ANCA-WR Internship Program Week 8

BY: Kyle Hacopian

University of California, Los Angeles

Political Science & International Relations

This past Monday the interns welcomed Nana Shakhnazaryan along with Anahit Aharonian and Federico Hairabedian of South America as guest speakers. Each of the guests presented extensively on their respective experiences and works.

Nana’s presentation was followed by Anahit who presented her experience being an Uruguayan born Armenian. Anahit also discussed her experiences as an Armenian in Uruguay. The presentation concluded with Federico speaking of his own personal experiences of being born in Argentina and being the son of Luisa Hairabedian. He concluded the presentation with discussing his career as an attorney.

On Tuesday, the GOP Chair of California, Jessica Patterson joined us with her Executive Assistant, Alex Keledjian where we discussed politics surrounding Los Angeles and the state of California more broadly. Both Patterson and Keledjian believed that positive outcomes would result from a change of party leadership in the state. Throughout this internship I have been repeatedly reminded of the mass of political clout held by the ANCA that it can have well-known political individuals, regardless of party, present to us as interns. This speaks volumes to the bipartisan nature of the ANCA and its aim to attract members from both sides of the aisle.

Wednesday was certainly a busy day as we had two events scheduled. We started off with a presentation by Hermineh Pakhanians of the ANCA-WR who discussed the founding and history of the Near East Foundation. In essence, the Foundation was The Untied States’ humanitarian response to the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Although I was aware of the Foundation and its basic role in the wake of Ottoman Turkish aggression early in the 20th-century, I was unaware of the countless Armenians, Greeks, and other minorities it saved in the Near East.

Following this presentation, the interns had the pleasure of attending a virtual masterclass put together and hosted by my committee, the ANCA Professional Network. The Professional Network invited Yeva Papayan to provide a brief history lesson on traditional Armenian musicians, instruments and songs. Best of all, Yeva held a special live performance for us of famous Armenian songs including Sari Siroon Yar by Gusan Ashot and Hey Jan Ghapama by Harout Pamboukjian.  I have spent the entirety of this internship working with the Professional Network managing social media, automating mass email campaigns, and assisting young professionals to navigate obstacles commonly found in education and professional pursuits alike.

Thursday was our last day of presentations for the week and we had the pleasure of having Representative Mari Manoogian speak to us. Representative Manoogian represents the 40th district of Michigan in the state’s House of Representatives and is arguably the youngest Armenian-American woman in politics within the United States. Representative Manoogian has been a steadfast advocate for the Armenian-American community and we thank her for being able to join us on Thursday.

Friday consisted of our weekly check-in meeting where we discussed our experiences and thoughts on the week. Friday was also a special day for me as I filmed a promotional video for the ANCA PN and joined the Zoom call at the ANCA-WR office. It was great visiting the office during these uncertain times and I look forward to a time in the near future where myself along with the rest of my fellow interns and ANCA-WR staff can meet in person.