GLENDALE– As part of his first visit with Armenian American communities in the western United States, newly-appointed US Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia John Ordway was hosted by the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region on Monday, January 14, during visits to a number of community centers and Armenian American organizations and establishments.
Ambassador Ordway, who has been in his current post since November of last year, met with representatives of the ANCA-WR during a one-hour meeting. The discussion during the meeting centered on the most pressing issues for the Armenian American community, as well as the Republic of Armenia.
Among the issues discussed were the recent waiver of Section 907, Armenian Genocide recognition efforts in the United States and internationally, as well as US Aid to Armenia. Ambassador Ordway briefed the meeting participants on the issues that he has observed during the first few weeks on the job, and touched on some of the upcoming projects in Armenia. In discussing plans for the new embassy complex in Armenia, Ambassador Ordway informed ANCA-WR representatives of the developing plans on the complex, and added that plans for a USAID operation center had not been approved as part of the current project.
On the issue of the Armenian Genocide and recognition efforts in the United States, Ambassador Ordway agreed that a more long term policy was needed by the US government. ANCA-WR Chairman Steven J. Dadaian said after the meeting, “We hope, after meeting with Ambassador Ordway, the State Department will make a broader commitment to embracing a more proactive approach to the Armenian Genocide issue and its universal recognition.”
Following the early afternoon meeting, representatives of the ANCA-WR accompanied Ambassador Ordway to a number of community meetings. Ordway visited with the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Western Regional Executive, the staff and editorial board of Asbarez Daily Newspaper and Horizon Television, as well as the management of the Armenian Cable Television. Ambassador Ordway was accompanied by representatives of the Homenetmen Armenian General Athletic and Scouting Union’s Western Regional Executive, Garo Ispenjian, to the organization’s Glendale Ararat Center.
ARS Western Region Chairwoman Sonia Peltekian briefed Ambassador Ordway on the organization’s operations both in the United States and in Armenia. Peltekian explained that the ARS, one of the largest Armenian relief organizations, has played a pivotal role in the history of the Armenian nation since 1910, when it was established to respond to the humanitarian disaster of the Armenian Genocide. Ordway inquired about the organization’s operations in Armenia, and praised the cooperation of the ARS with US governmental agencies including the US Agency for International Development. Peltekian presented the Ambassador with an ARS Commemorative Gold Coin, wishing him great success in his new position.
The editorial and business staffs of Asbarez Newspaper and Horizon Television welcomed the Ambassador, giving him a brief tour of the organization’s facilities, and outlining the operations, programming and activities of the sister media outlets. Horizon Executive Producer Ara Khachatourian gave the Ambassador an overview of the broadcast station’s daily programming and its cooperative ventures with a cross section of Armenian American broadcast producers.
As his last stop for the day, Ambassador Ordway was treated to a vibrant and active Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter Center, where Ispenjian was joined by chapter representatives to offer the US Ambassador a glimpse into the complex operations of the community, the cornerstone of which is the youth. With several team practices and other activities underway, the center gave Ambassador Ordway a good sense of the broad support and involvement Homenetmen enjoys as part of the network of sister organizations, including the ANCA-WR, the ARS and the Armenian Youth Federation, as well as the Hamazkayin Cultural and Education Society.
“The visits with our community’s largest and most influential organizations offered Ambassador Ordway a very good look into this vibrant corner of the Armenian Diaspora well rooted in its history and heritage, and at the same time embracive of and active in the larger community in the United States,” explained ANCA-WR Executive Director Alex Sardar.
Ambassador Ordway was accompanied by ANCA-WR Board member Raffi Hamparian, Sardar, as well as ANC-TV representative Ara Soudjian.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots political organization. The ANCA actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian-American community.