GLENDALE, Calif. — The Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) has announced that Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian will serve as a panelist in “Grassroots: Empower and Lead,” a workshop on activism through politics. The workshop is part of the ANC Grassroots weekend that will take place from Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27, 2011, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.
Having served as Glendale City Clerk for over 6 years, Kassakhian has gained unique insight into Glendale’s political system. His prior experience as the Governmental Relations Director and Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western United States (ANCA-WR), has helped shape his deep understanding of the intersection of Armenian-American political affairs and local government. As the city’s Election Official, he has led the effort to raise participation and awareness of municipal elections and has introduced the expansion of video streaming of city council meetings and other proceedings. During the last 6 years, Kassakhian has helped educate non-English speaking citizens in Glendale about the voting process. He has been a poll worker in Glendale and has helped register hundreds of voters in Glendale and surrounding areas.
In 2009, Kassakhian completed a summer program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for State and Local officials. In 2011, Kassakhian graduated from the Coro Executive Fellowship Program in Public Affairs. He is currently working on developing a long range strategic plan for reforming election processes in Glendale and raising voter participation in municipal elections.
On April 5, 2005, Kassakhian became the first person ever to be elected City Clerk in an open election in Glendale in 75 years. His landslide victory in a field of 9 candidates made him the youngest Armenian-American elected official in the U.S. as well the youngest person to ever hold public office in Glendale.
Kassakhian received his undergraduate degree at UCLA in history with a special emphasis on Armenia and the Near East. As a student leader at UCLA, Kassakhian led the grassroots effort to oppose the establishment of a Turkish studies chair by the Republic of Turkey. The decision was a watershed victory for Armenian-Americans who were concerned about the corruption of American academia by the government of Turkey and its agents of Genocide denials.
Kassakhian lives in Glendale with his wife, Courtney, and continues to lecture around the country on political organizing and grassroots politics, Armenian-American lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., and career development for youth interested in politics.
Together with Rostom Sarkissian and Matt Senekeremian, and Marcy Kaplan from the California Participation Project, the panelists on the “Grassroots: Empower and Lead” workshop will discuss the avenues through which activists can become engaged in the political arena. For many years, the ANC-WR has worked at the community level to heighten Armenian American awareness and increase involvement in local, state and federal politics. The panel will emphasize the importance of individuals working at the grassroots level to promote Hai Tahd.
The three-day ANC Grassroots program is a groundbreaking weekend of workshops and panel presentations that will educate the community about civic leadership arising from grassroots efforts. ANC Grassroots will bookend the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) Annual Banquet, which will take place on Saturday, November 26 at 7 p.m.
ANC Grassroots and the Annual Banquet are open to interested individuals throughout the entire United States, and participants are encouraged to register early.
Tickets for ANC Grassroots, which includes the Friday night cocktail in the Starview Room; as well as conference sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which include breakfast, post-banquet dance, and a keynote luncheon on Sunday, are $150. Tickets for the Annual Banquet are $200. Those interested in attending the Annual Banquet and ANC Grassroots can purchase a package for $300.
Students with valid ID can purchase discounted tickets to the Annual Banquet and Conference.
The Armenian National Committee-Western Region is the largest Armenian American grassroots community 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 works to promote understanding regarding issues of concern to the Armenian American community.