WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) is pleased to welcome Meganoosh Avakian as the new Virginia State Chair. In her capacity as State Chair, Avakian will lead Virginia-based Assembly members and activists to educate the community on issues of priority concern relative to the security and prosperity of Armenia and Artsakh, in addition to working with local government to further strengthen U.S.-Armenia relations.
Avakian continues her involvement in the Armenian community following her time with the Armenian Network of America, Inc. (ArmNet). She is currently ArmNet National Board Chairman (2010-present) and ArmNet Washington, D.C. Chapter President (1998-present). Avakian has also worked as Program Support specialist for the Armenian American Cultural Association, Inc. from 2013 to 2015.
“I look forward to utilizing my experience to help the Armenian Assembly further its important work in strengthening U.S.-Armenia relations,” Avakian said.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has an active history of affirming the Armenian Genocide and honoring the victims. The Virginia Commonwealth recognized April 24 as “Armenian Martyrs Day” in 1990, 1996, and 2001. On March 9, 2000, the General Assembly of Virginia also adopted a resolution designating April 24 as “Virginia Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.”
In addition, the city of Alexandria, Virginia is a sister city to modern-day Gyumri in Armenia, which was named Alexandropol in the early 20th Century. A “Sister City Exchange Program” between these two cities was spearheaded by long-time Assembly member Mrs. Rita Balian, working with former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) who was Mayor of Alexandria at the time. This sister city partnership began on May 16, 1990, as a meaningful demonstration of solidarity after the devastating 1988 earthquake in Armenia. Mrs. Balian also established the city’s annual Armenian Day Festival, which, in recent years, Avakian has participated in organizing. Since then, it has developed into the Alexandria International Festival, featuring Armenia among other nations and cultures.
“The Inaugural Alexandria International Festival was a great beginning to a new tradition for the City of Alexandria. I think this new multi-cultural festival will be a worthy continuation from the Alexandria Armenian Festival which was held for 21 years,” Avakian told the Assembly. “Sharing Armenian culture and history with our neighbors and community is what it’s always been about. Our efforts resulted in a long standing friendship with the City of Alexandria calling us every year to come back and showcase our rich heritage,” she added.
Avakian graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Marketing. She is a Software Test Engineer with KT Consulting Inc., and is currently working on a joint project with Booz Allen Hamilton on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
“The Armenian Assembly appreciates Meganoosh’s commitment and enthusiasm to advancing our cause. She will be a great addition to the Assembly’s team,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny stated.
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 non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.