Glendale, CA – The western region leadership of the Armenian National Committee, including the newly appointed board of directors and leaders from individual chapters throughout California gathered at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada, California on December 5, 2004 to set the agenda for 2005. The meeting reviewed the organization’s accomplishments over the last year and during the 108th Congress and then outlined the agenda for western region state legislatures and the 109th Congress.
ANCA-WR Executive Director, Ardashes Kassakhian recapped the last year’s accomplishments, highlighting national voter outreach efforts, establishment of three new chapters in Arizona, Idaho and Montana and successfully maintaining levels of foreign aid allocated to the Republic of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh Republic by Congress. Kassakhian provided a demographic breakdown of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues and conveyed the need to build up the Caucus in anticipation of various bills which will be brought up for discussion in the upcoming Congress.
Following Kassakhian’s presentation, newly appointed ANCA-WR Chair Steven Dadaian led a discussion about the ANC’s strategy in supporting candidates in local, state, and federal elections, the role the ANC would have in shaping U.S. foreign policy with a Republican controlled Congress and White House and other state and local community objectives. Dadaian pointed out that the ANC is not a partisan organization and hence it works with all parties to advance issues of critical concern to the Armenian-American community. Dadaian also emphasized that Armenia’s economic development is a priority and thus establishing and launching the California – Armenia Regional Trade Office, authorized during the previous California state legislature, will be a primary goal in 2005 in order to facilitate and increase the exchange of goods and services between California and the Republic of Armenia. Other objectives in the coming year will include efforts to boost outreach into the public schools regarding including the Armenian Genocide in school curriculum as well as efforts surrounding Turkey’s petition to gain acceptance into the European Union.
“The ANCA intends to broaden our reach even further in the coming year so that we can work together to reach our common goals,” stated Dadaian. “This year will mark a expansion of the ANCA’s scope of activities as we pursue our agenda, building on our successes from previous years.”
Fundraising strategies were also discussed at the briefing. The ANCA-WR is a non-partisan, non-profit organization. A steady flow of funding is needed to continue the organization’s activities which include educating Armenian-Americans about the voting process, as well as outreach to public officials in various offices. The ANCA-WR also actively engages schools and other entities to educate the general public about the Armenian Genocide, the Republic of Armenia, the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (Artsakh), and other vital issues of concern to the Armenian American community.