WASHINGTON, DC – ANCA Leo Sarkisian interns sat down with recently appointed Armenian Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Tatoul Markarian and Nagorno Karabagh Representative to the U.S., Mr. Vardan Barseghian on separate occasions over the past several weeks to discuss a range of foreign policy issues facing the two countries, as well as efforts to strengthen existing bilateral relations with the United States, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) The meetings were part of an intensive lecture series designed to provide ANCA interns insights and tools in effectively promoting Armenian American concerns in Washington, DC and in their hometowns.
ANCA interns Khajak Boghossian, Felicia Garver, Talin Gregorian, Nazareth Markarian and Tamar Meguerditchian were joined by summer program coordinator Megan Young in their meeting and tour of the Armenian Embassy on Friday, July 15th. Questions were directed toward both Ambassador Markarian and his Assistant on Press and Public Affairs, Haik Gugarats, concerning U.S.-Armenia relations, Armenia’s application for Millennium Challenge Account funds, as well as the current status of the Nagorno Karabagh peace talks, among other issues. Interns were particularly interested in developing stronger Diasporan-Armenia relations, focusing on the role of youth in strengthening Armenian-American ties with their ancestral homeland.
“I appreciate your interest and commitment toward Armenia and Armenian issues,” commented Ambassador Markarian, following the discussion. “I know that you will play an active role in forging Armenia’s future. Armenia is home to all Armenians and every Armenian can make a difference there.”
Amb. Markarian was appointed Armenian Ambassador to the United States on March 19, 2005. He previously served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, where he was the Armenian coordinator for the U.S.-Armenia Strategic Dialogue as well as the NATO-Armenia Political-Military Dialogue. In 2002-2003, Ambassador Markarian was Special Representative of the President of Armenia for Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations. Also, previous diplomatic assignments of Ambassador Tatoul Markarian included a term as Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister-Counselor at the Armenian Embassy in Washington, DC from December 1994 to January 1999.
The ANCA interns had an opportunity to focus closely on the Nagorno Karabagh peace process during their meeting with the Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in the United States, Mr. Vardan Barseghian on July 25th. Barseghian, joined by staff members Aram Avetisyan and Luiza Sargsyan, gave a historical overview of Nagorno Karabagh and updated the interns about current day domestic and foreign policy concerns. Again, discussion focused on the youth role in international efforts to finding a just and lasting resolution of the conflict, which ensures the right to self-determination for the people of Karabagh.
“I welcome your interest in Artsakh and encourage you to continue contributing to this historic effort of building a strong, secure and prosperous Homeland – Armenia and Artsakh,” said Barseghian.
Barseghian was appointed Permanent Representative of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in the USA in 1999. Prior to his service in Washington, DC, Barseghian had worked with the Stepanakert offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. From 1996-1997, he served as assistant to the NKR Foreign Minister.
“Prior to coming to the Leo Sarkisian internship, each of us had read about Armenian and Karabagh foreign policy,” explained Naz Markarian. “The first-hand insights of Amb. Markarian and Mr. Barseghian helped place what we had previously learned into perspective and provided a better understanding of how foreign policy is shaped and presented.”
“I am eager to go back to my community and share with them my experiences and meetings with the Armenian Ambassador and Karabagh Representative,” noted Taline Gregorian. “The role of youth in strengthening ties between Diasporan Armenians and the Homeland is an important one. Amb. Markarian and Mr. Barseghian encouraged and inspired each of us to take action.”
Now in its 21st year, the Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship has brought together interns from across the nation and Canada, providing them an opportunity to hone their grassroots activism skills by attending seminars, participating in an intensive lecture series and working on specifically designated projects, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) The eight-week program is geared to provide proven student leaders with the skills they need to effectively advance Armenian American concerns in their hometowns and campuses around the country.
The interns were chosen by the ANCA Eastern and Western Region Boards, from a pool of applicants, based on leadership and academic merit. The Leo Sarkisian Internship Program is an integral part of the ANCA Capital Gateway Program, which provides Armenian Americans greater opportunities to explore careers on Capitol Hill, in the U.S. Foreign Service and key Washington, DC foreign policy think tanks. Now approaching its third year, that year-round program is designed to help university students and graduates find internships and permanent positions in Congressional offices, government agencies and policy groups by providing temporary housing and assistance in transitioning from student to professional.