WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian American community and religious leaders from throughout the United States joined with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian for the inauguration, on October 21st, of the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) new national headquarters.
The centrally located, state of the art building provides the ANCA with a permanent home in the heart of the nation’s capital and a powerful platform from which to further expand the role that Armenian Americans play in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy.
The blessing of the headquarters by Armenian Church leaders and the formal ribbon cutting ceremony were preceded by a reception at the nearby Beacon Hotel. In his welcoming remarks, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian recognized the many dignitaries present, and greeted the establishment of a new headquarters as a major milestone in the growth, progress and reinvention of the Armenian Cause.
During his moving remarks, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian stressed the importance of cooperation between the Armenian government and the Diaspora on regional issues, democratic and economic development, and the strengthening of the U.S.-Armenia relationship. Welcoming the establishment of the new ANCA headquarters, he shared that, “This organization is very close to my heart and I want to thank all those people, whom I consider to be real visionaries, who donated to this building because this organization – simply judging from the work they have done and the results they have achieved – has absolutely outgrown the space that they were operating from. They deserve this building, they deserve a better space, so that they can do more work.”
ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian offered thanks to the more than 10,000 individual donors who made the purchase of the new building possible, noting that, “We are not simply an organization that is able to call upon the wealth of a few, but rather we are an organization that calls upon the grassroots . . . without their involvement, their participation – morally and financially – we cannot be successful.” Hachikian specifically highlighted the generosity of a number of prominent donors, including Mr. and Mrs. Manas and Donnalee Boujikian, Mr. and Mrs. Khachig and Elo Mouradian, Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Houri Melkonian, The Aramian Irrevocable Trust, and the Lincy Foundation, who made the purchase of the ANCA Headquarters and the expansion of key programs possible through contributions of $100,000 or more.
In what proved to be the most poignant and moving remarks of the day, Ms. Jocelyn Micolucci, beloved daughter of Mrs. Margaret Aramian Ragan, and niece to Martha Aramian and Sue Aramian, spoke of the important role of the ANCA in maintaining the connection between Armenian generations. She stressed the importance of the generation of Armenian Genocide survivors – represented by her own grandparents Ghazar and Nevart Aramian – remaining connected to their families through a shared devotion to the Armenian Cause. “I am very pleased with this organization, as it is extremely important for not just my generation but that of my children and their children, to understand who and what my Medzhayrig and my Medzmayrig were, and what we are as a people,” explained Ms. Micolucci, who was joined by her husband Louis at the ANCA building inauguration.
Following the reception, the building was formally blessed by Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern U.S., Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Western U.S., Armenian Apostolic Church of America Diocesan Legate Bishop Vicken Aykazian, and Father Sarkis Aktavoukian of Soorp Khatch Armenian Church in Washington, DC. After the formal ribbon cutting by Foreign Minister Oskanian and ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, all in attendance were treated to tours of the new building.
Among the Armenian government officials joining Minister Oskanian at the opening were Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakossian and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S, Tatoul Markarian. The Very Rev. Rene Levonian and Dikran Youmshakian represented the Armenian Missionary Association of America. The Armenian Relief Society was represented as was the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Association, Homenetmen Armenian Athletic and Scouting Organization and the Armenian Youth Federation.
The new ANCA headquarters was purchased in February to reinforce the presence and expand the political power of Armenian Americans in the United States. The four-story building, formerly owned by AOL founder Steve Case, is located near prestigious Embassy Row, blocks from the White House and the nation’s leading think tanks. The newly renovated structure features the latest in computer, communications, and networking technology.