The Arab Spring, The Green Revolution in Iran, President Obama’s historic bid for office in 2008 – all are key examples of how the internet can be used as a game-changing social and political tool.
For the record, I am not writing this article on behalf of the ANCA. I am writing this as an individual who has a passion for the Armenian Cause, is eager to become more active in American politics, and wants to reach out to others who share the same interest.
A benefit of being in Washington is to see foreign policy being hashed out first hand – not just in the halls of Congress or the Administration, but at think tank sponsored events, bringing together experts to provide insights on everything from U.S. policy on China to the Middle East or anywhere in the world, for that matter.
Even before arriving in Washington, DC, I knew that calling your Representative’s office to voice your concerns — whether it is on Armenian American issues or any other matter — is a very effective way to to call attention to an issue that you care about.
Let me start off my piece with a disclaimer. I’ve heard for years that “grassroots makes the difference” – seen ANCA videos making the point, heard speeches on the topic – perhaps to the point of cliché. And, for the record, when I get that ANCA email that includes a link to an action alert urging us to contact our Representative in support of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, or self-determination for Karabakh, or aid to Armenia – I click it and send it. It only takes a minute.
They say that time flies especially when you’re keeping busy. Never the same project – always a new challenge. And it’s just one thing – its fifty things. Take for example last Friday. Our program coordinator Garo Manjikian had organized a trip to one of the most beautiful and historic buildings Washington DC has to offer, the Library of Congress.
With the fourth week of our internship program coming to a close, we have grown accustomed to DC’s fast pace lifestyle, a city filled with thousands of interns and the inevitable possibilities of running into Members of Congress and government officials anywhere in the city.
Not all ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship work is done in Washington, DC. The summer offers the opportunity to spread the Hai Tahd message across the U.S. Take, for example, our trip to Providence and Boston this past weekend. The intern team attended the Homenetmen Eastern Region Olympics — supporting the athletes and the organization and having a good time with the friends. But, our main purpose was to spread the word about our latest effort to battle Armenian Genocide denial.
United States Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch’s spoke to the Armenian community of Washington DC at the Library of Congress on June 30. Like every other “town hall” she hosted – her remarks and responses were genial yet disappointing and frustrating.
The nation’s capital moves at an amazing pace — hundreds of foreign and domestic policy issues being addressed simultaneously at record speed. For the ANCA Leo Sarkisian interns, who just recently arrived in Washington DC, this past weekend has been an educational journey.