Los Angeles, CA – Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Communications Director Elizabeth Chouldjian joined with regional and local leaders and former ANCA Interns for an evening celebrating over two decades of Leo Sarkisian Internship Program successes. During an evening gathering, hosted by community activists and former ANCA intern John and Pattyl Kasparian, Chouldjian provided an executive summary of the ANCA’s work in support of U.S. foreign aid to Armenia, the Armenian Genocide resolution and efforts to promote security issues in Nagorno-Karabagh. She placed special focus on the key role that the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program and the expanded Capital Gateway Program play in ensuring increased youth participation in the American political process. “As a former ANCA intern in 1991, it was a pleasure catching up with Leo Sarkisian interns from throughout the Southern California area,” stated Chouldjian, who directed the Washington component of the internship program for some 10 years. “Whether serving in our Regional Board or active with our local chapters, the internship program has been a critical factor in training the Armenian American political advocates of tomorrow.” Now in its 23rd year, the Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship has brought together interns from across the nation and Canada, providing them an opportunity to hone their grassroots activism skills by attending seminars, participating in an intensive lecture series and working on specifically designated projects. The eight-week program is geared to provide proven student leaders with the skills they need to effectively advance Armenian American concerns in their hometowns and campuses around the country.
”After returning from Washington, DC in 2000, I felt reenergized and ready to hit the ground running with our local efforts,” stated former Leo Sarkisian Intern Sevana Zetlian. “My experience in Washington provided me with the right tools and also helped me realized that what we are doing locally makes an enormous difference in the Armenian Cause,” she added.
The Leo Sarkisian Internship Program is an integral part of the ANCA Capital Gateway Program, which provides Armenian Americans greater opportunities to explore careers on Capitol Hill, in the U.S. Foreign Service and key Washington, DC foreign policy think tanks. Now reaching the end of its fourth year, the year-round program is designed to help university students and graduates find internships and permanent positions in Congressional offices, government agencies and policy groups by providing temporary housing and assistance in transitioning from student to professional. To date, the ANCA Capital Gateway Program has placed over 40 individuals in jobs on Capitol Hill and in think tanks in the nation’s capital. ”My invaluable experience as a Leo Sarkisian intern equipped me with the knowledge and experience needed to be active within my community and to serve Cong. Pallone on Capitol Hill. I will always be grateful to Elizabeth and the ANCA for providing me with the tools necessary to be successful and make a difference,” stated Angineh Babooian. The Capital Gateway Program has been funded through the generosity of the Cafesdjian Family Foundation, the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Fellowship, Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford, Massachusetts (AAVO), longtime ANCA benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Barbara Hekimian and Armenian American activists from across the U.S. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo caption: ANCA Community Relations Director Elizabeth Chouldjian joins former ANCA interns.