PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – The Armenian National Committee for the Eastern Region of America (ANCA-ER) will recognize its 2021 summer interns as well as those who have participated in the ANCA Leo Sarkisian 2021 summer internship program at the 15th Annual NAFC Eastern Region Gala Saturday October 23 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. This year’s gala will include a cocktail party and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. and a dinner and awards program at 7:30 p.m.
“We look forward to honoring our youth at this year’s gala. They are the next generation of activists, and we are very proud of the work they and the former interns have done during their program and continue to do. We would like our former interns to come and support this class and have an LSI reunion photo. I know that meeting past and present interns will undoubtedly be an opportunity for our young people to see what their advocacy efforts can produce, ”said Steve Mesrobian, Board member of ANCA-ER.
Lori Baronian (NJ), Tvene Baronian (NJ) and Aram Brunson assisted ANCA-ER last summer by focusing on advocacy, legislative and state efforts as well as special projects, including the series on l empowerment and the eight advocacy workshops that culminated earlier this month.
Lori Baronian, a junior at the College of New Jersey, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She is an active member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), the Hamazkayin Nairi dance ensemble and the ANCA.
Tvene Baronian, a junior student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, plans to graduate with a major in Environmental Studies and a double minor in Entrepreneurial Studies and Writing. On campus, Tvene is a member of the Environmental Club, Campus Green Club, Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), Outdoor Recreation Adventure Program (ORAP), Sustainability Club, Koshare Dance Collective and Lacrosse Club. Her passion for her Armenian heritage drives her to participate in various voluntary organizations, including the AYF, the Hamazkayin Nayiri dance ensemble, Homenetmen and the ANCA. She enjoys singing, dancing, writing and drawing. She has a passion for music and has performed at Carnegie Hall, where she showed her love for Armenian opera.
Aram Brunson, an avid and active participant in his local Armenian community, is President of the AYF Hai Tahd Central Council and is currently a member of the “Ararat” chapter of AYF Chicago. He was previously a member of the Boston “Nejdeh” chapter and also often attended local ANC meetings in eastern Massachusetts. Outside of AYF, Brunson dances with the Hamazkayin dance ensemble “Sardarabad”. He is a member of the Illinois ANC and hopes to join the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) in the future. Brunson is a freshman at the University of Chicago, where he is studying political science.
Since this year was a remote internship experience, summer interns also had the opportunity to connect with LSI interns in the region. Mari Bijimenian, Garen Meguerditchian and Anais Boyajian joined seven other interns to explore the many sides of Washington, DC. The summer 2021 intern team played a key role in passing the bipartisan Pallone Amendment to the U.S. House Foreign Aid Bill for Fiscal Year 2022, with the goal of principal to reduce to zero American weapons and aid to Azerbaijan. Interns developed a better understanding of geopolitical challenges in Armenia and Artsakh, and explored career opportunities in politics, politics and media, throughout the summer and through their participation in a series of interactive speakers. The series consisted of discussions with Armenian-American diplomats, academics and professionals, including former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, Artsakh Representative to the United States Robert Avetisyan, and representatives of the United States. Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.
Boyajian, a second year student at Seton Hall University studying diplomacy and international relations, is actively working to restart the Armenian Students Association at her university. She was named Maral Melkonyan Avetisyan Fellow of the region, in honor of the longtime Armenian community advocate who made her home in the Eastern region.
Meguerditchian, a second year student with a double major in Applied Mathematics and Quantitative Economics at Tufts University, is active in the Tufts Armenian Club.
Bijimenian is a graduate of St. John’s University and studies sociology and philosophy. She is secretary of the “Hyortik” chapter of AYF New York and a member of the board of directors of ANC-NY.
Besides their group efforts, the interns also worked on their own projects throughout the eight weeks. Boyajian, Meguerditchian and Bijimenian worked closely with ANCA IT Director Nerses Semerjian to strengthen the outreach infrastructure of ANCA advocates and promote broader community contribution through letters, calls and tweets to inform lawmakers of Azerbaijan’s ongoing attacks on Artsakh and Armenia.
Founded in 1986, the ANCA LSI program is named after the late ANCA Eastern region community leader, Leo Sarkisian. LSI offers students in the eastern and western United States and Canada the opportunity to participate in an intensive eight-week program in Washington, DC, designed to equip them with the tools to advance the issues of concern the Armenian-American community at the federal, state and local levels. Now in its 35th year, the program has hundreds of alumni across the world.