Alumni Praise Innovative 3-Day Washington, DC Youth Empowerment Program; Application Deadline extended to February 7
WASHINGTON—Armenian American university students have two more weeks to apply for the Armenian National Committee of America’s “Rising Leaders: Career Development and Civic Education” Program, which will introduce young Armenians Washington, DC’s advocacy, policy, politics, and media opportunities through a unique 3-day immersion program.
The ANCA is offering two participation options—March 6 to 8 and March 13 to 15t—to coincide with the two major Spring Break timelines at most universities. The top 25 applicants, based on academic excellence and proven community youth leadership, will be chosen for each session. Applications and additional information are available on the event’s website. Students who are chosen for the program have two participation options – one that offers housing for the three-day program ($100) and the other which includes program fees alone ($25). Students are responsible for travel to and from Washington, DC. Financial aid will be provided based on need and availability.
“We’re looking forward to working with the top Armenian American university students from across the country who have already applied for our 2022 Rising Leaders programs,” said ANCA Program Director Alex Manoukian. “We’ve extended the application term just two more weeks to ensure students have the opportunity to take advantage of this fun, innovative, and educational program in our nation’s capital.”
ANCA Rising Leaders alumni from the 2019 inaugural year have become enthusiastic advocates for the unique program.
ANCA Eastern Region Communications Specialist Nairi Diratsouian explains, “The ANCA Rising Leaders program provided me with a greater understanding of grassroots advocacy and strengthened my knowledge of Armenian-American policy priorities. Ultimately, it allowed me to understand how I can direct my passion for Hai Tahd [the Armenian Cause] into tangible goals and led me to where I am today.”
Former AYF Western U.S. Central Executive member and Leo Sarkisian Internship alumnus Hakop Hajipekyan notes, “ANCA’s Rising Leaders Program is an incredible opportunity for Armenian American students considering a career in Washington DC. The three-day program provides workshops and seminars where students/participants will get an understanding of the ins and outs of grassroots advocacy and policy-making in our nation’s capital. Not to mention the unfettered access participants will have to a multitude of resources and professionals already working in the field.”
AYF New Jersey “Arsen” Chapter’s Karnie Dishoyan remarked that, “taking part in this program gave me the opportunity to network with Armenian professionals and to promote the Armenian cause on Capitol Hill.”
The ANCA has once again teamed up with the Armenian Youth Federation Eastern and Western U.S. and the Georgetown University Armenian Students Association (Georgetown ASA) in hosting these unique student-focused events, generously supported by Dean Shahinian and the family of the late ANCA activist Lucine Kouchakdjian.
The 2022 sessions will begin Sunday with a full day of interactive presentations by the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program Advisory Committee focusing on career search fundamentals, from resume preparation and networking 101 to an overview of the Washington, DC internship and job market. Monday activities will include meetings with policy, political and media professionals, including current and former federal agency and Congressional staff, to discuss careers in the nation’s capital. Those will be followed by an extended session with ANCA team members on advancing community priorities on the federal, state, and local levels. The seminar will be capped off with the Lucine Kouchakdjian Capitol Hill Day, a full day of Capitol Hill discussions with Members of Congress and staff on strengthening U.S.-Armenia ties, supporting Artsakh freedom, and securing justice for the Armenian Genocide.
Throughout the program, ample opportunities will be provided to explore Washington, DC, and make new friends.
Over 30 students from top universities and high schools across the U.S. traveled to the nation’s capital to take part in the ANCA’s inaugural Rising Leaders Program in 2019, which was made possible, in large part, through a generous contribution by the Ararat Foundation Shahinian Educational Fund. Longtime ANCA supporter Dean Shahinian is again the major sponsor of this unique youth development program along with the family and friends of Lucine Kouchakdjian.
Dean Shahinian served in the federal government in various capacities for over 30 years, including 16 years at the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, where he worked with Committee Chairs on numerous bills and laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. In the Armenian community, he has served on the boards of St. Nersess Seminary and the Armenian Students Association. He has also served multiple terms on the Diocesan Council of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.
For dozens of years, living in the DC area – in addition to her cultural, education, and charitable work with a broad range of community organizations – Lucine Zadoian Kouchakdjian organized highly effective ANCA campaigns to foster a forward-leaning spirit of civic responsibility among Armenian Americans across the nation’s capital. The Rising Leaders Capitol Hill day was named in memory of her lifetime of service to the Armenian Cause following her passing earlier this year.