WASHINGTON–During the height of April’s Armenian Genocide commemorative events in the Nation’s capital, recent college graduate David Vahe Abrahamian of Burbank, CA became the latest to join the Armenian National Committee of America Capital Gateway Program, designed to open internship and career doors for young Armenian Americans seeking to make their mark in American politics, the media, or the think tank scene. Abrahamian’s participation in the program was made possible through the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fellowship, a special fund established for young Armenia’s seeking opportunities in politics and public service.
After receiving a double Bachelor’s in History and Political Science from UCLA in the Fall of 2007, Abrahamian chose to apply for the Capital Gateway Program and explore career opportunities in Congress. He was informed of the program through a classmate of his at UCLA and felt it was a perfect way of gaining first-hand experience following his graduation.
"I decided to come to DC as an extension of my political interests," said Abrahamian. "My goal is to find a position working on foreign policy matters within a Congressional office."
Within a week of his arrival, Abrahamian secured an internship with Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA). In addition to learning directly about how a House office functions, he has attended numerous Congressional hearings and helped develop queries for the Congressman. He has also worked with constituents on numerous legislative issues.
"The environment in Congressman Costa’s office has been wonderful," says Abrahamian. "They’ve given me the ability to delve into foreign relations issues and learn how policy is formulated on a daily basis."
Prior to arriving in DC, Abrahamian had concentrated on Armenian studies courses at UCLA and even recorded the testimony of Genocide survivors as part of Richard Hovannisian’s Armenian Oral History Project. He has also served as a staff editor and writer for the UCLA student-run paper The Armenian Chronicles.
He has since increased his involvement in Armenian affairs by interning at the ANCA’s National Headquarters. With the various Armenian Genocide commemorative activities taking place in Washington in the month of April, Abrahamian had the opportunity to serve as a volunteer at numerous community functions, including the April 23 Armenian Genocide Observance on Capitol Hill hosted by the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.
Abrahamian joins a long list of past and present Gateway Fellows who have found positions in public policy in Washington, including fellow Spring 2008 participant Talar Shekherdimian. After interning for Rep. Grace Napolitano’s (D-CA) office, Shekherdimian recently secured a paralegal position with the law firm Cohen & Cohen, PC.
The Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fellowship is named in honor Hovig Saghdejian, a 23-year old youth leader from Fresno, CA, who tragically passed away in 2004. His family established the fund to serve as a tribute to the their son’s legacy of activism in the Armenian American community.
For more information about the Capital Gateway Program, prospective candidates can visit www.anca.org and click on the "Capital Gateway" link or call (202) 775-1918 and ask for Serouj Aprahamian. Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2008 season.