Farewell ANCA Conference Room… Farewell Starbucks around the Corner…
BY DZOVAK KAZANDJIAN
Farewell hot muggy weather (actually, good riddance…). Farewell DC Hai Tahd team… Farewell fellow interns (little tear in the eye…) It is my eighth week here in Washington D.C, which can only mean one thing: the "Leo Sarkisian" internship has sadly met its end. As the internship comes to a close and we prepare to go back to are respective communities, I can’t help thinking back to everything that we have accomplished during our eight week stay in D.C. On the one hand, I feel that there is so much more to do and learn- but going back and thinking about the work that we have done on a daily basis, I realize that we have accomplished a great deal. In our two-month stay, we’ve learned how to lobby effectively, speak to Members of Congress and their staff members, reach out to Armenian-American and mainstream media, along with a great number of other tools necessary to further the Armenian Cause.
The internal conflict I felt about the work that I had accomplished here during the internship helps me understand how a grassroots organization such as the ANCA functions. The ANCA deals with the ongoing process of furthering the interests of Armenian Americans, which means there is not a moment of rest. Whether it is pressuring the U.S government to withdraw their nomination of genocide denier Richard Hoagland as U.S Ambassador to Armenia, or to gain recognition and cosponsors for the Armenian Genocide Resolution, there is always work to be done in the Hai Tahd office.
Looking back, I realize the work that ANCA carries out is an ongoing process that is driven by passion and dedication. The DC, West Coast and East Coast teams and ‘s most importantly ‘s the tens of thousands of unsung heroes in communities across the U.S. who dedicate countless hours to Hai Tahd. As I finish off my last week at the D.C office, I realize that I too have discovered a passion that I found so intriguing within everyone that I listed off. Although I was involved in the ANC of South Bay prior to starting this internship, I have discovered a whole new level of commitment since being here. Being around people who show such dedication is inspiring, and I know that when I go back to my own community, I will be much more effective than I was before coming to D.C.
The "Leo Sarkisian" internship has exposed me to so many opportunities; I’ve been able to sit through House committee meetings and briefings, meet with a handful of Members of Congress, and work directly with constituents in order to gain more cosponsors. We’ve been provided a number of lectures, each distinctly different, yet all aimed to extend our knowledge about Hai Tahd and the American politics.
This was the 23rd year of the "Leo Sarkisian" internship program, and I know that it will last for at least another 23 years. I’ll be leaving Washington D.C as a much more knowledgeable and passionate person, and I feel confident that upon my return to Los Angeles, I’ll be an essential tool for the Hai Tahd team. I would definitely recommend the program to anyone who has the slightest interest in helping the Armenian-American community; you will leave D.C. a passionate, dedicated and prepared soldier ready to fight for the Armenian Cause.
So Farewell D.C… . and HELLO A LIFETIME OF HAI TAHD ACTIVISM!