The Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region will bestow the prestigious Freedom Award to Artsakh Foreign Minister David Babayan for his lifelong dedication to the rights of the Armenians of Artsakh and his diplomatic efforts to defend Artsakh’s sovereignty and secure the release of Armenian civilians and soldiers being held as prisoners of war, hostages and detainees by the tyrannical regime in Baku.
Before receiving the Freedom Award at the 2022 ANCA-WR Awards Gala, which will take place on Sunday, September 25 at The Beverly Hilton, Babayan will headline the ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference as the keynote speaker on Saturday, September 24. The Conference, which will be held at The Sheraton Universal Hotel, will feature panels on preventing cultural genocide, promoting international justice and formulating strategies to bring the voices of the Diaspora into the growing discourse on Artsakh.
Babayan’s presence will be an opportunity for members of the Armenian American community to engage with a man who has stood on the frontlines in defense of human rights for decades.
Babayan will head a delegation to the United States at the invitation of the ANCA-WR, which is dedicating this year’s Hye Tahd weekend to Artsakh. In addition to the ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference and Banquet in Los Angeles, Babayan’s itinerary will include meetings with local, state and federal officials, think tanks, academic and policy institutions, community representatives and the press, with the aim of raising awareness about the increasing tensions in the Republic of Artsakh and the threat posed to Armenia’s sovereignty.
“The ANCA-WR is proud to host Foreign Minister David Babayan and his delegation on an official visit to the United States as we honor his devotion to defending the liberty and human rights of the people of Artsakh,” said ANCA-WR Chair, Nora Hovsepian Esq. “His participation in our 2022 Grassroots Conference will add a new layer of insight and we are privileged to provide him with multiple opportunities to educate the American public and policymakers about his ongoing efforts to enforce international law in order to protect Artsakh and the Armenian people.”
As the Armenian Homeland faces an existential threat due to ongoing Azerbaijani aggression, Babayan’s service in Artsakh’s government and his extensive knowledge of the geopolitical landscape of the region will create an invaluable opportunity to engage with the Armenian American community and American policymakers for the benefit of the Armenian Nation.
In 2021, Babayan appealed to multiple international organizations including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE Minsk Group to demand the release of Armenian civilians and soldiers being illegally held captive as prisoners of war in Azerbaijan. His thoughtful letters reflected that the actions of the Azeri government were a direct violation of Article 4 of the Geneva Convention and that their holding and treatment of prisoners was a gross violation of international law.
As a diplomat and legal scholar, Babayan has penned hundreds of articles on the plight of Armenians in Artsakh and the need for international recognition and intervention in the name of human rights. He has also published reports on the Karabakh-Azerbaijan negotiation processes. Determined to extend a hand in order to embrace and empower Armenians from across the Diaspora to understand the importance of defending Artsakh’s democratic future, Babayan will discuss his experiences during and in the wake of the 44 Day War and the next steps needed to preserve the security of Armenians in Artsakh for years to come.
Babayan was born in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh. He was appointed foreign minister of the republic for a second time in January 2021, prior to which was Artsakh’s presidential spokesperson since 2007. He also served as an adviser to the president of Artsakh from 2005 to 2007. He is the founding leader of the “Artsakh Conservative Party.”
Babayan received a degree in economics from Armenia’s National Institute of Economy, after which earned Master’s degrees from the American University of Armenia and the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He received his doctorate in history from the Oriental Studies Institute of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences.
Before arriving in California, Babayan will visit Washington where he will meet with Congressional leaders and take part in various events.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.