DAMASCUS (Armenian Weekly)—Two Armenians, Dr. Nora Arissian and Jirair Reisian, entered Syria’s 250-seat parliament following elections for the Syrian People’s Assembly on April 13. Arissian, who ran as an independent from the Damascus governorate, became the first Syrian-Armenian woman member of the Syrian Parliament, reported Perio News. Aleppo-Armenian community leader Jirair Reisian was elected to the assembly from Aleppo. The election results were made public on April 16.
Arissian has played an active role in the Syrian and Syrian-Armenian reality, and has long been an advocate of the Armenian cause. Arissian has served as translator at the Syrian Presidential Palace. She holds a Ph.D. in modern history from the Institute of Oriental Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia; her focus was the Armenian Genocide as documented in Syrian sources. Arissian served as secretary, chief of staff, and interpreter at Armenia’s Embassy in Syria from 1992-2006. Since 2005, she has worked as a lecturer at Damascus University, and has served as the chair of the Armenian studies department since 2013. She worked as translator and adviser at the Syrian Ministry of Culture from 2010-13. She is the editor of Aztag Arabic, an online publication. In 2007, she became the first Armenian woman member of the Arab Writers’ Union in Damascus.
Arissian has been widely recognized for her achievements, and was awarded the Armenian Presidential “Movses Khorenatsi” Medal in 2012 and the Ministry of Diaspora’s “William Saroyan” Medal in 2011.
Reisian, who has been an active member of the Armenian community in Syria, was the candidate endorsed by the Armenian organizations, reported the Aleppo-based Kantsasar. A longtime educator and advocate for the Armenian cause, Reisian serves as the spokesperson of the Armenian Prelacy in Aleppo. He has been the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Syria for several years. Reisian also served as the principal of the Armenian Sahagian School in Aleppo.
In an interview with Kantsasar ahead of the elections, Reisian said that in the current situation the Syrian people have two expectations from the new parliament: the healing and revival of the country, and the implementation of reforms that will lead to a bright future for Syria.