ANCA-WR Summer 2021: Week 9

Lily Yeremyan

Monday, August 9, 2021: Raffi Bedrosyan

We started this week with a lecture from Mr. Raffi Bedrosyan. A civil engineer, writer, concert pianist, and philanthropist are just a few things that describe Bedrosyan. Born and raised in Istanbul, Bedrosyan presented about the Hidden Armenians in Turkey. He specifically focused on Project Rebirth, which aims to support Islamized Armenians, or hidden Armenians, by bringing them back to the homeland (Armenia). The hidden Armenians receive daily Armenian language classes along with tours and expeditions across the country. The project’s efforts support hidden Armenians from all kinds of backgrounds and ages, such as teachers, doctors, children, and even the elderly.

After the Ottoman Empire initiated the Armenian genocide in 1915, hundreds of thousands of Armenian orphans were left behind in Turkey. Unless rescued, these orphans were Islamized and Turkified by the Turkish government. They would later on survive to become the first hidden Armenians. Their descendants are the hidden Armenians participating in Project Rebirth today. Since they were Turkified, the majority of the current hidden Armenians are unaware of their Armenian identity. I thought that this topic was extremely interesting since I love to learn as much as I can about my culture and language. I also felt very proud to hear that some hidden Armenians desire to return to their Armenian roots and revive their lost language.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021: Alina Sarkissian

Today we were greeted by ANCA-PN co-chair, Alina Sarkissian. Ms. Sarkissian, born in Seattle, Alina Sarkissian moved back to Los Angeles at an early age. She received her bachelor’s degree in management from UCLA. Sarkissian’s activism with the ANCA-WR began when she became an ANCA-WR intern and an ANCA Leo Sarkissian Intern. She has now turned into a successful professional working as the program manager at UCLA’s Anderson school of management but has also worked with CSUN in the same field. During today’s presentation, she generously devoted her time to teach us the etiquette of business interviews.

After our introductions were made and we learned a little more about Ms. Sarkissian, she started off her presentation by listing three interview skills: prepare, practice and present. To effectively prepare for a professional job interview, the interviewee should gather his tool kit. Sarkissian’s tool kit includes having an elevator pitch, keen company knowledge, three personal growth stories, and a clear understanding of the position applied for.

Regarding one’s arrival to an interview, Ms. Sarkissian emphasized the importance of timeliness, questions, and dress. It was noted that the interviewee should be around fifteen minutes early to the interview along with being professionally attired. Verginie Touloumian closed the meeting with a fun mock interview against Ms. Sarkissian. We asked our final questions and said goodbye with valuable interview secrets in our pockets.

Thursday, August 12, 2021: Paul Krekorian

Paul Krekorian has served on the L.A. City Council for more than ten years. A member of our Armenian community, Krekorian studied law at USC and UC Berkeley. After working for a few business litigation firms, Krekorian successfully became a litigation lawyer himself. Throughout his law career, he had a passion for organizing the growing Los Angeles Armenian community. This passion drove him to campaign for L.A. City Council in 2009. After winning that seat, Krekorian successfully led the Armenian communities of Glendale, Burbank, and the San Fernando Valley for the next eleven years. Additionally, Mr. Krekorian serves as a board member for the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Metrolink.

Our interns, had an opportunity to have a candid conversation with the Councilmember and ask him specific questions regarding his career and policies he has and continues to advocate for. Toward the end of the meeting, Krekorian provided us a crucial takeaway: to remember how important our voices and roles are in organizing the Armenian community. He also advised us to find our passions, to ambitiously chase them, and seek mentors to guide us through the journey. Also joining the Councilmember was Sahag Yedalian, the Senior Transportation Deputy and Special Events Coordinator for Councilmember Krekorian’s District Office and an ANCA Intern alumni.

Friday, August 13, 2021: Khatchig Mouradian

For our final lecture of this week, the ANCA-WR interns had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Khatchig Mouradian. Dr. Mouradian is a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbian University. He holds a Ph.D. in history and genocide studies, and a graduate certificate in conflict resolution. Mouradian’s research entails the issues of genocide, mass violence, and unarmed resistance.

It was a pleasure to hear Dr. Mouradian speak today. Dr. Mouradian spoke of his experiences visiting Western Armenian and the valuable realizations he had come to have of the Armenian diaspora. We looked at a few images that Dr. Mouradian photographed during his trips and listened to his corresponding stories, which were so fascinating. Each story taught us about life in our ancestral homeland.

As our lecture ended, Dr. Mouradian answered our questions by reflecting upon his research and experiences. He emphasized that there is a strong power among Armenians through our global solidarity, connections, and unity. Lastly, Dr. Mouradian encouraged us to appreciate our Armenian history and the sacrifices that were made for the survival of the Armenians. It was a pleasure to speak with Dr. Mouradian as he devoted his time to share his unique findings with us.