WASHINGTON, DC—Hundreds of advocates from New England to the Midwest, from the South to the East Coast and around the U.S. came together at the Westin Arlington Gateway hotel to celebrate the accomplishments of the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) in the past year and to chart the way forward. Entitled “We Are #ArtsakhStrong,” the banquet focused on the ANCA’s ongoing efforts in support of the status, security, and development of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), as the country marks the 25th anniversary of its independence.
The banquet, sponsored by the ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund, began with an elegant cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and enthralling awards ceremony on Saturday, December 3. Tigran Safaryan and the Safaryan Family of Columbus, OH were the official sponsors of the evening gala.
“After nine years of successful events hosted in our East Coast and Midwest communities, we continue the record in the Nation’s Capital. The banquet spotlighted our grassroots activism and the expansion of a broad range of ANCA-ER projects throughout the region, including our wide-ranging fieldwork undertaken throughout the year,” said ANCA Eastern Region Chairman Stephen Mesrobian. “Our banquet committee and subcommittees worked hard to organize an unforgettable evening dedicated to the committed and passionate community advocates who work tirelessly day and night fighting for Artsakh’s freedom, justice for the Baku and Sumgait pogroms, strengthening U.S.-Armenia strategic partnership, organizing Armenian Genocide commemorations, and much more.”
Emceed by internationally renowned photojournalist and author Scout Tufankjian, the 10th annual banquet included a diverse group of distinguished honorees.
2016 ANCA-ER Freedom Award
This year the ANCA-ER honored Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan, Senator-elect Christopher Van Hollen, Jr., and Senator Mark Kirk with its highest honor, the prestigious Freedom Award presented annually to individuals for their commitment to freedom, truth, and justice for the Armenian Nation.
Past recipients of the ANCA-ER Freedom Award include Former House Majority Whip David Bonior; lawyer, writer, and human rights activist Fethiye Çetin; renowned lawyer Robert Morgenthau and the Morgenthau Family; U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John M. Evans; Pulitzer Prize winning author and current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Samantha Power; U.S. Senator Robert Menendez; the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy; former U.S. Senator Robert Dole; former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole; and Baroness Caroline Cox.
2016 ANCA-ER Impact Award
Dr. Levon Avdoyan of the Library of Congress and Dr. Roger Smith of the College of William and Mary were bestowed with the 2016 ANCA-ER Impact Award, which is presented to individuals for the demonstrated dedication and significant impact made towards the advancement of the Armenian Cause.
2016 ANCA-ER Vahan Cardashian Award
Named for Yale-educated lawyer Vahan Cardashian, the ANCA-ER Cardashian Award is presented annually to individuals for longstanding activism and dedication to the Armenian Cause. This year’s honorees included John Jerikian, Levon Palian, and Tom Vartabedian (in memoriam).
Past recipients of the ANCA Vahan Cardashian Award include Armen Topouzian of Michigan, Alice Movsesian of New Jersey, Vahe Amirian of New Jersey, Martha Aramian of Rhode Island, Bedros Bandazian of Virginia, Melanie Kerneklian of Virginia, Tatul Sonentz-Papazian of Massachusetts, Ruth Thomasian of Massachusetts, Stephen Dulgarian of Massachusetts, Professor Richard Hovannisian of California, and Zohrab Tazian of Indiana.
This year’s banquet was the anchor event for a weekend full of activities, including the first ever reunion of ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship and Capital Gateway Program alumni. The reunion, marking the 30th Anniversary of the Leo Sarkisian Internship (LSI), held in conjunction with the annual ANCA Christmas Party took place on Friday, December 2nd at the ANCA Aramian House. LSI program alumni from various years travelled to Washington, DC to take part in this special event kicking-off the weekend festivities.
The weekend also featured an ANCA-ER Special Briefing hosted at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia on Saturday, December 3. Speakers included Ambassador of Armenia to the U.S., H.E. Grigor Hovannissian; Permanent Representative of Artsakh to the U.S. and Canada, H.E. Robert Avetisyan; photojournalist and author Ms. Scout Tufankjian; and The Genocide Education Project’s Roxanne Makasdjian. Addressing a capacity audience, the speakers touched upon many important projects and initiatives geared towards further advancing policy priorities of the Armenian Nation.
The Brunch Seminar held at the ANCA Washington DC Headquarters on Sunday, December 4th concluded the weekend activities, with the participants exchanging ideas and best-practices on how to most effectively advance Hai Tahd in local communities as well as nationally.
To make a donation to the ANCA Eastern Region, CLICK HERE.
To watch the 2016 ANCA-ER “Together, We are Artsakh Strong” video, CLICK HERE.
For Friday evening photos, CLICK HERE.
For Banquet photos, CLICK HERE.
The ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization that supports the ANCA Eastern Region in outreach to Armenian-American communities.