Eastern Region activists Nieri Avanessian and Zori Eurdekian reflect on their experiences

June 23, 2008

Washington, DC- After last week’s excitement of House and Senate hearings, Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCAER) Leo Sarkisian Interns, Nieri Avanessian and Zori Eurdekian, reflect on their new experiences and first week in Washington, DC.

“We are excited, confident, and honored that Nieri and Zori will experience working to help advance the Armenian cause by interning for the ANCA this summer. Both activists exhibit strong skills in the political arena and have shown vast commitment to their Armenian heritage,” commented ANCA ER Executive Director Karine Birazian.

Nieri Avanessian is a Michigan native who completed her freshman year at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor as an English & political science major. Active in various organizations including the University of Michigan Armenian Students Cultural Association, the Armenian Youth Federation, the Hamazkayin Dance Ensemble, and the University of Michigan Arts Chorale, Avanessian has already shown strong leadership roles and efforts to help advance the Armenian cause while interning with the ANCA.

After being accepted to the internship, Avanessian stated: “I applied to this internship program to gain a more intimate knowledge of the American government and the way that lobbying groups affect it. I really hope to make a big difference in the Armenian cause and I think that by working in Washington, D.C. with the ANCA, I can accomplish that.” Following her first week, in her weekly journal, she reflected, “Being involved in Hai Tahd is great no matter where you are, but when you’re in Washington, DC, in the thick of it all, it is just that much more personal and close to your heart.”

Along with helping with day-to-day office activities, Avanessian will be researching U.S. aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and the Millennium Challenge Account. Having an opportunity to already hear from Ara Hovsepyan the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account-Armenia, Avanessian is enthusiastic about working on this project.

Zori Eurdekian, born and raised in New York, is currently a junior at Babson College. Heavily involved with school campus affairs, including the Babson Campus Activities Board, the Babson Armenian Student Association, and the Babson Admissions Assistant Program, Eurdekian is a team player, even sacrificing attending the House Hearing on the Caucasus this past Wednesday to assist at the ANCA office.

In his personal statement in applying for the internship program, Eurdekian stated, “As Armenian Americans, we should be proactive by working within the American political system. I am hoping the ANCA summer internship program will help give me the tools and the knowledge to work within the system and introduce me to the ways of how policies are shaped and influenced. I am also hoping to meet other American Armenians from different regions of the country to establish a network of lifelong friends with common goals and ambitions.”

Reflecting on week one of the Leo Sarkisian Internship, Eurdekian commented, “After a successful, informative, and enjoyable first week, I am more enabled and capable of carrying out the mission of the ANCA. I look forward to working with all the interns, ANCA staff, and all the Capitol Hill staff in the upcoming weeks.”

Eurdekian will be working with the ANCA staff in helping to send out and collect ANCA 2008 Questionnaires for the upcoming House and Senate races.

Last year’s Eastern Region interns, Nyree Naljian and Alidz Oshagan, have been called upon by ANCA ER Executive Director Karine Birazian to become active and help guide Avanessian and Eurdekian through their own experiences from interning with the ANCA in 2007. Both graduates of the LSI Program will offer guidance and help to all the LSI participants.

Now in its 24th year, the ANCA LSI Program provides student leaders and activists an opportunity to participate in an intensive 8-week program designed to give them the tools necessary to effectively advance issues of concern to the Armenian American community on the federal, state, and local level. The LSI Program is a competitive and prestigious internship program, and is widely considered to be the best program of its kind for Armenian American college students.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

Photo Caption #1: ANCA Leo Sarkisian Intern Nieri Avanessian
Photo Caption #2: ANCA Leo Sarkisian Intern Zori Eurdekian

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Karine Birazian
Email / Tel: (917) 428-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
Eastern Region
122 W 27th St, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Tel. (917) 428-1918 * Email.
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