BY NICOLE ARSLANIAN
Throughout my years of attending an Armenian school, I have become aware of the hardships and challenges that stand in the way of the Armenian community — both in our homeland and in the diaspora. Thus, as a member of this united community, I truly believe it is my responsibility to take part in ensuring the well-being of as many people affected by these obstacles. With such efforts in mind, I began to conduct research on different ways I can accomplish my goals and thus stumbled upon the renowned work of the Armenian National Committee of America- Western Region (ANCA-WR). As I learned more about the magnitude of their work and how the ANCA-WR fosters close connections between the Armenian community and politicians from over a dozen states, I understood that it was the ANCA-WR Internship Program that was going to help me reach my ambitions.
On May 29, 2018, I learned that I had been accepted into the intensive 10-week Summer Internship Program that the ANCA-WR holds. Despite the fact that this was only my first step within the sphere of Armenian politics, I knew that it was a meaningful one. As time passed and the first day of the internship neared, my excitement to help conduct such important work greatly increased every day.
Finally, the first day of the internship came, and as the elevator doors opened and I stepped into the office, I was warmly greeted by the staff and the rest of the interns. Following these introductions, the interns and I were taken into an orientation where we met our supervisor and learned more about current work the ANCA-WR is doing — both on a federal and local level. Within our first week, we met politicians, were introduced to staff members working throughout the building, and began helping with the well-known annual gala.
Currently, I am entering my fourth week of the internship and I could not have made a better decision. Within my four weeks here, I have met with several distinguished politicians, such as Congressman Adam Schiff, Montebello Mayor Pro Tem Jack Hadjinian, Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian, Senator Anthony Portantino, and Assemblymember Laura Friedman, and have yet to meet many more. In addition to these meetings, the ANCA-WR program has set workshops with former interns and other members of the community who have taught us valuable skills that I believe will continue to be helpful in future endeavors. Such meetings allow each of us to network and therefore share insight, become more knowledgeable on the many issues currently characterizing the politics, and learn about new branches within legal and political fields.
Even though we are only in our fourth week, I feel like I have learned more than I could have imagined. After completing this internship, I hope to keep the friendships that I have made and continue to apply the skills that I have learned into my career. Through my few weeks here, I confidently believe that the ANCA-WR has followed its motto to “Educate. Motivate. Activate.” through their continuous efforts to involve themselves within the community. In addition, I trust that these efforts will allow me to further my aspirations and accomplish more for the Armenian community.