During the course of the last year the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR) significantly expanded its community outreach activities beyond California, home to its headquarters and over 20 local chapters. True to its mission to educate, motivate and activate, ANCA-WR leadership and staff traveled to Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington and organized town halls and educational forums for their respective Armenian-American communities. Additionally, they facilitated meetings with various federal and state level officials to advocate issues of Armenian-American concern and importance. To meet the ever-expanding needs of these communities and beyond, ANCA-WR hired Denver-based activist and educator Simon Maghakyan for the position of Community Development Coordinator.
“We are honored to have Simon join our dynamic and talented team who day in and day out work tirelessly to advocate for truth and justice on behalf of all Armenian-Americans,” stated ANCA-WR chair Nora Hovsepian. “Given his extensive experience and professional accolades, Simon is uniquely poised to assume the critical duties and responsibilities for mobilizing and liaising with the ANCA-WR local chapters outside of California,” added Hovsepian.
A native of Armenia, Maghakyan holds a graduate degree in political science from the University of Colorado, Denver (UCD). He teaches introductory political science courses at UCD and Red Rocks Community College. Maghakyan is also an alumnus of the Zoryan Institute’s International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. Most recently, from 2008-2014, Maghakyan served as Eurasia Country Specialist at Amnesty International USA campaigning for comprehensive domestic violence legislation in Armenia, freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, and rights of displaced persons in Georgia. From 2006-2008 he served as a nonpartisan staff member at the Colorado legislature co-managing civics education for a quarter million annual statehouse visitors.
“Our recent ‘On the Road’ outreach activities demonstrated a palpable need for a dedicated staff member to meet the demands of our grassroots efforts outside of California. I had the pleasure of meeting Simon during our town hall meeting in Colorado last year and immediately knew that he is an ideal candidate to further mobilize respective grassroots efforts into established local ANCA-WR chapters who will elevate our cause to new heights,” remarked ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “Simon will serve as an instrumental resource to the development and operations of these newly-formed and forming chapters and we are thrilled to have such a dedicated and accomplished individual join the ANCA WR team,” added Asatryan.
Maghakyan is no stranger to advocating on issues of concern to Armenians. He currently serves as Co-chair of the Armenians of Colorado’s Genocide Commemoration Committee and helped coordinate the installation of a khachkar memorial in tribute to the Armenian Genocide on the grounds of the Colorado State Capitol. Armed with the mission to document and bring awareness to the 2005 destruction of the world’s largest medieval Armenian cemetery in Nakhichevan, Maghakyan founded Djulfa.com in 2007. Its content has been used by rights organizations (American Association for the Advancement of Science; Global Heritage Fund), concerned governments (Republic of Armenia Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and media outlets (France 2 Television).
“It is an honor to join the nation’s most impactful Armenian-American grassroots organization which effectively empowers our community on all levels. Now more than ever, on the eve of the Armenian Genocide Centennial, we must unite to address the ramifications of our people’s greatest tragedy while ensuring that this momentum is sustained to operate on a variety of challenges facing both our ancestral homeland and our local communities. I look forward to meeting and working closely with Armenian-American communities in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming to amplify our collective voice in the democratic process,” expressed Maghakyan.
The Armenian National Committee of America-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 ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.