Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, California 91206
PRESS RELEASE +++ PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: May 14, 2013
Contact: Elen Asatryan
ANCA-WR OPENS APPLICATION PERIOD FOR 2013 SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) announced today the opening of the application period for the ANCA Western Region 2013 Summer Internship Program. Interested individuals may apply online at www.ancawr.org/internship by the June 7, 2013 deadline.
“The ANCA-WR internship provided me with an introduction to the conduct and responsibilities that are expected in the professional work atmosphere and exposed me to the inner workings of politics at the grassroots level. It was a very rewarding experience, and I made lasting friendships with my fellow goal-oriented interns,” stated former ANCA-WR Intern, Aram Hovasapian.
During the 10 week program, interns will gain experience in non-profit management, government affairs, community organizing and education, communication, media, and planning and executing events. In addition to individual and joint projects, interns will participate in workshops featuring a variety of guest speakers including public officials, ANCA leadership, and specialists from the community. In successfully completing all internship program requirements, participants may receive school credit.
Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 23 and be able to dedicate 30 hours per week to the program. The 2013 Summer Session will commence on June 17, 2013 and will run through August 23, 2013. Applications must be submitted electronically by Friday, June 7, 2013, 5:00pm to be considered.
For more information about the 2013 Summer Session of the ANCA Western Region Internship Program, please e-mail the program coordinator at email@example.com or call 818.500.1918.
To read about some of the experiences and reflections of former interns, visit http://ancawr.wordpress.com.
Established in Summer 2006, the ANCA Western Region Internship Program is a selective part-time leadership program, which introduces high school seniors, college students, and recent college graduates to all aspects of the public affairs arena. The program provides an opportunity for student leaders and activists to gain an in-depth understanding of the American political system, Armenian-American issues and advocacy efforts on the local, state and federal levels.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential 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.
By: Christine Feghali
Trying to figure out what to write my final blog post as an ANCA Western Region intern about is difficult, to say the least. There is so much to discuss and too little time to get to it all. During the course of this internship (which I highly recommend to anyone who has a desire to help the Armenian community and is willing to put in the hard work necessary to make a difference) my fellow interns and I have written about topics ranging from the important figures in our history, the importance of speaking Armenian, and the possibility of repatriating to Armenia, to the national dog of Armenia, and the Armenian atheletes in the Olympics.
Over the past eight weeks, we’ve filled these pages with in depth discussion about issues that we deem important to the Armenian community. Rather than making this another heavy blog about some issue of concern, I’d like to take this moment to do what some of the other interns are doing and say thank you.
First and foremost, I want to thank the ANCA for providing me with the opportunity to help my community in a way that I haven’t been able to before. This internship has allowed me to work very closely with members in our community and to actually make a significant, tangible impact. The work that we’ve done is the beginning of something huge and I can’t wait to see the expansion and the further success of our project.
I want to thank our Executive Director, William, for expecting so much out of us both as individuals and as a team. If we didn’t have those expectations placed upon us, we wouldn’t have been as successful as we were and continue to be. If it were not for the several e-mails every single one of us interns undoubtedly received about grammar mistakes, spelling errors, or formatting issues, we wouldn’t have improved. I find myself including both a salutation and a valediction with every single e-mail I send, even if it’s an e-mail to my mom letting her know that I’ll be late, or if it’s a Facebook message to a close friend. All of us interns learned a lesson about professionalism, whether the lesson was to maintain eye contact while speaking or to not fidget in a chair while in a meeting. These are things that we will all carry with us as we leave this internship and go onto whatever is next.
The internship has also given me the opportunity to work with people that I would otherwise not have met. I have been able to build friendships with not only the other interns, but also with some of the staff as well. Honestly, I think I got extremely lucky with this group of interns. I had not anticipated that I would actually like everyone that I would have to work with, but I do. There may have been times when I would disagree with one of the interns and even times where I’ve been extremely frustrated and I let it show. But at the end of the day, the eight of us made a great time and I couldn’t ask for a better group. Thanks guys
I want to extend a huge thank you to all of you for taking time out of your busy lives to read our blogs and engage in thoughtful discussion about the issues raised. It’s very exciting and encouraging to see that the eight of us interns aren’t the only ones that care about these issues and thanks to you, we’ve broken several of this blog’s readership records!
