New Generation of Activists are Born at Annual ANC-WR Banquet

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined by Zareh Kaloustian

LOS ANGELES–When 11 year old Zareh Kaloustian approached his parents last month to ask if he could attend the Armenian National Committee ‘s Western Region’s (ANC-WR) annual banquet, they were not surprised. Zareh had heard that the banquet would be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California and wanted to join his parents at an event slated to honor, among others, U.S. Senator and Vice-President Elect Joseph Biden.

Zareh Kaloustian is a fresh example of a new generation of Armenian American youth who are interested in advancing the Armenian Cause and joining the grassroots efforts of the ANC. Zareh was a student at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian School up until the past year and is presently a 6th grade student at Laurel Hall Junior High School. He is also an active member of Homenetemen, where has taken a special interest in basketball.

"The banquet was a great experience and I would love to attend again next year," said Zareh. "Meeting the Mayor was very exciting and I hope to have more experiences like that in the future," he added.

Similarly, 16 year old Haig Karapetian attended the annual banquet after expressing his interest to support Hai Tahd. A junior at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School, Haig was keen on meeting public officials and as well as seeing first hand their support for the Armenian American community. Having a keen interest in politics Haig has participated in Model United Nations conferences at various universities and high schools for the past three years. During the 2008 election campaign season, Haig paid close attention to candidate’s speeches and debates, and also volunteered at the Democratic Headquarters, encouraging families in the 43rd district to re-elect Paul Krekorian as State Assemblyman.

"I will definitely remember the 2008 ANC banquet for years to come, but one of the most significant momen’s throughout the event was Mayor Villaragosa’s speech and getting to personally meet him," said Haig. "Another highlight was the presentation of the Legacy Award to a great humanitarian and activist in the Armenian community, Ashkhen Pilavjian, whose continual contributions and support has strengthened our schools and organizations," he added.

At the ANC banquet held on October 12, 2008 Zareh and Haig had a chance to meet many of the public officials on hand, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congressmen Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Ed Royce among others.

"The Armenian National Committee takes pride that our positive message of activism and responsible civic engagement is resonating with thousands of young Armenian Americans just like Zareh and Haig," commented ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. "Whether we are reaching young people through YouTube, Facebook or other interactive tools, the ANC is committed to passing the torch of the Armenian Cause to a new generation," he added.

More than 1000 ANC-WR supporters gathered on Sunday October 12, 2008 at the organization’s annual banquet held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California to celebrate the achievemen’s of the past year.

The Armenian National Committee – 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 ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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