Reflections from a Summer of Advocacy
BY TALEEN NAZARIAN
University of California, Irvine, Class of 2020
ANCA-WR Summer Intern 2018
As the ANCA-WR Summer Internship comes to a close, I can’t help but relive the first day of my internship, where I was asked what I hoped to take away from this internship. I answered stating, “This internship was an opportunity to give back the Armenian community and to encourage the Armenian youth to become more active and engaged in politics.” I wanted to be able to contribute to a change, no matter how large or small, that would affect the Armenian Cause and as I look back on the past ten weeks of my internship, I have done just that.
From the moment that my fellow interns and I began this internship, our work focused on a wide array of matters, including creating educational presentations about ANCA initiatives, conducting research and creating fact sheets about important matters and achievements in the Armenian community, meeting with elected officials, attending community events, and among many others. In our efforts to engage with the younger generation, we attended the Homenetmen Navasartian Games, where we educated the community about the work of the ANCA, registered young voters, and encouraged them to sign up for our Rapid Responder program.
During certain weeks of the internship, we were assigned with the task of going up to AYF Camp to present an educational about the ANCA and the work that we do. In the days leading up to the educational, we strived to create an educational that would prove to be both informative and interactive and after multiple attempts, we were able to come up with an engaging presentation that we hoped would grasp the attention of the campers.After breaking them off into groups, we gave them a scenario, in which they would put themselves in the shoes of important political figures who were attempting to create a nation from scratch during the creation of the First Republic of Armenia in 1918. They were given the responsibility of creating a new set of laws, outlining freedoms, and designing a new flag. To watch this younger generation of Armenians so driven by Armenia’s recent Velvet Revolution to create a democratic and independent Armenia, where the voice of the people is valued and considered, was incredibly inspirational and gave me hope for the future of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.
In addition, throughout the 10 weeks, we had the opportunity to meet with elected officials. The impact they have had on the Armenian community here in America as well as the impact they have had on policies in Armenia and Artsakh showed me the value of policymaking and the tremendous contribution it can make to society. Each elected official we met shared their personal story of how they first got involved into politics; many stated that the positions they held, whether it was in city council or state assembly, was something they never imagined doing in the first place. For that reason, they told us that the goals we set out for ourselves, no matter how far-fetched they may seem, can be attainable and to always shoot for the stars.
The past ten weeks of this internship have proven to be exactly what it aimed to be: the opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of politics and policy making by meeting with politicians and important figures in the Armenian community and through a multitude of workshops aimed to further improve our skills in networking, public speaking, and leadership.
I am so grateful to have been accepted in such an honorable internship program, where I had the opportunity to learn and grow professionally and become exposed to vast work the ANCA carries out to bring about substantial change and impact the Armenian Cause. I am now confident in myself that I have the skills necessary to bring about change that will help bring further achievements to the Armenian Cause.