WASHINGTON—Armenian National Committee of America national and regional leaders concluded two days of policy-level consultations with key State Department officials and Members of Congress, as part of a nationwide advocacy campaign aimed at leveraging America’s political transition to advance a broad array of Armenian American policy priorities.
ANCA National Chairman Raffi Hamparian led the delegation, which included ANCA Eastern Region Chair Steve Mesrobian, ANCA Western Region Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. and national board member Ken Hachikian. They were joined by ANCA staff, including Government Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian. Among the policies advanced during their meetings were expanded U.S.-Armenia relations, security and freedom for the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), justice for the Armenian Genocide, and support and safety for Middle Eastern Christian communities. During each of these meetings, the ANCA also raised awareness about the upcoming April 21st release of the Armenian Genocide-era epic film, “The Promise.”
“During this time of national transition, it’s particularly important for our community to remain actively engaged, holding policy discussions with Administration officials, exploring legislative strategies with senior Senators and Representatives, and expanding our cooperation with our coalition partners,” noted ANCA National Board Member and ANCA-ER Chair Steve Mesrobian.
“Working, on a bipartisan basis, our local chapters, regional leaders, and Washington office are leaning in to the new realities of our nation’s capital, creatively and concretely advancing the full array of Armenian American policy priorities – a strong Armenia, a free Artsakh, and a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” noted ANCA WR Chair Nora Hovsepian.
At the State Department, the ANCA held policy meetings with officials responsible for a range of regional areas and issues, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bridget Brink, who is responsible for the Caucasus, among other regions, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mark Libby, who plays a lead role in handling U.S.-Turkey relations. On Capitol Hill, the ANCA leadership met with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, the Chairman and Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (D-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), respectively, House Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Brad Sherman (D-CA), and the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Human Rights Karen Bass (D-CA). They also consulted with the bipartisan Co-Chairs of the Armenian Caucus including Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Trott (R-MI) and David Valadao (R-CA). Meetings were also held with Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who led the unanimous passage of H.Con.Res 75 in the previous Congress, a measure, backed by the ANCA, that condemned the genocide against Christians, Yezidis and other minorities in the Middle East.
ANCA leaders held a working dinner with the senior leadership and staff of In Defense of Christians, led by President Toufic Baaklini, to discuss expanding efforts to address the ongoing violence against Christian and other minority communities in the Middle East. The ANCA joined with IDC in co-hosting their 2016 convention, which brought together hundreds of citizen advocates from across the U.S. in support of a broad range of issues, including the protection of Christian communities in the Middle East and U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide.