BY WILLIAM BAIRAMIAN
The United States is a big country – and it has Armenians strewn across every single state.
Despite the strength of Armenian Americans on the national political stage, there aren’t any events that allow all politically motivated members of the community to congregate in one place to discuss the future of our efforts – except one. The ANCA Leadership Conference, hosted by the ANCA National Headquarters is the only such event.
It is the premiere occasion event where Armenian American activists can gather to learn about the challenges the Armenian Cause faces and an opportunity for them to discuss, face to face, ways to improve the approach to our work.
In the past half century, a lot has changed for Armenians. An independent Armenian state was founded. An historic Armenian land was fought for and regained by the brave sons and daughters of the Armenian nation. The Armenian Genocide went from the brink of being forgotten in many places and denied in others to being discussed on the international stage, with nary a serious denier to be found today.
These developments didn’t happen by accident – activists made them happen. Whether they were declaring independence in Armenia, fighting for independence in Artsakh, or bringing the issue of justice for the Armenian Genocide to the fore, activists were the ones who accepted the personal responsibility of advancing the Armenian Cause.
Now, as the Cause has reached a crossroads, active and powerful but facing resurgent enemies with financial resources greater than that of all Armenians combined, it must change to adapt to the current environment. That’s why the ANCA has entitled this year’s Leadership Conference “Armenian Cause 2.0.”
It’s all about the direction to take, learning from the great successes and the occasional shortcomings, while using the community’s potential resources – financial, human and, especially, technological – to forcefully promote the Cause and to unapologetically stand up for what’s right.
This conference is for every Armenian American. The decisions made in Congress are affected by constituents on the ground in their districts and those decisions in turn affect everyone. We as a community must be better prepared to confront the challenges that we will undoubtedly face in the near and distant futures.
We have been fortunate to have dedicated leaders, activists, and benefactors to clear the path over the past decades. Now, with a large, more widely educated, and better integrated Diaspora, we have to seize the power that is ours for the taking. There is no better way to learn how to do this than to hear it from the seasoned veterans of the Armenian Cause while meeting the new generation of leaders who will carry the mantle for the coming many decades.
Do not wait for next time. Armenia can’t wait. Arstakh can’t wait. Javakhk can’t wait. Justice for the Genocide can’t wait. Go to Washington, DC and come back to your community with a renewed vigor and the skills necessary to take the Armenian Cause to the next level – 2.0.
To read more about the conference and to register, visit here.