YEREVAN, ARMENIA – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) eight-week internship program, based in Yerevan, offers international work experience opportunities, promotes better understanding of the socio-political situation in the region, and introduces participants to life in Armenia through visiting cultural sites, participating in educational activities, and meeting with civil society and political leaders.
During the first week of the Assembly’s Summer Internship Program (SIP) in Armenia, participants toured the National Assembly of Armenia, and watched from the gallery part of a morning session on the budget, during which Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and members of the government were present. At the beginning of the session, Speaker of Parliament Ararat Mirzoyan welcomed the Armenian Assembly of America Internship Program participants to the Parliament. Afterwards, the interns met with two members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, Tatevik Hayrapetyan and Sos Avetisyan.
“Our 2019 group of remarkable and impressive college-age students are engaged and open to discovering, exploring and embracing all that Armenia has to offer, including active participation during meetings, with very thoughtful questions leading to fascinating discussions with leaders here,” Assembly Regional Director Arpi Vartanian said.
The Armenian Assembly Summer Internship Program in Yerevan class of 2019 includes:
- Emily Ekshian, from Pasadena, CA, attends the University of California, Berkeley studying political economy and Armenian language & literature, with a minor in human rights. She is interning at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute and Path of Law NGO, with former Artsakh Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan and former Commission on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials of Armenia Chairperson Siranush Sahakyan.
- Megan Jakob, from Lexington, MA, studied economics & macroeconomics and Spanish language & culture at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and will be transferring to the University of Virginia in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is interning at the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and the City of Smile Foundation, which supports children with cancer.
- Adrian Kromelian, from Washington, D.C., attends Marymount University in Virginia studying molecular & cellular biology. He is interning at the Institute of Molecular Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and the Pirouzyan Medical Center.
- Adriana Maljanian, from Altadena, CA, attends Hillsdale College in Michigan studying history. She is interning at the AMAP Human Development NGO and the Matenadaran, The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts
- Michelle Ohanian, from North Hollywood, CA, attends the University of California, Los Angeles studying history. She is interning with the Permanent Representation of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) in Armenia.
- Christopher Tusan, from Laguna Niguel, CA, is a recent graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He is interning with YerevanRide, a commuting alternative in Armenia’s capital city providing clean, affordable, and effective methods of transportation.
- Hagop Zakaryan, from Anaheim, CA, attends California State University of Fullerton studying political science, with a focus on law and international relations. He is interning with the Path of Law NGO, working for former Artsakh Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan and former Commission on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials of Armenia Chairperson Siranush Sahakyan.
“It is a great pleasure and so gratifying to be part of the Armenian Assembly team as the Summer Internship Program Coordinator. I am delighted to be part of this comprehensive program that promotes the integration of Armenian American students into modern Armenian society, provides them a unique opportunity to better understand the current situation in Armenia and Artsakh, and helps our internship participants reconnect with their roots,” Assembly Summer Internship Program Coordinator Anna Avagyan said.
The summer internship program participants have met with Security Council of Armenia Secretary Armen Grigoryan, High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan and his Chief of Staff Sara Anjargolian, Regional Studies Center Director Richard Giragosian, Maro Matosian of the Women’s Support Center, and former Armenian Assembly SIP intern alumna (class of 2007) and founder of Hayrenaser Organization Nelli Martirosyan. Hayrenaser contributes to the preservation and development of Armenia’s independent statehood by identifying and addressing critical challenges, and is currently rebuilding and expanding the school in Moshatagh Village in Artsakh.
Interns were given a behind-the-scenes tour of ArmComedy, the first satiric news site in Armenia, and met hosts Narek Margaryan and Sergey Sargsyan. The SIP participants also had the opportunity to watch a taping of the show, and guest star briefly at the end of the episode.
The Armenian Assembly visited Karin Village, the site of the Armenia Tree Project’s (ATP) first nursery in Armenia, and invited Assembly Life Trustee Flora Dunaians and her family to join. Together, they planted ash trees at Ashtarak Park and learned about ATP’s amazing work. Today, 25 years since its establishment, with all its nurseries, community tree plantings, and strong worldwide support, ATP has planted close to 6 million trees.
As part of their excursions around Armenia, the participants rode the Wings of Tatev and visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum, Charents Arch, Geghard Monastery, Garni Temple, Etchmiadzin, Khor Virap, Lake Sevan and Sevan Monastery, Matenadaran, Noravank Monastery, Sardarapat Memorial Complex and Ethnography Museum, Zvartnots Cathedral, and more. They also traveled to Saralanj Village in the Kotayk Region to help build a home through the Fuller Center for Housing.
SIP interns recently returned from Artsakh, where they met with President Bako Sahakyan, National Assembly Speaker Ashot Ghoulian, Foreign Minister Masis Mayilyan, Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan, and Head of the Kashatagh Regional Administration Stepan Sargsyan. At The HALO Trust, interns received a sombering briefing on the demining efforts taking place.
In Artsakh, interns also visited Shushi, Tigranakert, Tatik-Papik, the newly-consecrated Church of the Intercession in Stepanakert, Gandzasar Monastery, and Dadivank Monastery. They had the opportunity to try their hand at making carpets at Karabakh Carpet, and more.
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.