The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) wrapped up an action-packed summer, after 12 interns completed an 11-week Internship Program. During this time, they honed their leadership skills, got firsthand experience with the inner workings of the government, and engaged in issues facing the Armenian-American community.
In response to COVID-19, the ANCA-WR pivoted its program, taking the internship virtual for the first time. “Despite COVID-19, we were able to provide a rewarding and impactful learning experience, while prioritizing the health and safety of our interns” said Joseph Kaskanian, ANCA-WR Board Member and liaison to the Internship Committee.
The interns met daily on an online platform for a lecture series that featured 49 Armenian-American leaders and public officials. They participated in 25 lectures, had meetings with 9 public officials, and gained valuable skills from 5 professional workshops. They also participated in a social media protest (#StopAliyev) with the AYF-WUS PR Committee, a Folk Night organized by the ANCA-PN, and had a networking session with the ANCA Leo Sarkissian Interns. During the internship, 6 trivia nights were organized for the interns, where the winners won a variety of gifts, donated by Armenian-owned businesses (Tatik Streetwear, the Proper Company, Hawaiian Hot Chicken).
During the rest of the week, the interns who were divided in 7 groups, worked with their supervisors on a wide-variety of projects based on their individual interests, allowing them to gain hands-on experience in the intricacies of the organization. Every Friday, the interns had an end of the week check-in session, where they reflected on the week, discussed news related to the homeland and the diaspora, and gave each other updates on their respective projects. On a weekly basis, interns published blogs about their experience.
On the last day of the Internship Program, the interns reflected on their journey and discussed how they will continue to stay active with the ANCA-WR and engage in Armenian-American issues. Five of the interns will continue to conduct research on the projects they worked on during summer.
The ANCA-WR will soon welcome its Fall 2020 Interns, who are set to continue working remotely.
Established in summer 2006, the ANCA Western Region Internship Program is a selective part-time leadership program, which introduces 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 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.