May 9, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Haig Hovsepian
tel: (818) 500-1918

ANCA-WR Concludes Internship Program’s 2007 Spring Session

Los Angeles, CA – The 2007 Spring Session of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region’s Internship-Externship Program (ANCA-WR IEP) concluded on Friday, May 4, 2007 with program participants delivering their final presentations to ANC leadership and former interns.

As the leading Armenian American public policy organization in California, the ANCA-WR is committed to educating and preparing the next generation of Armenian American leaders and activists in our communities. As such, the interns prepared presentations covering their internship accomplishments and contributions during the course of the fourteen week program. The presentations were preceded by a reception where the graduating class of interns took the opportunity to get to know former ANC regional and national interns.

“The ANCA-WR internship program represents our commitment to the next generation of Armenian American leaders,” commented Andrew Kzirian, Executive Director of the ANCA-WR. “We shall continue working with our interns in the coming months to help them gain experience working in a fast-paced environment that will prepare them for whatever challenges life may offer in the future,” he added.

During the program, participants were assigned to specific areas of specialization in which they delegated tasks and projects to complete. The session commenced on January 22, 2007 and included a seminar series featuring presentations by board members as well as community organization representatives and elected officials.

Completing the program were Andre Arzoo and Hovhannes Harutyunyan, both second-year students at Glendale Community College. They were joined by Christopher Yemenidjian, a second-year student at El Camino College and Tina Avanessian, a first-year student at UC Irvine.

Arzoo was assigned an externship with the Genocide Education Project where he worked on developing materials community members can use to encourage high school administrators to set up Genocide Education Project workshops for their teachers. The Genocide Education Project provides curricular materials and training for teachers to teach about genocide and the Armenian Genocide.

As an intern assigned to office Media and Public Relations, Avanessian helped organize several press conferences hosted by the ANCA-WR and its local affiliates throughout the 19 western US states. Additionally, she maintained the organization’s media outreach database and authored several press releases regarding ANC activities including district office meetings with congressional offices as well as community events.

As part of the ANCA-WR IEP’s newest externship partnership, Harutyunyan worked with the Foundation for Economic Development (FED) on several research and promotional projects related to the California Armenia Trade Office (CATO). The FED is a non-governmental organization assigned by the state to operate CATO which facilitates trade between California and Armenia as well as the other former Soviet states and Eastern Europe.

Yemenidjian worked with the ANCA-WR office as a Community and Government Affairs intern where he worked with staff to coordinate and participate in congressional district office meetings throughout the western US states. He also assisted in outreach efforts to Armenian Americans affiliated with the Republican Party and monitored the office’s various activist databases.

“I originally applied to the program because of my interest in genocide awareness and education, but ended up with much more than I expected,” noted Arzoo. “Not only did I help the Genocide Education Project, but I had the chance to get to know a diverse group of students who each felt strongly about finding their own way to be involved in and support our community. I learned a lot about the issues and I also made friends with whom I look forward to continuing to work beyond the internship program.”

Arzoo and Yemenidjian will be attending UC Berkeley in the autumn and plan to remain active advocates through the San Francisco Bay Area ANC. Harutyunyan, who has also been accepted to UC Berkeley, will be remaining active with the Foundation for Economic Development. Avanessian, a Glendale resident, will continue working with the regional office and her local, Crescenta Valley ANC. Upon returning to Irvine for the autumn term, she hopes to become involved with the Orange County ANC as well.

Aside from learning and participating in the day-to-day operations of the regional office, program participants also traveled with the ANCA-WR to both the California Republican Party and California Democratic Party conventions. They also worked with ANCA-WR staff to represent the organization at conferences and community events – such as the “Silenced Cries” and “4-24” Armenian Genocide awareness benefit concerts.

“The regional Internship-Externship Program is designed to help shape more informed, experienced, and confident Armenian American issues advocates,” notes Haig Hovsepian, ANCA-WR Community Relations Director and IEP Coordinator. “The 2007 Spring Session class distinguished itself in its commitment and dedication to the job, but also demonstrated great growth during their time in the program learning more about the issues, networking with the community, and building strong friendships with one another. We look forward to their continued involvement in their local ANCs and with our future internship classes.”

The Armenian National Committee of America 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.

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Photo Caption: The 2007 Spring Session Internship-Externship Program class (from left to right) Andre Arzoo, Hovhannes Harutyunyan, Tina Avanessian, and Christopher Yemenidjian.