Armenian Assembly of America Committed to Demining Initiatives in Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh

On October 26, Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Board Member Annie Totah and Executive Director Bryan Ardouny attended the Marshall Legacy Institute’s (MLI) 19th Annual Clearing the Path Gala where they met with officers, supporters, and activists dedicated to the K9 Demining Corps Campaign. The Assembly invited guests from the Embassy of Armenia to the United States, including Deputy Chief of Mission Hratchia Taschian, Second Secretary Nazeli Hambardzumyan, and Special Assistant Anita Issagholyan to the event.

United States National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice delivered the keynote address and National Public Radio (NPR) News Correspondent Tom Gjelten emceed the event, with presentations from U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Mrs. Diana Enzi, MLI Founder and Chairman General (Ret.) Gordon R. Sullivan, and Embassy of Sri Lanka Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam.

“As a beneficiary of the Marshall Legacy Institute’s demining project, the Assembly is committed to help with demining initiatives in Armenia, seeking a safer future for our people in the homeland. We appreciate the ongoing support and dedication of MLI, especially the additional six mine detection dogs (MDDs) that were sent to Armenia over the past year,” Totah stated. “The accomplishments of the Assembly-sponsored MDDs include clearing landmine areas in Armenia along its border with Azerbaijan, so that more land is released for farming, grazing, for transportation needs, as well as for infrastructure projects,” she added.

MLI is a non-profit, humanitarian organization founded in 1997 on the 50th Anniversary Year of the Marshall Plan. MLI works to continue the legacy of U.S. statesman George C. Marshall into the 21st century by providing war-torn, landmine-affected countries with the tools and training they need to help rebuild.

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 (L-R): Armenian Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Hratchia Taschian and his wife Bella Tashchian, Armenian Embassy Special Assistant Anita Issagholyan, MLI Founder and Chairman General (Ret.) Gordon R. Sullivan, Armenian Assembly of America Board Member Annie Totah, Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Armenian Embassy Second Secretary Nazeli Hambardzumyan, and Leo Sahakian.

Armenian Assembly of America Working to Expand Demining Initiatives in Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh

Armenian Assembly of America Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last month, Armenian Assembly of America
(Assembly) board member Annie Totah and executive director Bryan Ardouny
attended the Marshall Legacy Institute’s (MLI) 18th Annual Clearing
the Path Gala where they met with officers, supporters, and activists for the K9
Demining Corps Campaign. MLI’s K9 Demining Corps Campaign seeks to improve the
quantity and quality of mine detection dogs (MDDs) in countries all over the
world.

“As a lifetime partner of the Marshall Legacy
Institute
’s demining project, and our decades-long support of HALO Trust
initiatives in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, the Assembly is pleased with the
results achieved to date and is committed to seeing current projects completed
in the years to come,” stated Assembly Board Member Annie Totah.

In 2002, the Assembly became one of the first
participants of MLI’s K9 Demining Corps Campaign and sponsored six MDDs for
Armenia. The accomplishments of the Assembly-sponsored MDDs include clearing
landmine areas in Armenia along its border with Azerbaijan that is today used
for farming, grazing, and other agricultural initiatives, as well as
transportation and infrastructure projects.

Also last month, HALO Trust Director Andrew Moore and
HALO Trust USA executive director Tom Faust sat down with Assembly staff in
their headquarters to discuss current projects and accomplishments on the
ground in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.

“Most Armenian Americans are unaware that there is a
landmine problem in Nagorno Karabakh and that the per capita accident rate is
among the highest in the world – higher even than Cambodia and Afghanistan,”
stated HALO USA Executive Director Tom Faust. “We are grateful for the Armenian
Assembly’s help to raise awareness of this important humanitarian issue. HALO’s
aim is to clear all minefields in Karabakh so that the people who are most
affected by the landmine threat can leave behind this deadly and forgotten
legacy of war and live safer and more productive lives,” Faust said.

Since 2000, HALO Trust staff has cleared almost 90% of
all landmines in Nagorno Karabakh, resulting in 66,718 acres of cleared land to
be used by local residents. In 2013 alone, HALO Trust employed 175 Karabakhi
staff and cleared over 370 acres of land as part of their “Landmine Free
Artsakh” initiative.

MLI is a non-profit, humanitarian organization founded
in 1997 on the 50th Anniversary Year of the Marshall Plan. MLI works to
continue the legacy of U.S. statesman George C. Marshall into the 21st century
by providing war-torn, landmine-affected countries with the tools and training
they need to help rebuild.

HALO Trust
USA is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 and began operations in
Nagorno Karabakh in 1995 to clear landmines from war affected regions. HALO
Trust is guided by the principles of humanitarianism; respect for people’s
rights and dignity; integrity, honesty, and transparency; independence and
impartiality; and efficiency.

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 (L-R): Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Leo Sahakian, Assembly Board Member Annie Totah, Marshall Legacy Institute Executive Director Perry Baltimore III, Armenian Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Hrachia Tashchian, with a mine detection dog.

Photo Caption 2 (L-R): Assembly Communications Director Taniel Koushakjian, Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, HALO Trust USA Executive Director Tom Faust, HALO Trust Director Andrew Moore.

Photo Caption 3: Assembly Board Member Annie Totah at a HALO Trust facility in Nagorno Karabakh in 2002.