All in all, I will forever be grateful for all the things I learned throughout the course of this internship. It’s truly been an amazing experience and if given the opportunity, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s a lot of work and it can be tiring at times, but it’s worth it.
By: Maria Martirosyan
A pleasant surprised awaited all of the ANCA-WR Executive Intern’s when we took the Hye Votes project to the streets of Little Armenia. The Hye Votes project, which was launched with the goals of getting all eligible Armenian-Americans to become registered voters and participate in elections, has been one of the main focuses of the summer 2012 Executive Interns class. Since the commencement of the internship, all of the interns have put in much effort and work into coordinating and organizing different strategies and methods of registering Armenian individuals of all ages.
However, nothing comes as easy as planned on paper. Attending all 5 days of the Navasartian Games and Festival, the interns expected to register a lot of people, but as it turned out, our optimism was faced with a setback. Going into the event, we all were enthused, and had every reason to be. We would have the chance to try to convince thousands of unregistered voters to register. A goal of a few hundred seemed somewhat humble. However, competing with the blaring music and frenzy of the event, we faced a greater amount of voter apathy then we could have ever expected. Every turn down was a blow to our psyche, but if you were to ask any person we approached, they would have said we seemed unphased. Despite the great voter apathy that we faced, we all were able to keep ourselves level headed enough to continue trying to approach as many people as we could and ultimately registering a good amount of people.
Nevertheless, following such an event, we were hesitant toward starting the next project and worried we would get the same responses. However, despite the fact that we had been discouraged and heartbroken, we were still able to muster the courage to go door to door in Little Armenia. Lucky for us, the effort we put forth was not lost, instead we were pleasantly surprised at the responses we received from the people in Little Armenia. More often than not, most people were very happy to see us as they immediately invited us inside their home to take a seat as they and other family members filled out the voter registration forms. As Armenians are known for their hospitality and their love for Armenian coffee, every house we entered people would offer us Armenian coffee, sweets, fruits, pastries, and even full meals. Naturally, we tried to be as professional as possible in accepting to take a break sometimes, yet each family insists that we eat at least one candy bar and drink a cup of juice and take one more candy bar to go. The interns and I are certain that by the end of this internship, we will have gained at least 15 pounds if not more. In addition, at the end of each visit, people applaud us for our work, express their gratitude, wish us luck, and pass upon us their blessings commending us on our work for the Armenian community.
Going to multiple houses, we had the opportunity to meet and register many different people. We met families and individuals of all walks of life – families who just migrated to the United States, families who have lived and worked for the Armenian Cause, individuals who wanted to get involved, elderly couples, and ill people who nevertheless were willing to register to vote. Among our time canvassing, we had the honor of meeting some very interesting individuals, one of which was a 93-year-old Armenian veteran who fought on 3 different fronts including WWII and the Polish-Soviet war. During our time in his home, he told us of his past and he shared with us his medals and awards as proof of all he has done. This was a very humbling moment for me, as I met someone who had done so much for his people.
Going out and meeting the people in our community reminded us the importance of what we do and working towards the greater good for the Armenian diaspora. Going door to door and educating people on the importance of voting and the process of doing so, is rewarding knowing that they now have the opportunity to participate in the civic duty of voting. The positive feedback we receive from the people is what makes our efforts worthwhile. Our faith was restored in ourselves and our goals following the pleasantly surprising results of our work in Little Armenia. The interns will continue knocking on each door in the Little Armenia making sure every eligible Armenian-American is registered to vote, because your vote is the voice of your community.
Learn more about the Hye Votes initiative!
Register to vote, today!
By: Maria Martirosyan
“A House divided cannot stand” – Abraham Lincoln
As Executive Interns at the Armenian National Committee of America, Western Region office, my fellow interns and I have multiple responsibilities and deadlines which we must meet on a weekly basis. Besides writing blogs, managing the twitter account, producing media reports, answering telephone calls, meeting with elected officials, and working extensive hours at events, interns are responsible for completing a main project – and that is taking the Hye Votes project to the streets of Los Angeles and getting eligible Armenian-Americans registered to vote.
