BY ARAM SUREN HAMPARIAN
Common sense and consensus.
Words you don’t often hear in connection with the Armenian American community.
But, all cynical and snarcky comments aside, by any fair reading of our situation, wisdom and unity represent two of our great and enduring strengths.
It’s far too often that some among us look outside our community for validation when, in reality, our own community is a treasure of wisdom, earned – often at great cost – during the trials of our long and hard history. We should give ourselves the credit we deserve.
In the same sense, some among us overlook the powerful consensus that we enjoy on our core challenges – like strengthening our homeland, defending Artsakh, and seeking justice for the Genocide. They choose, instead, to make a fetish of fixating on the normal differences that naturally exist in any robust and diverse community seeking to constructively address complex real-world challenges.
It’s a mistake to fall into either of these pity-party traps.
The truth is that our grassroots base, in addition to being the well-spring of our energy, is also the source of the common-sense insights and consensus issues that drive our common cause forward. Consider just one example that so very clearly reflects our community’s collective wisdom on a truly vital issue for the future of our nation: Our youth.
In just about every community I visit, I’ll hear something along these lines:
“You know, Aram, I believe in the ANCA’s work – and you can count on my continued support for our advocacy – but I think that the real key to moving our cause forward is getting more Armenians INSIDE the American political system.”
“Look, we’ve got no shortage of bright young Armenians.”
“Lobbying is important. But it’s behind closed doors, deep inside politics, government, and the media, that the real decisions are made.”
“Why don’t you work on that?”
It’s a good point, and an excellent question.
And I’m glad to say that the ANCA’s got a great answer!
The ANCA long ago accepted the profound truth of our community’s common-sense consensus that the success of our cause hinges in great measure on having more Armenian Americans working inside the American political system.
More importantly, we’ve taken this insight to heart, developing a world-class training and job-placement campaign, called the ANCA Capital Gateway Program.
And, we’ve produced real results by helping young Armenians start careers in government, politics, international affairs, and the media.
Here’s the simple formula: Our donors provide the finances. Our community provides the talented young Armenians. The ANCA provides free housing, resume-writing advice, interview training, professional networking, and key introductions. And the young Armenians provide the rest: hard-work, shoe-leather, and the talent, determination, and ambition to succeed. Learn more about this great program.
The ANCA Capital Gateway Program has helped Armenian Americans get started in dozens of U.S. Senate and House offices, as well as at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Congressional Quarterly, U.S. Department of Commerce, World Bank, U.S. Export-Import Bank, American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, American Lung Association, Booz Allen Hamilton, Central Asia and Caucasus Analyst, Chemonics International, Civilian Research and Development Foundation, Development Associates, Fleishman-Hilliard, Human Rights Campaign, Law and Media Group, Louis Berger, Political Media, Inc, and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Your generosity to ANCA Telethon 2012 on May 20th will allow us to open doors of opportunity to hundreds of new Armenian Americans to pursue full-time positions like these, as government and political leaders, journalists, foreign policy experts, and elected officials. Your financial support is vital to empowering our youth to realize their dreams and to strengthening our community’s voice in the nation’s capital.
There is no better investment in our future. With your financial support, we can build on our ground-breaking success, and do so much more, for our youth and for the future of the Armenian Cause.
We owe a special debt to the estate of the late Norair K. Deirmengian (Norman Miller) for his family’s profound generosity in support the Gateway Program, to the Cafesjian Foundation, which helped launch officially this innovative program in 2003, and, of course, to the vision and generosity of the family of the late Hovig Apo Saghdejian, who established a Memorial Fellowship in his sacred memory, and after whom the Capital Gateway House is named. We are, as well, appreciative of major gifts from the family of Frank and Barbara Hekimian and the Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford, Massachusetts.