WASHINGTON–Interns with the Armenian National Committee of America and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) joined with Greek-Americans on Capitol Hill, this week, in a candid discussion about Congressional life with Freshman Democrats, Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3) and Rep. Zach Space (OH-18).
The July 11 round-table discussion, held at the Veterans Affairs Committee room on Capitol Hill, was organized by the Next Generation Initiative, a Greek-American group sponsoring a series of Capitol Hill lectures for student interns. The two-hour informal meeting with Reps. Sarbanes and Space, both of Greek descent, gave interns the rare opportunity to discover first-hand the challenges facing freshman Congressmen, from dealing with key policy concerns to the basics of getting accustomed to Capitol Hill life.
“Representatives Sarbanes and Space offered great insight into the inner-workings of Congress as freshman members, six months into their first term,” said ANCA Legislative Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian. “Attendees left with a better understanding of the daily life of a Representative, and were inspired to follow in their footsteps of public service in the future.”
The Representatives explained the important elemen’s that go into making foreign and domestic policy decisions. They went on to give personal stories about adjusting to the Capitol Hill rules and the mechanics of being an effective House member. Interns asked a variety of questions ranging from the Representatives’ personal experiences in office, to foreign policy issues including U.S. relations with Cyprus and U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Both Representatives are cosponsors of H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide resolution.
"I have great respect for Representatives Sarbanes and Space for not only lending their support for key human rights legislation, like H.Res.106, but also for being an active voice in encouraging their fellow colleagues on Capitol Hill to cosponsor the resolution,” said intern Paul Ternamian. “Both Representatives were very approachable following our meeting to answer any questions and provided important insight into the everyday life of a Congressman."
Earlier this year, Rep. Sarbanes, son of long time Maryland Senator and champion of Armenian American issues Paul Sarbanes, participated in the ANCA and Genocide Intervention Network sponsored “End the Cycle of Genocide – Grassroots Capitol Campaign,” an effort designed to urge Members of Congress to pass Armenian Genocide legislation (H. Res.106/S. Res.106), support targeted Sudan Divestment legislation (S.831), and ensure proper funding for peacekeeping to help stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Both Representatives Sarbanes and Space are members of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus. Rep. Space also recently joined the Congressional Armenian Caucus.
The ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program, now in its 23rd year, is an eight week intensive program designed to give 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: http://www.anca.org/gateway/gateway_overview.php