GLENDALE, Calif.–As part of the 2007 Autumn Session of the Armenian National Committee-Western Region Internship-Externship Program, Rafi Orphali has learned a lot about civic engagement while working as a Public and Media Relations intern. While his primary responsibility as an intern was to help draft press releases covering ANC activities, he has also been in the thick of events as they were happening from working with fellow interns at this past September’s "Songs for Darfur" benefit concert, to assisting staff with media monitoring while the Armenian Genocide resolution was making its way through the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
At 16, Orphali is one of the youngest individuals to intern at the ANC-WR office, but this was not his first time working with the organization. During the summer of 2006 he volunteered at the office, an experience he credits with motivating him to apply for the program this year and helping prepare himself for the rigors of the program.
"When I volunteered last summer, I was fascinated with what the ANC does for the Armenian community," said Orphali. "Not only did I get to see what the organization did, but how students like me could help be a part of that," he added.
Orphali will also be incorporating his internship experience into his high school senior project. Dealing with the issue of civic engagement, Orphali will feature his fieldwork as an intern with the ANC-WR.
"Though the session is coming to an end soon, I look forward to staying involved. This program has given me the hands on experience and tools needed so I can jump right in and contribute through my local ANC," noted Orphali.
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 an intensive internship designed to provide an in-depth introduction to Armenian American issues as well as advocacy efforts on the federal, state and local level. The program hosts spring, summer and autumn sessions. You can find more information about the IEP by visiting http://www.anca.org/gateway/gateway_overview.php.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most nfluential Armenian American grassroots advocacy 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 advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.