It has been an interesting experience registering individuals to vote. From the many different things that have occurred during my time registering people, one thing that has captured my attention on multiple occasions is section 9 of the voter registration form. This section requires the individual to fill in the oval of the political party they are affiliated with and as expected, most people filled in the oval for either the “Democratic Party” or the “Republican Party”.
More often than not, people make their decision of which political party to belong to based on the influence of their family members, peers, and other social influences. It seems as if so many people are slow to think and quick to act upon choosing what political party to affiliate themselves with and are blind to see the harms caused by labeling oneself with any one political party.
In his 1796 farewell address, President George Washington warned Americans against the formation of political parties. He realized that polarized politics would result in aggression and hatred amongst the politicians and people, ultimately dividing the country. Yet still Americans chose to support and go by the system of political parties, and as foreseen by George Washington, the political parties became as polarized as can be – engaging in intense rhetoric and actions that cause lasting hostility, hate, and turmoil. Till this day, such rivalry hinders cooperation between political parties and the ability of reaching consensus on important political matters.
Battling it out on the playing field, political parties have become much like sports teams, and the voters have become loyal fans of one team or the other – usually despising the opposing team. This is generally true because when an individual joins a one political party, they automatically dislike the other and once election season arrives, people almost never consider voting for candidates from another party due to the mindset of “us against them”. This mindset which causes antagonism towards candidates of other political parties and stops voters from truly evaluating political candidates based on who they really are and their stand on political issues. It is important for people to understand that not all candidates have pure leftist views or pure rightest views and it is imperative that voters really take time educating themselves about each candidate prior to voting. As well, it is critical that voters comprehend that they should not feel obligated to vote within a certain political party. Instead, I strongly urge that voters choose candidates based on the individual they are and their stand on political issues – making each individual candidate responsible for the representation of themselves, not a party.
By: Christine Feghali
The biggest problem facing the Armenian community today is apathy. A majority of the Armenians today are too consumed with what kind of car they drive, how their hair looks, and what brands they are wearing to keep up with what is going on in the world. Too many of the Armenian youth do not know where Artsakh is, how to speak Armenian, who Erdogan is, what Hye Tahd is, or what the purpose of voting is.
This needs to change.
The apathy has become more apparent than ever over the past week. As interns, we attended the Homenetmen Navasartian Festival with the goal to register as many Armenian voters as possible. November 6th, 2012 is a huge opportunity for the Armenian community; if we were to all come together in solidarity and project our voice, we could elect the pro-Armenian candidates that are working for our cause. We can ensure that we have officials who are working towards our best interests by promoting the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and by encouraging the United States to stop supporting Turkey and Azerbaijan.
One would think that this is enough to convince not only the Armenian youth, but also Armenians of all ages to register to vote. But it’s not. There were too many people who said they don’t care about voting, or that they don’t believe in voting, or that they don’t support the governmental system, or that they’ve never voted and they never want to, or that their vote doesn’t count. This is a HUGE problem. If everyone has this mentality, our voice becomes nonexistent and becomes less powerful. As a community, we need to realize that our numbers are small compared to the number of people in the country or even the state. The important thing to keep in mind is that we make up a large proportion of certain local districts and if we all register and vote for the pro-Armenian candidates, we can have a large impact on the future of our community.
Robert M. Hutchins stated, “…the death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” If we don’t stop being apathetic and don’t start being active in politics, we can forget about Hye Tahd. We can forget about having the Armenian voice heard. We cannot get what we want without the help of people in high places. We are too small a group to be apathetic.
What we need is for more people to realize the potential of the our Armenian community. Potential means nothing unless it’s realized, so it’s time to stop being idle, stop being apathetic, and start being active.
If you haven’t already registered to vote, click on the link below and follow the instructions. Take two minutes to register and become a part of an election that can positively impact your Armenian community!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Zara’s post about her experiences with registering people to vote at Navasartians!
By: Aram Hovasapyan
It is all too common among us Armenians for the conversation around the dinner or coffee table to drift to the tragedies of Armenian history followed by the long debate of where we would be if things had worked out differently. Whether discussing these issues with family or patriotic Armenian friends, the one name that invariably finds itself in the center of the conversation is that of the legendary fedayee, Andranik Ozanyan. Having a strong background in Armenian history, I find it quite distressing that from all the monumental figures that took great measures to allow for the establishment of an independent Armenian republic in 1918, Andranik is usually the only one known to old and young Armenians alike.
