LOS ANGELES, CA – On Monday June 15, 2015, 7 students and recent graduates, Sabine Arslanian, David Derderian, Ani Hakobyan, Sarin Keosian, Armand Manoukian, Maral Margossian, and Morris Sarafian were inaugurated into the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA WR) 2015 Summer Internship Program, making it the largest class of interns at the ANCA WR to date. During the internship, participants will serve on various organizational committees, participate in a series of weekly workshop and lectures, meet with community leaders and elected officials and work on a number of group and individual projects to advance the Armenian Cause.
“The ANCA West Region Internship Program is an integral part of our efforts to provide Armenian American youth with vital skill sets for effective grassroots activism and in depth understanding of Armenian American issues,” stated ANCA Western Region Executive Director, Elen Asatryan. “The ANCA Western selected each participant from a wide pool of qualified applicants for their desire and passion in advancing the Armenian Cause, leadership in community youth activities, and academic excellence and are confident that this will be a truly rewarding experience for them,” added Asatryan.
Sabine Arslanian was born and raised in Los Angeles. Currently, she attends Woodbury University, where she studies Architecture and holds a merit scholarship as a result of her academic achievements. Come fall, she will be in her second year of Architecture school. Sabine recently graduated AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School as a part of the Class of 2014. Sabine’s passion and love for the Armenian culture, community, history and heritage was influenced by her family. Sabine will be working in coordination with others in the Banquet and Government Affairs Committees. “The Armenian heritage and culture is very close to my heart. I am blessed to be part of a culture that has survived for thousands of years. I have always been involved in Armenian community affairs; thus, when I was chosen for the internship position, I was thrilled. I am thankful for this opportunity and hope to make the best out of this experience. I am confident that this summer will be productive, worthwhile, and beneficial. I look forward to working for the ANCA- WR and assisting the Armenian American community.”
David Derderian is a student at Glendale Community College with a major in Philosophy with future goals of obtaining a joint JD/MBA degree. On campus, he serves as the Treasurer of the Associated Student Body and a member of the GCC Scholars Program. Growing up in an Armenian Community and having graduated Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School he has always been involved in the Armenian community, and has also been actively involved in many of the events ANCA-WR has organized, such as the Grassroots Conference and Advocacy Day. Utilizing his leadership and professional marketing skills, in addition to his working experience at Vartan Gharpetian’s campaign, David has been assigned to the 2015 Annual Gala Banquet and the Media Task Force. “I believe that through the ANCA-WR internship program I would be able to develop new skills and implement them in a whole new way in order to help me further advance the Armenian cause and help the Armenian Community as a whole” “all changes begin at the grassroots level and the ANCA being the largest and most influential grassroots organization is the ideal place through which we can all bring about that change.”
Ani Hakobyan is a rising sophomore at Glendale Community College (GCC), where she is double majoring in Political Science (emphasis on International Relations) and Communications and is part of the Scholars (Honors) Program. Since June 2014, she has been a Research Fellow for the former Soviet Union at Americans for Informed Democracy, a Washington, D.C.-based organization. She also has experience with the City of Glendale, where she interned at the Management Services and served as a Student Ambassador for the Clerk’s Office. At GCC, Hakobyan established the UNICEF Campus Initiative, which works directly with the United Nations to help children and mothers in developing countries. As president, she has organized talks regarding the spread of Ebola in Africa, taken part in the United Nations #ChildrenNotSoldiers campaign, and set up a fundraiser to help the children in Nepal affected by the recent earthquake. Hakobyan is also the Inter-Organizational Representative and Vice President of On-Campus Affairs for Model United Nations and served as the former Secretary of the Honors Program at GCC. During the internship, Ani will serve on the ANCA WR Hye Votes and Grassroots Conference Committees. “I have always wanted to intern at the ANCA-Western Region. The work that is done: spreading awareness of the Armenian culture and history, registering voters, and getting Armenian-Americans involved in the community is priceless. I feel very privileged to spend my summer furthering the Armenian cause.”
A recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Sarin Varsenig Keosian received her Bachelors of Arts degree in History and minored in Education Studies. Her dedication to Hye Tahd began from a young age through her participation in the Armenian Youth Federation’s Badanegan and her enrollment within Ferrahian Armenian School. She is currently employed by her high school Alma Mater, as a 5th grade girls’ basketball coach. “I find it very important to create a bond with the Armenian youth within the Diaspora. Through my four years of coaching, I have experienced that they are not only willing to learn, but also bring a new enthusiastic spirit to the Armenian community.” She plans on taking the Law School Admission Test this October, and pursuing International Human Rights. She intends on using her degree to not only further Genocide Recognition within the United States but also aid the Armenian community abroad.
Armand Manoukian is a junior at La Canada High School commonly referred to on campus as the “The Armenian Poster Boy” as he incorporates his passion for the Armenian Cause in his conversations and activities with his peers. Armand currently serves as the president of the Armenian Club and the Amnesty International Chapter of La Canada High School, a Cub Reporter for the school’s newspaper, and part of the soccer team. Outside of school, he is also a dedicated member of Homenetmen as a soccer and basketball player and as a scout. “Because of my parents, I’ve been around this organization for as long as I can remember and now that I’m finally old enough to contribute, I’m ready to give the ANCA everything I have,” he said regarding his excitement for this opportunity. Armand was selected to serve on the Media Task Force and the Grassroots Conference Committee.
Maral Margossian is a rising junior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, majoring in political science with an international relations concentration. This past year, along with a small group of other Armenian students, Maral started an Armenian Students Association at UMass, where she serves on the executive board. To mark the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, Maral helped organize a commemorative lecture with the Institute of Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at UMass. She also writes and edits for the opinion section of her school’s newspaper and is a member of the UMass Model United Nations and International Relations club. Maral is interested in pursuing a career in international law and human rights, and is eager to learn more about grassroots activism. “I am really excited to learn how to be a more effective activist and acquire a better understanding of Armenian-American relations. Because the Armenian Students Association at my school is so new, I can’t wait to take what I learn here and apply it back in ASA.” She will be serving on the Government Affairs and America We Thank You Committees.
UCLA senior, Morris Sarafian, studies Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. Sarafian attributes his strong sense of Armenian identity to his years attending TCA Arshag Dickranian Armenian School, where he served as student council president, a member of the debate club, and received Student of the Decade Honors upon his graduation. Sarafian was newly elected as the Activism Chair for the Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA, and seeks to increase the political presence of Armenians on the campus through different means of involvement. Upon completing his education, Sarafian intends to get more involved in the political stage and plans to utilize the lessons learned from the ANCA WR Internship to better his community. “After attending ANCA WR Advocacy Days, I wanted to get more involved with ANCA WR for me to learn more about the issues the Armenian-American community faces today and attain the skill set necessary to be a proactive leader in our community” says Sarafian. During the summer internship, Sarafian will be serving on the Education and Hye Votes Committees.
Established in summer 2006, the ANCA Western Region Internship Program is a selective part-time leadership program, which introduces high school seniors, college students, and recent college graduates to all aspects of the public affairs arena. The program provides an opportunity for student leaders and activists to gain an in-depth understanding of the American political system, Armenian-American issues and advocacy efforts on the local, state and federal levels.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo: 2015 ANCA WR Summer Internship Program Participants from Left: Armand Manoukian, Maral Margossian, David Derderian, Sabine Arslanian, Morris Sarafian, Ani Hakobyan, and Sarin Keosian