Schiff Shares Insights on Armenia Visit With ANCA Interns

WASHINGTON–Long-time advocate of Armenian American issues, Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-29), reflected on his recent trip to Armenia with Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and Armenian Assembly interns as part of their summer training program in the nation’s capital. Representative Schiff emphasized his continued dedication to issues of community concern, including formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide, ending the Turkish blockade of Armenia, as well as finding a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The 29th district of California has one of the largest Armenian-American constituencies in the United States. Although an electedofficial’s role is primarily to represent his/her constituents, Rep. Schiff made it clear that his introduction of and continued support for H.R.106, the Armenian Genocide Bill, is much more than just an issue of constituent representation.

"If the only reason to support the Armenian Genocide bill was having Armenian constituents, then there would only be about a dozen cosponsors," asserted Rep. Schiff. "How do you explain the other 212 cosponsors of the bill?"

Glendale resident and ANCA Summer Associate, Arbi Vartan, was among those present at the meeting with Rep. Schiff. Vartan thanked Rep. Schiff for his steadfast support of Armenian issues and applauded his unyielding dedication to fundamental human rights values. "Congressman Schiff is a champion of the Armenian-American community, and I am delighted to have him represent me in Congress," affirmed Vartan. "His most recent trip to Armenia is just one more example of his pro-active approach to politics."

During his trip to Armenia, Schiff met with President of Armenia Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to strengthen the friendship between the United States and Armenia and discuss issues of mutual interest.

Congressman Schiff’s relationship with the Armenian community traces back to his experiences interning with Raffi Hovanessian, who would later serve as Armenia’s Foreign Minister, in former Representative Nicholas James Mavroules’ (D-MA) office. Since his election to office in 2000, Rep. Schiff has taken a leading role in successive Armenian Genocide resolutions, including the passage of an amendment to the foreign aid bill in 2004 that would block the use of U.S. funds for Turkey’s genocide denial campaign in the United States. On multiple occasions, he has confronted State Department officials on their flawed policy of complicity with Turkey’s genocide denial. He is lead author of the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res.106), which garnered over 200 cosponsors and was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a vote of 27 to 21, despite unprecedented opposition from the White House.

Arbi Vartan is in Washington, DC, participating in the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program, an eight-week intensive program designed to give student leaders and activists the tools necessary to effectively advance Armenian American concerns on campus and in their communities. It is an integral part of the ANCA Capital Gateway program, a year-round internship / job placement service which provides Armenian Americans greater opportunities to explore careers on Capitol Hill, in the U.S. Foreign Service and key Washington, DC foreign policy think tanks.

To learn more about the ANCA Capital Gateway Program, visit: http://www.anca.org/gateway/gateway_overview.php

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