ANCA-WR Summer 2021: Week 3

Victoria Topalian

Monday, June 28 2021: Ara Khatchatourian, Editor of Asbarez
Our week started off with a presentation from the editor of Asbarez, Ara Khatchatourian. He started off by explaining to us how the ANCA and Asbarez connect and what role they play with one another. The ANCA uses Asbarez as a way to get the news out and other media agencies get their news from Asbarez and publish it on their end. Asbarez is the largest bilingual daily Armenian publication in the United States and will be turning 113 in August. Asbarez’s main focus is the Armenian American communities perspective. He spoke regarding achievements and challenges that the Armenian community has faced over the past century and how it was reported by the newspaper to the masses.

Ara gave details of what role Asbarez played during the 44 days of the war. He described it as very “tense” because not only did they have to follow all the news coming out but they would have to find a way to disseminate it for people to understand. This showed Asbarez’s targets which are one to tell people what is happening and two frames the information in a way for people to understand it and take action. During the war in order to publish credible news, they would go through many sources of information, whether it be in Armenian or English, and get the most credible information. The community is what really drives Asbarez to thrive. That was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the paper had to be on a halt, but there was never any backlash from the community, instead, subscribers would continue to pay the subscription and would even send letters of encouragement.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021: Aram Manoukian, Armenian Youth Federation
The Armenian Youth Federation was founded in 1993 by Garegin Njdeh in Boston, Massachusetts and has now grown to have many different chapters. Aram explained what it means to be an Armenian American activist. Some have passion, others want to serve something greater but through it all the AYF teachers the power and effect of activism. The AYF is guided by five things, and ideology, the supreme goal of having a free and independent Armenia, the homeland itself, the community, and bylaws that keep everyone in check and accountable. The change in our reality is that we were all born with a homeland, diaspora, and Artsakh. Unfortunately, we have now lost 80 percent of Artsakh we face assimilation and anti-Armenian rhetoric and the threat of the extinction of the homeland. Our generation will be the one to fight against all odds. Throughout history, whether it was the first Republic of Armenia or Operation Nemesis the youth has always been the ones to thank. Lately, the aura of the community has been defeat and the AYF is trying to combat that. Some things the AYF does are Hye Tahd where they started with Divest Turkey. Divest Turkey started with the UC schools but has now been enacted into California law. Activism is like the doppler effect, it starters out small but later makes an effect and gets bigger. There are many internships that AYF does such as Youth Corpse and the Artsakh internship. With our Soldiers is one of the most active campaigns where supplies are sent to the soldiers. The AYF has even met with non-Armenian groups to discuss similar interests. They even promote community-driven programs such as AYF camp, GUSD camp, and basketball programs through Homenetmen. Aram explained that no one needs to be educated prior to joining AYF because education happens when one is in AYF listening to debates and discussions that are held. The AYF is a tight-knit family that even when you graduate you are still closely associated with it and you forever hold memories. Ideas are never looked down upon and you are always encouraged to say your ideas out loud even if they are the strangest ideas because that is how solutions are created.

On Thursday July 1, we had the opportunity to meet with the Leo Sarkissian Interns, who are spending their summer working with the ANCA Washington DC team. On Friday, July 2nd, we had a weekly check-in with all the interns, where we reflected on our journey thus far. We discussed our ongoing projects and the

other students who are currently interning with the ANCA Washington DC Office through the Leo Sa

Thursday, July 1, 2021: Intern Mixer with DC Office
Western Region interns were addressed about what the eastern region offers such as the Capital Gateway Program.

Friday, July 2, 2021: Check-In
On Friday we had some fun by answering random questions and we went around stating who our favorite speakers have been thus far.