Many of us grew up singing the fedayee songs that martyrized men like Andranik, Serob Aghbyur, and Gevork Chavush. This was a sign of a correct Armenian upbringing. These men were known for their heroic deeds in working for the Armenian cause. However, I want to familiarize you with other great men who left an indelible mark in Armenia’s history, with whom you may not be so familiar with.
First up is General Tovmas Nazarbekian. Educated in the military academy in Moscow, Nazarbekian saw action early on in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 and the Russo Japanese War in 1904-05. His actions during World War I and into 1920 proved critical for the formation and maintenance of an independent Armenian Republic. By the end of 1916, Russian troops along with Armenian volunteer units had advanced into the Ottoman provinces of Van, Erzerum, Bitlis, and Trebizond, the lands allotted to them by the Sykes Picot Agreement. Due to the mass desertion of Russian troops on the Turkish Front after the Bolshevik Revolution, the anti-Bolshevik Russian Army Command formed the Armenian Army Corps and placed General Nazarbekian in command with the mission to defend the vast territorial gains in Western Armenia. Under Nazarbekian’s command were three substrength divisions, one of them commanded by none other than Andranik.
The outnumbered and ill-equipped Armenian forces could not hold back the renewed Turkish offensive, and by May 1918, Turkish Armies had almost reached Yerevan. During May 24-28, Nazarbekian, along with Garegin Nzhdeh, led Armenian forces to halt the Ottoman advance in the battle of Karakilisa (modern day Vanadzor , soviet Kirovakan). Along with Karakilisa, the Armenian victories at the battles of Sardarapat and Bash-Aparan, where Armenian forces were led by General Movses Silikian and Drastamat Kanayan respectively, were instrumental in stopping the Ottoman offensive and giving an opportunity for Armenians to declare their independence and to negotiate with the Turks the establishment of a small, yet independent Armenian republic in the Treaty of Batum on June 4, 1918. One should appreciate the gravity of the treaty in recognizing an independent Armenia, since Turkish forces held positions only seven kilometers from Yerevan as the treaty was signed. As unplanned, unexpected, and remarkable the declaration of an independent republic was, it provided for the basis of a soviet Armenia and a second independent republic. Had Armenian forces lost any of these battles, historian Christopher Walker says “it is perfectly possible that the word Armenia would have henceforth denoted only an antique geographical term.”
General Nazarbekian continued to loyally serve the Republic of Armenia until he was arrested in January 1921 following the Sovietization of Armenia, but released shortly thereafter.
In the next blog, I will continue to share with you the stories of the other truly important Armenians that played a big role in the formation of an independent Armenia. Stay tuned for more.
By: Vahe Assarian
I woke up this morning thinking I was going to have a heart attack within the first hour of my first day. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. About two hours after my workday started, the phone rang and I felt my heart start beating faster and faster. Just as I reached over to grab the telephone, one of the other interns picked up the line. My first day at ANCA has officially started!
I am generally not a shy person, but I am bad with public speaking. The phone calls we receive in the office scare me because I feel like I am giving a speech and if I make a mistake I will feel humiliated. This is a fear I hope will surpass with some practice.
Monday came and went with no heart attack. This was mostly because I didn’t get a chance to pick up any phone calls.
Tuesday, on the other hand, I wasn’t so lucky. I answered the phone for the first time and initially faltered, but recovered quickly and successfully transfer the call. At the end of the call I was proud to have answered my first telephone call as an ANCA Western Region executive intern.
The most difficult aspect for me at this time is remembering the names of important contacts that work with ANCA. We’ve been given a list of 40 names whose calls we are to transfer directly without asking too many questions. Three days into the internship, I’ve managed to memorize one quarter of the list. I hope to memorize the entire list within the next few days!
My name is Erik. I’m an international student from Armenia and study political science in Glendale College. Couple days ago I found out that I was selected to be an intern in ANCA. No words can describe how happy I was as it is a great honor to be an intern in an organization that had its vital contribution in so many important fields. Today, due to the great efforts of ANCA the voices of thousands of Armenians are heard in the US. ANCA played a great role in supporting Armenia, Kharabakh, and Javakh. It’s really hard to imagine how Armenia would look like without the immense contribution of its diaspora. As an Armenian who was born and raised in Armenia, I truly appreciate that.
