WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program (CGP) continues to empower recent university graduates to explore careers in policy, politics, and media in Washington DC – building on the commitment of generous benefactors Apo and Nayiri Saghdejian, who honored their late son and brother through the naming of this landmark program.
“The Saghdejian family is proud that the ANCA’s Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program is inspiring a new generation of Armenian American leaders,” remarked Nayiri Saghdejian. “We believe this program is continuing to produce rising leaders who will contribute to our common cause – consistent with Hovig’s faith and dedication to the Armenian Cause,” Nayiri added.
Through each new class of fellows, the Saghdejians realize their shared vision of expanding the Armenian American professional voice in the nation’s capital. Recent graduates from across the U.S. converge in Washington, DC throughout the year to pursue careers in public policy through three-month grants of free housing at the ANCA Aramian House, access to the ANCA network of contacts and resources, and hands-on training on how to find land career-track jobs in the governmental, political, policy and media worlds. Throughout the career-starter process, the CGP Advisory Committee offers expert guidance, helping set credible benchmarks for success.
“The ANCA is honored to join with Apo and Nayiri to realize the promise of Hovig’s vision of a strong Armenian American voice across the American political and policymaking landscape,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “We are blessed to count Apo and Nayiri as friends and benefactors, proud Armenians who translated their family’s tragedy into hope and opportunity for generations of young Armenians.”
A number of 2022 Fall session participants explain how the Gateway Program has helped them start careers in Washington, DC, and encourage recent graduates to apply to this unique program.
“Moving to Washington DC or any new place can be overwhelming, but the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program provided me with endless opportunities to expand my network and make new friends in a new city,” explained Natalia Matossian, who has started her career at a Congressional office. “I am grateful for the support from the CGP team and friends in helping get my foot in the door on Capitol Hill and making this city feel a lot like home,” continued Matossian.
Nikolas Manzo, who started on Capitol Hill and continues to explore policy career opportunities, felt the mentorship provided through the program was key. “The most beneficial part of the program, in my opinion, is the mentor you individually receive. The doors they open for you do not go unnoticed, and can help lead your cohort to new heights.” Manzo also cited the importance of the program’s housing assistance. “The time I spent in the Aramian House as a part of the Capital Gateway Program is a time I will cherish for a lifetime. Moving to a new city can be daunting, but being part of CGP made Washington a home away from home.”
Soseh Yepoyan concurred, stating, “The Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to kickstart your DC professional career surrounded with the amazing support of the ANCA.” Yepoyan, who is working at a top immigration law firm in Washington, DC, continued, “Through constructive workshops, grabbing a coffee with someone new, and attending networking events, you are able to learn about different careers and hone in on where your main future interests lie. In this fast-paced environment, you are greatly encouraged to grow and succeed and pay it forward to others!”
The deadline for the Fall 2023 session of the Gateway Program, starting in September 2023, is July 15, 2023. Additional information and applications are available at anca.org/gateway.
The program is named in honor of Hovig Apo Saghdejian, the 23-year-old student from Fresno, Calif., whose life of community leadership and public service was cut short in July 2004 by a tragic car accident. The Saghdejian family’s support for the Capital Gateway Program has been a labor of love, with over $300,000 raised in Hovig’s memory. These funds will be held in perpetuity, with only the income being used to finance the participation of young Armenian Americans in the Gateway Program.
Hovig Apo Saghdejian: Inspirational Youth Leader and Community Activist
Hovig Apo Saghdejian was born on Dec. 31, 1980, in Fresno, Calif. Early in life, Hovig became a member of the Homenetmen Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts, and he joined the ranks of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), contributing to the welfare of the Armenian-American community and reinforcing his commitment to his homeland.
He breathed life into the ideals of his youth by working to preserve and reinvent Armenian identity in America, while bringing a sense of optimism to the people of Armenia for a better future. As a volunteer with the Land and Culture Organization, Hovig traveled to Armenia during the summer of 2003 to work as a volunteer in Ayrum, developing infrastructure and self-sustainability for the impoverished population of this village. Beyond the value of the hard work that contributed significantly to the well-being of the villagers, Hovig’s efforts helped bring hope to all he came in contact with that the future held better things for the people of Armenia. Commenting on his time in Ayrum, in a testimonial on the Land and Culture website, Hovig explained, “I know that when I reflect back on this experience I will feel ecstatic about the work we accomplished, the things we saw, and the bonds we forged.”
Hovig attended Fresno City College, California State University of Fresno, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in interdisciplinary studies, with an emphasis on economics, philosophy, and film studies. He performed his civic duties by being politically involved, not only with the ANCA but also with Congressman George Radanovich and State Assemblymember Steve Samuelian on campaign and public policy projects.
Hovig enjoyed life, family and friends. He had a special bond with his parents Apo and Rosine and sister Nayiri. He spent his spare time helping his mother at the Adult Day Care Center, and his father with the family business.