WASHINGTON—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) strengthened the Armenian American community’s spiritual and civic ties to major national and international Christian organizations as a partner of last month’s In Defense of Christians (IDC) national convention in Washington, DC.
The ANCA, as a convention sponsor along with the Philos Project and Institute for Global Engagement, joined in welcoming a bipartisan group of over 50 Members of Congress to this Capitol Hill gathering of faith leaders and religious freedom advocates. The convention’s advocacy agenda featured strong support for a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, a policy priority highlighted during the day devoted to Congressional lobbying and every other aspect of the three day program.
Among the major Christians leaders that ANCA officials consulted with during the convention was Pope Francis’ Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The ANCA, along with Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, thanked Archbishop Pierre for the Pope’s successful visit to Armenia earlier this year and for the Holy Father’s continued work on behalf of Christians in Syria and Iraq. The ANCA also engaged in a positive dialogue with Congressmembers Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson who worked with the ANCA earlier this year to have Congress designate – as a genocide – the crimes being committed by ISIS against Yezidis and other Christians groups in Syria and Iraq.
“We are always proud to partner with In Defense of Christians and welcome every opportunity to renew our hands-on cooperation with effective legislative leaders like Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jeff Fortenberry,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We are, more broadly, gratified to see the fruits of our shared struggle – shoulder to shoulder with all our faith-based sisters and brothers – toward a more constructive U.S. approach to protecting Christians and preserving religious diversity across the Middle East.”
The ANCA’s participation in the convention featured leaders from across the United States, including national chairman Raffi Hamparian and Board Member Aida Dimejian, joined by longtime ANCA advocate Armen Martin. Dimejian took part in a program in the prestigious Congressional Auditorium, featuring remarks by dozens of legislators, offering a formal address outlining the ANCA’s principled advocacy for an end to U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and, ultimately, a just international resolution of this crime.
ANCA Executive Director offered remarks during the convention’s opening press conference, held in the National Press Club. Legislative Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian presented the Armenian American advocacy agenda – including support for the Armenian Genocide Truth + Justice Resolution (H.Res.154) – during a briefing in the historic Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. ANCA Eastern Region’s Armen Sahakyan represented Armenian Americans during the Policy and Awareness Symposium, held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
ANCA remarks, along with those of over 20 U.S. Senate and House members, are available in the ANCA video gallery at: anca.org/anca-defense-christians-convention-2016
The IDC National Convention was entitled, “Beyond Genocide: Preserving the Future of Christianity in the Middle East” – a theme consistent with the ANCA’s pivot from recognition to reparations and ultimately to a return of Armenians to their homeland.
Elected officials joining Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) at the IDC Conference included: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Daniel Donovan (R-NY), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Andy Harris (R-MD), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Steve King (R-IA), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Robert Pittenger (R-NC), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Michael Pompeo (R-KS), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), David Trott (R-MI), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Randy Weber (R-TX), and Robert Wittman (R-VA).
For more information about IDC, visit: indefenseofchristians.org