WASHINGTON–A summer of intense grassroots activism and political training came to an end this week as the 2008 Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) “Leo Sarkisian” summer interns returned to their campuses and communities, energized to put their enhanced skills to work in advancing Armenian American advocacy priorities.
This year’s participants gathered from across the U.S., Canada, and as far away as Argentina to work in the ANCA national headquarters and gain first-hand Armenian American advocacy training in the heart of Washington, D.C
“Having such a diverse group of motivated and intelligent young activists, each with different backgrounds and experiences, really added to the richness of this year’s internship experience,” said Internship Coordinator Serouj Aprahamian. “I think they’ve gained a lot, not only from working in the office but also from one another and I’m sure they will go on to be true torchbearers for our
Cause well into the future.”
As in years past, each intern was assigned a specially tailored project geared toward enhancing the ANCA’s efforts and strengthening their advocacy skill-set. The internship group also took part in a comprehensive lecture series featuring such highly acclaimed speakers as Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tatoul Markarian, Senior Council to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee Dean Shahinian, as well as ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian and former ARF Bureau member Garo Armenian.
Participants were also given the opportunity to attend a number of foreign policy and human rights briefings on Capitol Hill, including the testimony of US Undersecretary of State Dan Fried on American policy toward Armenia and the nomination hearings for the newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Yerevan, Marie Yovanovitch.
Throughout this whirlwind of Hai Tahd education, training and activity, each participant gained a broader understanding of the factors at play when it comes to Armenia and the advancement of Armenian American issues. They also walked away with a variety of newly gained skills ranging from conducting in-depth research, to working with the media, meeting with representative officials and even engaging in international diplomacy.
Named in honor and memory of pioneering ANCA activist Leo Sarkisian, this eight-week intensive program, now in its 24th year, gives 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:www.anca.org.