PALM SPRINGS–The Armenian National Committee-Western Region and the Foundation for Economic Development (FED) participated in the semi-annual California Republican Party convention this past weekend in Palm Springs. ANC-WR Community Relations Director, Haig Hovsepian was joined by community activists William Bairamian, Marie Ghanime, and Savada Simounian-Khygani to help raise awareness about Armenian American issues ‘s particularly ANC efforts to raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide and promote Armenian American civic engagement. Johnny Nalbandian, Executive Director of the Foundation for Economic Development, attended the convention and discussed the growing economic relationship between California and Armenia.
The convention was abuzz with promotional efforts by several 2008 presidential candidates. Teams representing former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former MA Governor Mitt Romney, US Representative Ron Paul, and recently announced candidate, former US Senator Fred Thompson all worked the convention crowd. Presidential candidate and US Senator, John McCain also addressed the convention during a Saturday afternoon luncheon. Bairamian, Ghanime, Simounian-Khygani, and Nalbandian attended the luncheon to urge Senator McCain to heed California Armenian community concerns ‘s particularly with regard to the current Armenian Genocide resolution in the US Senate and growing US-Armenia relations.
“It was great to be at the convention this weekend with our friends from the ANC-WR and educate the Republican faithful about untapped potential of California-Armenia trade relations,” said Nalbandian. “It was particularly heartening to hear McCain refer to Armenia’s as his %u218favorite merchants’ when we met. US- as well as California-Armenia relations should be a priority for all presidential candidates.”
The event also featured appearances by CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as several state legislators including CA Assembly Member Mimi Walters, with whom the ANC of Orange County met earlier this month. The convention was the first major ANC-related activity that Bairamian, Ghanime, and Simounian-Khygani attended. The three recently started the 2007 Autumn Session of the ANC-WR Internship-Externship Program.
“As always, the ANC-WR looks forward to this opportunity to reach out to California Republicans,” said Hovsepian. “With the California presidential primaries moved up, candidates would do well to come out strongly in support of issues important to the large Armenian American community in the state. With the ANC-WR at the convention, we help ensure they have the chance to become better acquainted with these issues.”