BY SHANT HAGOPIAN
ANCA Leo Sarkisian Intern, 2007
It is an interesting thing, to take seven strangers from around the country, place them into an organization and expect great things from them. The ANCA had no warm-up for meI hit the ground running and it has been a great journey so far. In the four weeks that I have been here I have taken every role in the office that someone of my stature could possibly manage. From faxing, to copying, to drafting letters, to attending lectures, to creating a database, to writing reports on Congressional hearings, and everything in between.
My personal project is conducting research on 2008 presidential hopefuls to develop contacts, which will serve as a way for the Armenian Americans to get more involved in the presidential process and later give our community greater influence in the executive branch of government. For the last four weeks, I have been working on these assignmen’s, interacting with my housemates, my co-workers, and trying to fit into Washington, D.C.
I came to Washington because I have an interest in government affairs and I wanted to see where that fit in with advancing the Armenian Cause. I am studying to be a political science major at the University of California, Berkeley Campus and the idea of working within government always excited me. As I started working for the ANCA I realized that I was getting an up close and personal look at the kind of career I have been planning to pursue. I must admit that my aspirations of becoming a civil servant have strengthened with the experiences I have lived here. Furthermore, I plan to take my role as an ANC activist back home with me. As an intern, I have become embedded into this organization and its goals will always be what I will strive to advance using whatever any means I have wherever I go.
From day one, I could see the halls of the ANCA building filled with compassionate individuals who only know how to give their very best whenever they come to work. The people who work at the ANCA on a regular basis are nothing short of inspirational. Aram, Yeghso, Kate, Chris, Raffi, and Serouj are always working for Hai Tahdin and out of the office (and no, they are not paying me to say this). Their examples in turn excite me to become more passionate about my work from here and beyond.
In retrospect, there are ample experiences I have been privileged to participate in while I have been here. At the top of the list of the things I truly enjoyed has to be meeting Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and 3rd in line to the presidency. Aside from that, I have attended committee meetings; met with several Members of Congress; cheered supportive House members at the Congressional baseball game; celebrated H.Res.106 passing the 218 cosponsor milestone; and enjoyed the beauty of this city. There are so many things I am truly grateful to have been exposed to and I cannot wait for what each day will entail.
Unfortunately, I injured my knee approximately two weeks ago and have been in crutches ever since. For better or for worse, this has put me in an awkward position in which I must rely on my housematesindividuals I have only known for the time I have been here. However, between needing someone to go with me to the hospital or someone to bring me dinner, my housemates and I have taken a crash-course into friendship. When I was in need, they were there for me like I was a brother and at the end of the day I would not trade them for anyone else. Amongst our differences, whether they stem from political preference or to where we will dine for the evening, we come together around one Cause. We are first and foremost here Armenia’s Americans working for our nation. And that is why we are, indeed, brothers and sisters.