UNITED NATIONS–The Armenian National Committee of America – Eastern Region sponsored internship at the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations successfully completed its four week program on July 29, 2011 in New York. This highly competitive and multifaceted internship consisted of working at the Mission of Armenia to the United Nations followed by a week-long series of lectures on some of the many issues facing the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian nation today.
This unique internship was made possible by the ANCA-ER UN Committee members which included Doug Geogerian, Garo Manjikian, Ani Tchaghlasian and led by Hrair Baronian. Ambassador Garen Nazarian, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, created a very effective and educational program at the UN to provide the most comprehensive experience for the interns during the three week period.
The ANCA-ER sponsored interns to the Armenian Mission to the UN for 2011 are Christine Maydossian from Canada, Garineh Ashjian from Massachusetts, Nathalie Demirjian from Florida, Nariné Atamian from New York and Sosse Beugekian from Massachusetts. These five interns prevailed in a highly competitive application process based on their levels of experience in the field of international relations, their outstanding academic achievements and involvement in the Armenian community.
The interns spent three weeks meeting with various agencies and missions to the United Nations including the Missions of Cyprus, Greece and Iran. They met with various representatives of the UN including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AID (UNAIDS), United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and others. The interns also attended high level meetings and debates on very important global topics including drug trafficking, children in armed conflict and international trade law.
Ambassador Nazarian also charged each intern to prepare a different report on various topics of importance to the Armenian nation. Topics included Armenian communities in the Middle East, domestic violence in Armenia, NGOs in Armenia, Armenia’s prospects for EU membership and others.
The ANCA-ER interns also had the honor in the last week of the internship to attend the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Youth – not as interns but as actual members of the Armenian delegation. Collectively this allowed the interns, all diasporan Armenians, the honor of representing the Republic of Armenia at a high level meeting – an honor and a privilege that they are certain to carry with them to the future.
The ANCA-ER interns also visited the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church in New York. The interns toured the Prelacy and learned about the mission and work of the Prelate. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan and His Grace Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian welcomed Ambassador Nazarian and the interns and discussed the internship, issues facing Armenia and their contributions to the future of our nation.
For the last week of the internship, the ANCA-ER organized a lecture series on pressing issues facing the Armenian Nation, Armenia, and the surrounding countries. These topics included Human rights and press freedom in the Caucasus nation states; Public Health, Education and Domestic Violence in Armenia; Javakh; and confiscation of Armenian churches in Turkey. The full list of topics and speakers is provided below.
The internship concluded with a warm farewell reception held in honor of the ANCA-ER interns at the Armenian Mission on Thursday evening, July 28. Ambassador Nazarian thanked the ANCA-ER for organizing the internship and directed congratulatory remarks to the interns. He went on to commend this successful collaboration between the Republic of Armenia and the Diaspora as an essential tool in building ever closer relations and understanding between the two. He presented each intern with a certificate thanking them for their contributions to the Armenian Mission. At the same farewell reception Ani Tchaghlasian thanked Ambassador Nazarian and the Armenian Mission for hosting the interns and wished the interns well in their future endeavors with the hope that they will utilize the experience gained in this internship to benefit the Armenian nation in the future.
After a busy and hectic four weeks, the interns left armed with knowledge, pride and a sense of responsibility to the Armenian nation. Nariné Atamian, one of the bright and dedicated interns, put it best “During our time at the Mission, we met and worked closely with diplomats and representatives from all over the world to learn about all of functions and roles that the UN and its affiliate organizations play in the world. We were able to work, discuss issues, and even receive direct advice and critiques from Ambassador Nazarian as well as a host of extremely talented Armenians working throughout the UN system. We were even afforded the opportunity to represent Armenia, as Delegates in the High Level Meeting on Youth during which Armenia spoke. Not only did I learn vast amounts about Armenia and its place in world politics and affairs, but I also was exposed to entirely new career options. I hope to pursue my interest in politics and diplomacy in the future, and I have this ANCA internship program to thank. On top of our wonderful time at the Armenian Mission and the UN, the lectures and discussions that ANCA organized were incredibly interesting, informative, and really did make me reevaluate my preconceived ideas about Armenia and commit myself even more strongly to working for Armenian causes. I may have learned the most, though, from discussions with my fellow interns. We all came from very different backgrounds and perspectives, and getting to speak to four bright and passionate Armenian women every day proved that ANCA and Armenia will have a strong set of new leaders in the future.”
Full list of speakers who participated in the lecture series:
Robert Avetissyan, Representative of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to the United States, provided an overview of the current status of negotiations for a peaceful settlement, economic, civil, electoral and infrastructure progress in Karabakh as well as demographic shifts.
Kristi Rendahl, who lived and worked in Armenia for five years and is a columnist for the Armenian Weekly, discussed her experiences as an “odar” in Armenia as well as providing valuable information about NGOs, what they do and what they have accomplished in Armenia.
Vazken Karapetyan, South Caucuses Cooperation Program Coordinator for the Eurasia Foundation discussed the work of Foundation in Armenia & the region.
Boris Navasardyan, President of Yerevan Press Club, discussed media freedom, neutrality & other media related issues in Armenia.
Jirayr Beujekian, Armenian Relief Society International Executive Director, discussed Javakhk Armenians, their history & current status.
Nellie Martirosyan discussed the education system in Armenia, improvements and shortfalls.
Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America, discussed Hai Tahd, advocacy and grassroots organization.
Kim Arzoumanian, professor at American University of Armenia, discussed public health concerns in Armenia.
Nanore Barsoumian, assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly discussed women’s rights issues in Armenia primarily focusing on domestic violence.
Khatchig Mouradian, editor of the Armenian Weekly discussed the destruction of Armenian Churches in Western Armenia dating back to the Hamidian massacres to modern day.
Hovann Simonian, editor of the authoritative book on the Hemshin, discussed Hemshin Armenians, their history and self-awareness.
Simon Maghakyan, Country Specialist for Amnesty International discussed human rights in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia.