PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region will recognize its 2021 summer interns – Lori Baronian (NJ), Tvene Baronian (NJ) and Aram Brunson (MA) – as well as the region’s 2021 ANCA Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship Program interns – Anais Boyajian (NJ) who was also named the Maral Melkonian Avetisyan Fellow, Garen Meguerditchian (MA) and Mari Bijimenian (NY) at the 15th annual ANCA Eastern Region gala on Saturday, October 23 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. This year’s gala will include a cocktail hour and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. and dinner and awards program at 7:30 p.m.
“We are looking forward to honoring our youth at this year’s gala. They are the next generation of activists and we are so proud of the work they and past interns did during their program and continue to do. We would love to have our past interns come and support this class and have an LSI reunion photo. I know the meeting of past and present interns will no doubt provide an opportunity for our youth to see what their advocacy efforts can produce” said Steve Mesrobian, ANCA Eastern Region Board Member.
Lori, Tvene and Aram helped the region throughout the 2021 summer focusing on advocacy, legislative and state-level efforts as well as special projects including the women’s empowerment series and a series of eight advocacy workshops that culminated earlier this month.
Lori Baronian, a junior at The College of New Jersey, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. She is an active member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), the Hamazkayin Nairi Dance Ensemble and The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Tvene Baronian, a junior attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, plans to graduate with a major in Environmental Studies and a double minor in Entrepreneurial Studies and Writing. On campus, Tvene is a member of the Environmental Club, Campus Green Club, Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), Outdoor Recreation Adventure Program (ORAP), Sustainability Club, Koshare Dance Collective, and the Lacrosse Club. Her passion for her Armenian heritage drives her participation in various volunteer organizations including the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Hamazkayin Nayiri Dance Ensemble, HMEM Scouts and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). During her free time, she loves to sing, dance, write and draw. She has a passion for music and has performed at Carnegie Hall, where she showcased her love for Armenian opera.
Aram Brunson, an avid and active participant in his local Armenian community, serves as chair of the AYF’s Central Hai Tahd Council and is a current member of the AYF Chicago “Ararat” chapter. He was previously a member of the Boston “Njdeh” chapter and often attended the local ANC of Eastern Massachusetts meetings as well. Outside of the AYF, Aram is dancing with the Hamazkayin “Sardarabad” Dance Ensemble, is a member of the Armenian National Committee of Illinois, and hopes to join the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in the future. Aram is a freshman at the University of Chicago where he is studying political science.
As this year was a remote internship experience, the summer interns had an opportunity to connect with the region’s LSI interns as well. Bijimenian, Meguerditchian and Boyajian joined seven other interns as they experienced the many facets of Washington, D.C. The 2021 summer intern team played a key role in the passage of the bipartisan Pallone Amendment to the US House fiscal year 2022 foreign aid bill, with the primary focus of zeroing out US arms and aid to Azerbaijan. The interns developed a stronger understanding of geopolitical challenges in Armenia and Artsakh, as well as explored career opportunities in policy, politics, and media, throughout the summer and through their participation in an interactive speakers series. The series consisted of discussions with diplomats, academics, and Armenian-American professionals, including former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, Artsakh Representative to the U.S. Robert Avetisyan and representatives of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.
Anais Boyajian, a sophomore at Seton Hall University studying diplomacy and international relations, is actively working to restart the Armenian Students Association at her university. She was chosen as the region’s Maral Meklonyan Scholarship Recipient as well, named in honor of Maral Melkonian Avetisyan -a lifelong Armenian community advocate who called the Eastern Region home.
Garen Meguerditchian, a sophomore double majoring in applied math and quantitative economics at Tufts University, is active in the Tufts Armenian Club.
Finally, Mari Bijimenian is a senior at St. John’s University studying sociology and philosophy. She serves as Secretary of the AYF New York “Hyortik” Chapter and is a member of the ANC-NY Executive Board.
Aside from their group efforts, the interns also worked on their own projects throughout the eight weeks. Boyajian, Meguerditchian and Bijimenian worked closely with ANCA IT Director Nerses Semerjian to strengthen the ANCA’s advocate outreach infrastructure, and promote broader community input through letters, calls, and tweets to educate legislators regarding Azerbaijan’s ongoing attacks against Artsakh and Armenia.
Founded in 1986, the ANCA LSI program is named in memory of the late ANCA Eastern Region community leader Leo Sarkisian. LSI provides students from both the Eastern and Western U.S. and Canada with an opportunity to participate in an eight-week intensive program in Washington, D.C., designed to give them the tools to advance issues of concern to the Armenian American community on the federal, state and local level. Now in it’s 35th year, the program has hundreds of alumni across the world.
For more information about this year’s gala and to purchase tickets, please visit https://givergy.us/ancaer or connect at email@example.com.