Ambassador Evans Calls for Passage of Armenian Genocide Bill

SAN FRANCISCO–Ambassador John Evans, the most recent US Ambassador to Armenia, called on the US Congress to pass the Armenian Genocide resolution. Evans addressed a capacity crowd of over 400 guests gathered in San Francisco for the Bay Area Armenian National Committee’s annual Hai Tahd Evening banquet on March 10, 2007. Members of the Armenian National Committee of America — Western Region (ANCA-WR) also joined the Bay Area ANC to honor Ambassador John Evans. Evans was prematurely recalled from his post and dismissed because of remarks he made while visiting California in 2005 regarding his open acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. His remarks were furiously protested at the time by the Government of Turkey which pressured the US State Department to dismiss Amb. Evans from his post in Armenia. In his speech at the ANC banquet, Ambassador Evans discussed the book he will be writing about the Genocide issue and explained how he came to embrace the importance of the issue of addressing US policy on the Armenian Genocide, stating "I do believe that in the long run, my stance in support of recognition, will be vindicated, if not this Spring, then at least by this Congress." He continued later to state "The Armenian Genocide should be recognized as such by this Congress." Evans also highlighted the importance of genocide recognition efforts by the community. "those of you who’ve devoted hours of your days, years of your lives, fighting for recognition for what happened to your forebears. I stand here tonight in admiration of all of you. I salute you tonight, and I also thank you for your efforts on my behalf, when it seemed to you as if I was being done an injustice." Prior to Ambassador Evans’ remarks, the program featured remarks from Bay Area ANC Chairwoman Roxanne Makasjian who highlighted the many important milestones achieved by the Bay Area ANC in the past year and the importance of maintaining community activism. Also addressing the audience was ANCA-WR Board member Steve Dadaian and ANCA Communications Director Elizabeth Chouldjian who introduced the Ambassador. In his remarks, Dadaian said: "It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog — and this dog’s got a lot of fight in it," stated Dadaian in reference to the power of grassroots activism and the community. Dadaian applauded the Bay Area ANC on its local work and sited as an example how the Bay Area ANC has secured 15 of 17 possible Representatives as cosponsors of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in Congress. Elizabeth Chouldjian, ANCA Communications Director introduced Ambassador John Evans. In her opening remarks she described the ANCA’s key role in defending Amb. Evans’ courage to speak openly about the Armenian Genocide. "Our message to the State Department is clear–come clean on the firing of Ambassador Evans, withdraw the Hoagland nomination, and end the shameless pandering to the Turkish Government," stated Chouldjian. "And if the State Department doesn’t have the guts to stand by one of its own, to honor the man who tried to bring dignity and morality to American foreign policy, then the ANC and Armenian American community will." Andrew Kzirian, Executive Director of the ANCA-WR and Haig Hovsepian, Community Relations Director of the ANCA-WR also traveled to San Francisco to join fellow ANC activists and colleagues in honoring Evans and to help continue building the ANCA-WR’s grassroots network.

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