This is my second week in ANCA and I already feel like I’m improving such important skills as responsibility and punctuality. Even though my shift on Mondays and Tuesdays starts at 1pm, I wake up at 9am get ready and leave the house much earlier. As a note, it takes 3 minutes to drive from my house to ANCA’s office. I prefer to arrive at least 30 minutes before my shift, just not to be late.
I’m pretty sure that I’ll gain the necessary skills and knowledge during my summer internship. In the future I want to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the experience that I will gain during the internship will have its great impact on my future career. As an individual I’ll be able to make my contribution in Armenia and use all the knowledge and experience gained in ANCA. The other important factor for me is that I was able to meet people who have been really active in Armenian communities and overall as individuals. This is a great opportunity for me to establish connections with educated and experienced people and in the future we will be able to create even more solid ties between Armenia and its Diaspora and work on various projects regarding the Armenian cause. I’m truly excited about this internship and looking forward to upcoming projects and events.
By: Christine Feghali
I’m used to staying up until three and sleeping in until ten, wearing ripped jeans and concert tees almost every day, and driving five minutes to get to my university so I can go to class. I’m used to staying up all night to finish an assignment that’s due the next day and to having a syllabus that clearly outlines my professor’s expectations of me for the quarter.
Oh, how the times have changed.
Gone are the days of sleeping in. With my apartment being so close to school, I never had to worry about traffic. I would leave ten minutes before class, find parking, and walk into class a few minutes late. My professors were always late, too, and didn’t hold us accountable for being on time. Now, being late scares me like no other. The fear of being late is what helps me wake up at six so I can make it to the office by nine. Try driving west on the 210 at eight in the morning and you’ll see why I have to leave so early.
Gone are the days of haphazardly putting on whatever I can find to wear. Now I have to consciously think about how I’m going to dress. Is this appropriate for the office? Is it too low cut? Are polka dots too “loud”? What about tops without sleeves? What shoes should I wear? These things never really crossed my mind before. I used to live in Rainbows and Toms. I’ve upgraded to grown-up, professional shoes. It’s weird. If my mom weren’t a businesswoman, I’d probably be wearing the same outfit every day.
Gone are the days of procrastination…kind of. There isn’t time to procrastinate while you’re here. If you have something to do, you do it. You don’t waste time by surfing the Internet or by texting your friends. As a group, us interns have a relatively short amount of time to get a lot of work done. We all want to make a difference and we all think we know how much work that entails.
When I graduated less than a week ago, people repeatedly welcomed me into the “real world.” They warned me that things would get harder from that point on. It’s only my second day at the internship and I’m still not quite sure how everything works. I don’t know if I’m dressed appropriately or if I should’ve been here five minutes earlier. I don’t know what to expect at our first group meeting and I don’t know what my responsibilities are for the next ten weeks. Not knowing scares me.
Luckily, I’m surrounded by seven other people who are trying to figure everything out, too. We all come from different backgrounds; some of us recently graduated from college while others just graduated from high school. Each of us brings something different to the table and I look forward to overcoming the difficulties we’re bound to face together over the course of this program and embracing the changes that are still to come.
There are a number of tasks that I have to do at the office. One of them is called Media Reports. When I was first informed about them, I thought they were a bit mundane. They always reminded me of The Lion King, the scene where Zazu (the bird) is telling Mufasa what is going on around the savannah. It was never really my favorite part of the Disney cartoon.
For the morning report, we are supposed to write a specifically formatted essay about what is going on in the news (American, Armenian, Azeri, and Turkish). It has never been my favorite task to do around the office. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in class, waiting for my professor in the morning, and I caught myself going on the regular sites I use for the media report to check what was going on.
I know that it is good to be informed of news that is going on, but I would normally hear it on television when my parents are watching Armenian News. Last night I was sitting down and my mother turned on the news. Every single news item that went up, I already knew about since I had done the media report earlier in the day. This was just another factor of what you do during this internship that will probably stick around even after the internship is over. I won’t be writing a formatted essay, but I definitely will be checking the sites I used for the media report to see what is up in the world.