WASHINGTON, DC — The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and ANCA Western Region shared a 360-degree view of the organization’s career development and student empowerment initiatives on six campuses throughout California, spotlighting internship and job placement opportunities offered through the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program (CGP) and Leo Sarkisian Summer Program in Washington, the Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellowship in Sacramento, and regional internships in Southern California.
“We were excited to see record numbers of students come out during a single tour and show so much interest in the work of the ANCA – both in terms of advocacy and career development,” noted ANCA Programs Director, Tereza Yerimyan. “Students want to be on the front lines of advocacy to strengthen the Armenian homeland and expand U.S.-Armenia relations, with many signing up to be ANCA Rapid Responders. We’re excited to speak to and welcome the next generation of leaders into our youth development programs, and are encouraged by their eagerness to become active.”
Yerimyan traveled to California for presentations hosted by Armenian Students Associations at University of California Davis (UC Davis), University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley), while ANCA Western Region Communications Coordinator Dickran Khodanian spoke at the University of California, Los Angeles, University of California Irvine (UCI), and Pasadena City College (PCC).
Yerimyan provided an overview of the California University tour and the many programs the ANCA offers in a two-minute video available here:
UC Davis Armenian Students Association Chairman Raffi Samurkashian welcomed Yerimyan’s visit. “We were excited to have an ANCA representative all the way from DC visit with our ASA and to give us a first-hand look at some of the best internship opportunities in the nation’s capital. We hope to see our members take part in both summer training and explore policy career opportunities in the future – in DC and right here in California,” stated Samurkashian.
UC Berkeley Armenian Students Association Chairman Hakob Mesrobian explained, “A common trend I see is that students are eager and interested in fighting for the Armenian Cause, but often times they do not know where to start or how to turn their ideas into actions. By going to and reaching out to students, the ANCA is doing its part in connecting students to opportunities they may never hear about otherwise. Students have the chance to fight for what they believe in and to discover how they can make tangible impacts.”
Khodanian highlighted the wide-ranging benefits of the ANCA WR youth initiatives. “The ANCA-WR and Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellowship are two incredible programs offered by the ANCA that help cultivate young leaders while giving them the appropriate tools to succeed in their careers. The Karabian Fellowship provides an insider’s look at the day-to-day workings of Sacramento, and an opportunity to strengthen your analytical skills, while the ANCA WR internship helps students take their advocacy skills to the next level – all the while advancing key community priorities.”
Launched in 2003 with a founding grant by the Cafesjian Family Foundation, the ANCA CGP has helped over 250 Armenian American professionals from across the U.S. explore career prospects in Washington DC. Gateway Program fellows are offered three months of free housing at the ANCA’s Aramian House, located in the heart of Washington, DC in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, just blocks from the ANCA offices. The Capital Gateway Program Advisory Committee (CGPAC), comprised of a rotating group of program alumni, coordinates a series of career placement workshops on a range of issues including resume and cover letter preparation, effective interview strategies and networking. The CGPAC also connects fellows with mentors most closely aligned with their career goals for one-on-one advice and encouragement.
The ANCA CGP is named after Hovig Apo Saghdejian, a beloved young community leader who lost his life in a tragic car accident in 2005 and whose eternal memory continues to inspire new generations of Armenian Americans. His family generously established the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fund and, over the past decade, have played a vital role in the expansion of the program. Substantial support has also been provided by longtime ANCA benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Barbara Hekimian and the Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford, Massachusetts (AAVO).
The Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellowship is a nine-month experience in California that offers young Armenian-Americans the opportunity to enhance their leadership and professional skills. The purpose of this fellowship is to produce professionals in the public policy and political arenas.
The ANCA Western Region Internship Program is a selective part-time leadership program, which introduces high school graduates, college students, and recent college graduates to all aspects of the public affairs arena. The program provides an opportunity for student leaders and activists to gain an in-depth understanding of the American political system, Armenian-American issues and advocacy efforts on the local, state and federal levels.
The 2015 purchase of The Aramian House was made possible through a generous donation by the family of the late community leader and philanthropist Martha Aramian of Providence, Rhode Island. The Aramian family – led by Sue, in memory of her late sisters Margo and Martha – has long been among the most generous benefactors of ANCA programs as well as of charitable projects in the Armenian homeland and the Diaspora.