Senators Menendez and Markey Press Armenia Ambassador Nominee on Reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide

Armenia Ambassador Nominee Promises to Support Armenia’s “Remarkable” Democratic Reforms

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U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearing for the Nomination of Ms. Lynne M. Tracy for Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Armenia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, in response to questions posed by Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), the U.S. Ambassadorial nominee to Armenia, Lynne M. Tracy, agreed that “1.5 million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their death in the final years of the Ottoman Empire” in 1915, but fell short of properly categorizing the killings as a genocide, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

“We have a historical reality. One and a half million people were massacred. That’s a genocide. And yet, we send an Ambassador to the country. We will have them go to a memorial of a holocaust of Armenian people, yet they won’t be able to call it a genocide,” Ranking Member Menendez said. “If we are not able to acknowledge the past, we are destined to relive it.”

Ranking Member Menendez asked Tracy a series of questions on the Armenian Genocide and the historical facts of what occurred, and also on a U.S. tax treaty between the two countries.

“The Trump Administration and I personally acknowledge the historical facts of what took place at the end of the Ottoman Empire – the mass killings, the forced deportations, and marches that ended 1.5 million lives and a lot of sufferings. If confirmed, I will do everything in my power to acknowledge and respect the losses and suffering, and commit myself to participating in any remembrance activities,” Tracy explained during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination hearing.

Referring to the Armenian Genocide, Senator Markey said, “It’s time for us just to stand up and call it what it was. It helps us in the future to have credibility.”

“The Armenian Assembly applauds Ranking Member Menendez and Senator Markey. We whole-heartily concur with them – that if we do not appropriately acknowledge the past, we are not only destined to repeat it, but also hurt U.S. credibility,” Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny stated.

Senator Markey also asked how the Administration plans to support Armenia’s democratic reforms, which Tracy indicated were “remarkable.” With national elections in Armenia on Sunday, December 9, the nominee also made clear: “The overall goal of our Armenia policy remains an independent, democratic, and prosperous Armenia, at peace with its neighbors. Situated astride a geographic and cultural crossroads, Armenia has always balanced competing interests, and we continue to affirm our commitment to a sovereign Armenia, free to choose its own partners.”

“In April and May of this year, hundreds of thousands of Armenian citizens took to the streets with determination but without violence to hold their government accountable. Like so many others, I was heartened to see a peaceful transition of power. Armenia still has work ahead, however, to cement the gains of the past six months. If confirmed, I would continue the distinguished efforts of my predecessor, Ambassador Rick Mills, to support the aspirations of the Armenian people, who are calling for accountable governance, an economy free of unfair and monopolistic practices, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, rule of law buttressed by an independent judiciary, and a system of government with strong checks and balances,” Tracy added.

Lynne M. Tracy of Ohio is a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, currently serving as Senior Advisor for Russia Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the Department of State; Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; and Principal Officer at the U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Astana, Kazakhstan. Additionally, Ms. Tracy served as the Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, where she was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Heroism. She is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. Ms. Tracy earned her B.A. from the University of Georgia and J.D. from the University of Akron.

Read her full statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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.

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NR#: 2018-052

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Armenian Assembly of America Welcomes Young Professionals as New State Chairs in Maryland and New York

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(L-R) Newly appointed Armenian Assembly State Chairs Armineh Ghazarian in Maryland and Narek Sevacheryan in New York

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) is pleased to announce the additions of more young professionals, Armineh Ghazarian and Narek Sevacheryan, as new State Chairs in Maryland and New York, respectively, who will help promote Assembly initiatives in their communities.

“The Armenian Assembly has always encouraged the next generation across the nation to get more involved in their communities and learn more about Armenian American advocacy efforts, starting with our internship program for college-aged students in Washington, D.C. and reaching out to young professionals to get more involved. We look forward to working with Armineh and Narek to help with our advocacy efforts in their home states,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said.

Armineh Ghazarian earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland, and graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine with a Master’s Degree of Science in Biotechnology, Bio-business and McDonough School of Business with a Master’s Degree of Science in Finance. She is based in Silver Spring, and works at Georgetown University as the Financial Analyst and Grant Manager at the Lombardi Cancer Center. She is an active member of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, and has served as Chairwoman and Treasurer of the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America, as well as Founder and Chair of the College Career Center at St. Mary.

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Maryland State Chair Armineh Ghazarian with Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) at the Armenian Assembly-sponsored reception for Armenia’s Independence Day on Capitol Hill in 2017

Narek Sevacheryan is a Financial Advisor with The Bieber Group at Morgan Stanley, providing forward thinking financial strategy to high net worth families, family offices, and international clients in New York City. He previously worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., where he contributed to publications with leading scholars focusing on foreign policy and national security analyses in Eurasia. While in school, he served as the President of the Armenian Society of Columbia University, where he organized multiple talks and discussions related to Armenia and Artsakh, including a panel featuring Armenian Assembly Co-Chair Van Krikorian on Armenian-American and Russian-Armenian relations in the context of current developments. In 2014, as part of his Luys Scholarship Program, he participated in the “Develop Armenia Together” program where he helped create an economic development plan for Shushi in Artsakh.

“We welcome our new State Chairs, as well as thank the current State Chairs and Committees who have been active in their communities throughout the year. It was especially significant to have so many travel to our nation’s capital and join us for our National Advocacy Conference & Gala,” stated Armenian Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “We look forward to continuing this momentum, and encourage every State Chair to reach out to their local representatives, especially those who are newly elected, and share with them the issues and concerns for the Armenian American community.”

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New York State Chair Narek Sevacheryan (far right) at the Armenian Assembly 2018 National Advocacy Conference Sponsor Reception at The Kreeger Museum with Assembly Board Members Lu Ann Ohanian and Annie Simonian Totah

Arizona State Co-Chair Dede Krikorian, California State Chair Valina Agbabian, Illinois State Chair Jim Keledjian, Ohio State Chair Ara Bagdasarian, Pennsylvania State Chair Paul Sookiasian, Rhode Island State Chair Narine Emdjian, and Virginia State Chair Meganoosh Avakian all participated in the Assembly’s 2018 National Advocacy Conference & Gala this fall. Moreover, the Assembly’s Southern California Regional Council members Al Cabraloff, Lisa Kalustian, Jim Melikian, Margaret Mgrublian, Joyce Stein, and Talin Yacoubian, Northern California Regional Council member David Ojakian, and Orange County Regional Committee member Nicole Nishanian all actively participated in the Conference, Advocacy Day, and Gala.

“In addition to our hardworking State Chairs, we would like to extend our congratulations to the Assembly State Chair in South Carolina, Richard Harpootlian, who was sworn into the State Senate last week, representing District 20 of South Carolina. We are inspired by every Armenian American who takes part in the American democratic process and runs for an elected position,” the Co-Chairs added.

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(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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NR#: 2018-051

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