GLENDALE, CA—Closing out the spring 2010 session with a presentation of the projects on which she worked, Tereza Yerimyan is the latest student to graduate from the Armenian National Committee-Western Region’s (ANC-WR) Internship-Externship Program (ANC-WR). A Little Armenia resident and second-year Political Science and Communications Studies student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Yerimyan learned about the program during a meeting of the UCLA Armenian Student Association in October 2009. Since then she has completed the regional program and has become involved with her local ANC in Hollywood.
“I participated in this program because I was concerned about the well-being of the Armenian American community in which I live,” notes Yerimyan. “I wanted to invest my time to better understanding organizations like the ANC that engage the community and help address issues of concern to us at all levels of government and in the community at-large.”
During the 14 week program Yerimyan specialized in community and government affairs, learning about Armenian American issues and how they are addressed in capitals such as Washington, DC and Sacramento as well as in district and community centers like the UCLA campus. In March, she organized students at UCLA to raise awareness about H.Res.252, the Armenian Genocide resolution which was adopted by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 4th. In April, she traveled to the California State Capitol where she participated in the 2010 Armenian Genocide commemoration events and met with state legislators to discuss issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
Yerimyan assisted her local ANC community in Hollywood reaching out to high school students and public officials. On campus at UCLA, she raised awareness regarding challenges to democratization in Turkey, especially its human rights record relating to its own minorities such as its continued state policy of Armenian Genocide denial, Turkish-Kurdish relations, and the continued closure of the Halki Seminary.
She organized and coordinated a community service project to compliment the Los Angeles area Armenian Genocide commemorations including that at City Hall. Working in partnership with the ANCs in Los Angeles and the Union Rescue Mission, Yerimyan led a team of volunteers to help feed the homeless and those less fortunate on April 23rd. The project was meant to honor of
the humanitarian support that victims of the Armenian Genocide received from America during the time of the genocide early last century.
As part of her externship requirement, Yerimyan earned an internship in the Los Angeles office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. While her internship with the ANC gave her insight into the Armenian American community issues, working in a public office gave her a greater appreciation of constituent relations and service to the community.
Over the course of the program, Yerimyan also became familiar with other organizations serving the Armenian American community such as the Committee for Armenian Students in Publics School (CASPS) and was invited to speak at their spring leadership conference for graduating high school seniors.
“I was able to build my leadership skills and learn about the ANC’s grassroots efforts to better the reputation and standing of Armenian American constituents in their respective districts,” says Yerimyan regarding her experience in the ANC-WR IEP. “I have a better understanding of the issues that surround our community and I am working to engage more young people to volunteer or intern for the ANC.”
Established in June 2006, the ANC-WR IEP is a selective and intensive program that provides student leaders and activists with an opportunity to participate in a program designed to provide an in-depth introduction to Armenian American issues as well as public affairs initiatives on the federal, state and local level. The program hosts spring, summer and autumn
sessions. The ANC-WR IEP’s summer session is set to begin on June 14th.
The Armenian National Committee-Western Region is the largest Armenian American grassroots community organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR works to promote understanding regarding issues of concern to the Armenian American community.