WASHINGTON—Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and long-time Armenian Genocide Resolution champion Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) were among the Congressional leaders the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Leo Sarkisian Interns (LSI) reached out to last week to learn more about efforts to address key Armenian American concerns on Capitol Hill.
“Meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill and learning first-hand about the opportunities and challenges we face in advancing community concerns is a key part of the LSI summer program,” explained ANCA Legislative Director Raffi Karakashian. “We appreciate that Representatives Pallone and Schiff took the time to discuss initiatives to strengthen the U.S.-Armenia relationship, ensure the right to self-determination for the people of Karabagh, and secure justice for the Armenian Genocide—and, in particular, for their insights into the special role that student leaders play in advancing these efforts.”
The interns started the week with a meeting with Schiff where they discussed his leadership role in reaffirming the U.S. record on the genocide, and the key role he plays on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations in support of maintaining high levels of U.S. assistance to Armenia and Karabagh.
“It was a pleasure to meet with a great group of students who are interning for the Armenian National Committee of America this summer, including two of my constituents from Hollywood and Glendale,” said Schiff. “I commend ANCA for its important role in helping to train the next generation of leaders within the Armenian community.”
Schiff tweeted and posted a photo on his Facebook page after the meeting.
The interns later held a meeting with Pallone, where the focus of discussion was Azerbaijan’s increased war rhetoric, recent attacks against Armenia and Karabagh, and the practical steps that are being taken to challenge the Aliyev regime’s threat to regional stability.
“It was uplifting seeing Rep. Pallone speak so clearly regarding Azerbaijan’s threat to peace and stability in the South Caucasus, and having the opportunity to exchange views on the current geopolitical issues in the region,” said Armen Sahakyan, a constituent from Morganville, N.J. “President Aliyev should be clearly condemned for his attacks against Armenia and Artsakh, as Rep. Pallone has done on repeated occasions.”
The LSI interns also had the chance to meet briefly with leading Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and her staffer Ariana Reks. In addition, they had a formal meeting with Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) aide, Ryan Sellinger, where they discussed the ANCA Capital Gateway Program and potential job and internship opportunities on Capitol Hill.
The ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program is an eight-week intensive program designed to give students and activists the tools necessary to effectively advance Armenian American concerns on campus and in their local communities. It is an integral part of the ANCA Capital Gateway program, a year-round internship/job placement service that provides Armenian Americans with greater opportunities to explore careers on Capitol Hill, in the administration, the media, and foreign policy think tanks.
Community members can follow the ANCA interns throughout the next eight weeks through photos and blog postings on the ANCA Facebook page (facebook.com/ancagrassroots) and on anca.org, asbarez.com, and armenianweekly.com.