WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) joined the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, in coordination with the Embassy of Armenia, the Nagorno Karabakh Representation office in D.C., and the Armenian National Committee of America, for the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on Capitol Hill. Each Member present honored the victims of the genocide and emphasized the importance of remembering and learning from the lessons of the past so that they are not repeated in the future.
“Tonight, as we remember the victims of the first genocide of the twentieth century, let us renew our commitment to working for the safety and freedom of their descendants,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA). “Only by so doing do we truly honor the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide.”
Elise Kenderian Aronson, former Chief of Staff to a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee who emceed the event, started by introducing Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). In addition to the Armenian Genocide, Rep. Pallone also discussed Azerbaijan’s attack against Artsakh earlier in the month. “The Armenian Caucus is concerned that this can happen again and become a long-term war,” he stated.
Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) discussed his personal time spent researching the issues, looking at photos, and meeting with members of survivor families. Rep. Dold quoted Pope Francis, who described the genocide as an open wound. “We all hoped the 100th anniversary would be the year we got recognition. I thank you for your time to come here year in and year out and educate Congress,” Rep. Dold said. “If we don’t recognize this, we could be allowing this to happen again on a larger scale.”
Along with Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), House Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Dave Brat (R-VA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Dave Trott (R-MI), and David Valadao (R-CA) participated in the event.
The Republic of Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States Grigor Hovhannissian delivered powerful remarks at the commemoration, explaining that he felt very proud and fulfilled seeing the results of Armenian advocacy throughout the country. Nagorno Karabakh Republic Permanent Representative to the United States Robert Avetisyan also addressed the crowd, and spoke about the horrors of genocide, referring to it as a globalproblem. Both Hovhannissian and Avetisyan echoed the concerns of Members with respect to Azerbaijan’s escalation of hostilities.
Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America Rev. Fr. Tatev Terteryan gave the invocation and the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America Prelate Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan provided the benediction.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
Photo Caption 1: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) at the 101st Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on Capitol Hill.
Photo Caption 2: Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Elise Kenderian Aronson, Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, and Armenian Assembly Board of Trustees Member Annie Totah.
Photo Caption 3: Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Grigor Hovhannissian speaking with Assembly Executive Director Ardouny.
For more photos, visit the Armenian Assembly of America’s Facebook page.