ANCA-WR Summer Internship: Week 4

BY: Christine Almadjian

GCC, Political Science & International Relations

On Monday, we were pleased to have Assemblywoman Laura Friedman with us. Alongside her Field Representative Victoria Dochoghlian, the interns were able to hear about the structure and function of her duties. Since Asm. Friedman is responsible for representing a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities in a handful of cities, it was incredibly informative to hear about how she applies inclusivity in all aspects of her work in Sacramento. Some of the questions posed by the interns included those on police reform, lobbying, and COVID- 19 relief efforts. Towards the end of the presentation, the interns also had a chance to meet her dog who greeted everyone on Zoom.

On Tuesday, the interns were honored to the Executive Director of ANC Australia, Haig Kayserian join us. During this call, we were able to understand how important Armenian outreach within smaller communities is, and just how intertwined we really are. Some efforts pointed out by Haig were those of relief centers for Armenian refugees, internship opportunities, and legislative action potentials regarding Artsakh’s recognition. We were beyond thrilled to have a chance to learn more about advocacy work undertaken throughout Australia and also asked him questions about the Armenian community in New Zealand, how the process of passing bills work, and the importance of lobbying. 

We kicked-off Wednesday with a 21st birthday (quarantine and internship edition). Happy Birthday to Moss! Shortly after, we were given a wonderful presentation by Shaunt Kevork, the Chair of ANCA Professional Network. He gave us insights regarding networking, setting up professional outreach on LinkedIn, and the importance of establishing reliability and connections within the professional network. The interns were then able to ask advice on how to set up a successful LinkedIn profile, develop a professional image, and foster enduring connections. 

The interns checked in on Thursday to another birthday! Happiest birthday to our program director and mentor Verginie, as we are beyond happy to have her alongside us and appreciate her guidance. We were joined by Alik Ourfalian, a graduate student pursuing international law who has devoted her interest to the study of Artsakh conflict. She shared a powerpoint presentation with us that went into an in-depth explanation about notions like territorial integrity, rights to self-determination, and what can be done to promote impactful affirmation of Artsakh’s independent status internationally. 

Friday was our traditional check-in session, which allowed us all to unpack and speak a bit about the week we experienced, both outside and within the internship. It was also Martin’s birthday, and we wish him the happiest one on his flight to Hawaii! 

The interns discussed the presentations, how interesting and compelling they all were, and what to expect of the upcoming week. We were also able to discuss the projects each of us are working on with our assigned supervisors, and how they related to the guest speakers’ presented topics. Whether this ranges from our interns working within the Education Committee to the Professional Network, all projects have been so informative and are worked on very efficiently. 

I have the honor of working beside Anna Azaryan, under the supervision of ANCA-WR Government Affairs Director, Arsen Shirvanyan on Education related initiatives and on the HyeCount campaign, to encourage the Armenian community to complete the Census by marking themselves Armenian on the questionnaire.