Washington, DC – Year after year, the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship (LSI) Program has provided Armenian American youth with the opportunity to spend valuable time in Washington, DC. The Halls of Congress hold the key to learning more about, and building consensus for, important pieces of legislation. Christopher Yemenidjian is Chairman of the South Bay ANC and had already served as an Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) regional intern in the Spring of 2007 while he continued his studies at El Camino College. Yemenidjian’s goal was to make a difference for the Armenian Cause in the world of government. Christopher decided to apply for the ANCA LSI program this summer.
“After working with the ANC-WR in Los Angeles, I felt it was time to take my advocacy efforts to Washington, DC,” commented Yemenidjian. “The nation’s capital is where everything happens – meetings with elected officials, hearings on important legislation that impacts the interests of our communities and just the general gravitas of being on the Hill – I strongly urge all young Armenian Americans to consider the ANCA Leo Sarkisian internship program,” he added.
The ANCA-LSI Program is funded by the Armenian National Committee — Western Region (ANC-WR). Named after long-time ANC activist Leo Sarkisian, the program brings together young Armenian Americans from across the United States and Canada to gain first-hand experience in the American political system while working on issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
“Christopher’s work in Washington is a great example of what the leadership of tomorrow is achieving today,” stated ANC-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “The experience that LSI participants gain working on the Hill is extremely valuable and most importantly, consistent with the ANC-WR’s mission of preparing our community’s youth for strong leadership positions in tomorrow’s world,” he added.
In addition to the enriching educational LSI program lecture series, scores of Congressional meetings with Representatives and the overall experience of working in the fast-paced office environment of the ANCA office, Christopher has taken the initiative on a variety of other projects. He drafted a document outlining military relations between the United States and Armenia, pointing out many overlooked details regarding this relationship. Armenia has worked closely with the United States in the War on Terror and has signed and ratified a Status of Forces Agreement with NATO and other agreements to safeguard U.S. military personnel in Armenia. This document was then disseminated throughout Congress to educate Members on the increasing military ties between Armenia and the United States. Furthermore, as a veteran of the United States Air Force, Christopher drafted letters encouraging Armenian American Veterans to contact their elected officials to urge them to support H. Res. 106 (the Armenian Genocide Resolution).
Yemenidjian is a Political Science and English double-major at El Camino College who will be attending the University of California, Berkeley in the Spring. He recently completed the ANC-WR’s Internship-Externship Program where he specialized in community and government affairs. He currently serves as the South Bay ANC chairman. He has been and continues to be actively involved with the South Bay AYF and Homenetmen, having served as chairmen for both organizations. He is also the chairman of the United Human Rights Council.
Now in its 23rd year, the ANCA LSI Program provides student leaders and activists an opportunity to participate in an intensive 8-week program designed to give them the tools necessary to effectively advance issues of concern to the Armenian American community on the federal, state and local level. The LSI Program is a competitive and prestigious internship program and is widely considered to be the best program of its kind for Armenian American college students.
In addition to Christopher Yemenidjian, the 2007 LSI Program participants from the Western United States are Alex Der Alexanian, Shant Hagopian and Dzovak Kazandjian. Joining interns from Canada, Europe and the Eastern United States, the LSI participants from the Western Region have conducted significant and groundbreaking activities in just their first week in our nation’s capital.
The Armenian National Committee – 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 ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo Caption: (center) U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joins LSI program participants (from left to right) Alex Der Alexanian, Dzovak Kazandjian, Shant Hagopian and Christopher Yemenidjian.