anniversary, took a leadership role in organizing the California State Capitol Centennial events, bringing the “Armenian Journey: From Shattered Past to Prosperity” exhibit to the California State Museum, promoting the inclusion of Armenian Genocide books in the California State Library, and launching a statewide essay competition on the Armenian Genocide.
In 2013, he spearheaded and led the first California delegation trip to Armenia and Artsakh (Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh). The following year, Nazarian played a key role in ensuring passage of AJR 32, recognizing Artsakh’s right to self-determination and independence.
Most recently, Nazarian successfully secured $1 Million in the State’s 2016-2017 Budget for an Armenian-American Museum in Glendale and $500,000 for the LARK Musical Society.
Nazarian has always believed in civic engagement and the importance of giving back to his community. He has served on the boards of several community-based organizations including the East Valley YMCA and the YWCA. Nazarian was one of the founding members of Generation Next Mentorship program, which works with local public schools to give young people alternatives to a life of gangs and drugs.
Since his election, Nazarian has also passionately advocated for increased mass transit in the San Fernando Valley, smarter management of vital water resources through infrastructure improvements, protecting and expanding the film industry, and much-needed earthquake preparedness. Nazarian is Chair of Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration, and sits on the Assembly Committees on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media; Elections and Redistricting; Health; and Transportation.
Prior to being elected, he served as Chief of Staff to Paul Krekorian in both Krekorian’s capacity as Assistant Majority Leader in the California State Legislature and Los Angeles Councilmember. He also served as an aide to Congressman Brad Sherman, participated in the prestigious CORO Fellowship in Public Affairs program, and was appointed as Special Assistant to the California Trade and Commerce Agency by former Governor Gray Davis. Nazarian has played an instrumental role in paving the way for greater activism and political engagement within California’s Armenian American community through his involvement on various Armenian candidates’ campaigns and in mentoring Armenian youth who have since become more involved with the ANCA and/or elections and politics.
Nazarian attended UCLA, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He is a product of the local Armenian community and a proud graduate of Ferrahian Armenian High School. Nazarian and his wife, Diana, live in West Toluca Lake with their sons Alex and David.
The Legislator of the Year Award is one of the highest honors given by our organization, and it is awarded not annually, but rather when the organization recognizes that a state and/or federal legislator has made significant contributions to the Armenian nation and the Armenian Cause. In the last month, the organization also announced that it will honor California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson with the Man of the Year Award and Varoujan Koundkajian posthumously with the Legacy Award.
The 2016 ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet will be held on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The main event will begin at 4:30p.m. with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction. A three-course dinner will follow at 6:00 p.m. accompanied by a powerful program and presentation of awards.
Past Gala honorees in attendance include United States Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Ed Royce, California Governor Jerry Brown, California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, California Majority Leader Walter Karabian, California Assemblymembers Katcho Achadjian, Paul Krekorian, and Anthony Portantino, Los Angeles Mayors Eric Garcetti and Antonio Villaraigosa, Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh, Archbishop Parkev Martirosyan, rock band System of a Down, and legendary late coach Jerry Tarkanian, among other distinguished honorees.
Individuals interested in attending the Annual Gala Banquet are encouraged to purchase tickets online at www.ancawrgala.org or call (818) 500-1918. To obtain individual or corporate sponsorship information visit www.ancawr.org/gala/sponsorship or call (818) 500-1919. For up to the minute updates on the event follow ANCA Western Region on social media: facebook.com/ANCAWesternRegion, Twitter and Instagram: ANCA_WR
The ANCA-WR Gala Banquet represents the single largest annual gathering of Armenian American public policy leaders throughout the western United States, and is attended by over 1,000 prominent Members of Congress, state legislators and officials, community leaders, and many of the organization’s strongest activists and generous donors from California, Nevada, Arizona, and throughout the western United States.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.