LOS ANGELES–Pilibos School Administrators and students warmly welcomed US Ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans on February 17. Accompanying the Ambassador were Mrs. Evans–Mr. Robin Phillips–Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Armenia–Eugenia Sidereas–Desk Officer for Armenia at the US Department of State–and Aaron Sherinian–Political Officer of the US Embassy in Armenia. Rubina Peroomian and Armineh Hacopian–both members of the Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian Schools–were also present at the reception.
School principal Dr. Viken Yacoubian welcomed the Ambassador and thanked him for taking the time to visit Pilibos Armenian School. Working around a tight schedule full of community visits–Ambassador Evans met with the students in a town hall setting in the gymnasium.
Prior to introducing the Ambassador to the students–Dr. Yacoubian briefly spoke about the Ambassador’s diplomatic career and background. In highlighting key points in his career–Dr. Yacoubian mentioned that the Ambassador has served in various diplomatic posts in Europe and the Middle East. A career diplomat for more than 20 years–the Ambassador speaks various languages and is actively learning Eastern Armenian.
Ambassador Evans began his speech in Armenian by telling students that it is an honor for him to be present at Pilibos. "I am delighted to be present at this fine academic institution," stated the Ambassador in Armenian.
He also extended his congratulatory remarks on the school’s 35th anniversary occasion. Speaking briefly about the purpose of his visit to the US–the Ambassador explained bilateral relations between the United States and the Republic of Armenia. During the past decade–the Ambassador noted–relations between the two countries have firmly solidified–specifically the economic and military relationship between the two countries.
Ambassador Evans then welcomed questions from the students–who asked a wide array of questions ranging from the Armenian genocide to Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) between the US and Armenia. Ambassador Evans’ explanation regarding the Armenian genocide and its proper recognition was very positive and encouraging at a personal level. He noted–"I am proud to announce that 37 states have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide." The Ambassador is well read in Ottoman history and the Armenian genocide.
The Ambassador highlighted that the implementation of PNTR lifts unnecessary trade taxation and further strengthens the trade relations between the US and the Republic of Armenia.
After the town hall discussion–Dr. Yacoubian led Ambassador Evans to the Ark Library. Ambassador Evans and his delegation were awestruck by the state-of-the-art library and the environment it creates for learning and growth. Ambassador Evans signed a copy of the Pilibos yearbook and left several US Embassy bookmarks for students.