Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday, February 7, 2008, Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) Executive Director Antranig Kzirian met with Chamlian students to discuss the current political situation in Javakhk. Armenians are the third largest ethnic minority in Georgia, and Javakhk, located in the southern portion of Georgia, has remained historically Armenian in terms of population. Armenians tend to be underrepresented in all spheres of public life and experience rampant discrimination and treatment as second-class citizens.
“Connecting with students is an important part of our work at the ANC-WR,” stated Kzirian. “The plight of the Armenians of Javakhk is an issue about which we must educate our communities. A special focus on schools is necessary to ensure that future generations are fully aware of the oppression that Armenians face in Javakhk,” he added.
Speaking to over 100 Chamlian students and teachers, Kzirian discussed what Armenians in Javakhk face on a daily basis, including difficulty finding jobs, language restrictions and oppressive governmental policies related to cultural sustenance and overall hardship. Kzirian also noted the importance of the Baku – Ceyhan pipeline as it passes through an area of Georgia that is in close proximity to Javakhk. Taking questions from the student audience, Kzirian described the other ethnic conflicts that have taken place in Georgia, including the regions of Abkhazia, Ajaria and Ossetia, among others.
“We appreciate the work of the ANC-WR in raising awareness of issues like Javakhk,” stated Armenian Department Co-Chairperson Saro Nazarian. “We hope to continue talks like this for our student body to get the very latest in information on issues that matter to the community,” he added.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo caption #1: A map of the Javakhk region of Georgia in relation to the rest of the Caucasus.
Photo caption #2: ANC-WR Executive Director Antranig Kzirian discusses the plight of Javakhk Armenians with Chamlian students and teachers.