November 23, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: Armen Sahakyan
tel. (917) 428-1918

Senator Mark Kirk to Receive 2016 ANCA-ER Freedom Award

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region will be honoring United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) with its highest honor, the prestigious Freedom Award, at the Tenth Annual ANCA Eastern Region Banquet on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel.

“We are proud to be honoring Senator Kirk,” commented ANCA-ER Chairman Stephen Mesrobian. “For more than 16 years, Mark Kirk has been an ardent advocate of Armenian-American policy priorities in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the U.S. Senate. From working on an official affirmation of the Armenian Genocide by the U.S. government to calling out Azerbaijan’s aggression as well as ensuring vital aid for the people in Armenia and Artsakh, Senator Kirk has championed principles of truth, justice, and freedom so cherished by the Armenian-American community.”

During the 114th Congress – among other initiatives — Sen. Kirk led efforts in support of Armenian-American aid priorities included in the Senate’s FY2017 foreign aid bill, adopted by the Appropriations committee. In April 2016, following the unprovoked aggression by Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh, Sen. Kirk condemned Azerbaijani attacks against the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh calling on the U.S. Administration “to hold President Aliyev fully accountable for this violence, and to support the implementation of the pro-peace steps laid out by Reps. Royce and Engel.”

In March of 2014, Sen. Kirk issued a statement on the anniversary of anti-Armenian Sumgait and Baku pogroms in Soviet Azerbaijan noting, “Dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured during three days of horrific violence. The entire Armenian population of Sumgait fled as a result. The perpetrators of these heinous acts have never been brought to justice. As we remember the Sumgait victims, I call on the current Government of Azerbaijan to immediately halt its campaign of incitement and hatred against Armenia that threatens to de-stabilize the region. It is deplorable that the President of Azerbaijan would pardon and glorify the convicted murderer Ramil Safarov, who killed a sleeping Armenian soldier while both were on a NATO Partnership for Peace program. I strongly condemn repeated statements from Azerbaijani officials that threaten violence against Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

In 2012, Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk introduced the Armenian Genocide Resolution, S. Res. 399. In the same year, Senators Scott Brown, Diane Feinstein, and Mark Kirk introduced the Return of Churches Resolution, S. Res. 392.

This year’s December 3rd banquet, sponsored by the ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund, will begin with an elegant cocktail reception and silent auction at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and awards ceremony at 7:00 p.m. The event will take place at the prestigious Westin Arlington Gateway located at 801 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, Va. 22203. For details and hotel reservations, call 1-800-937-8461 and reference ANCA.

Entitled “We Are #ArtsakhStrong,” the banquet will focus on the ANCA’s ongoing efforts in support of the status, security, and development of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh/NKR), as Artsakh marks the 25th anniversary of its independence.

Emceed by internationally renowned photojournalist and author Scout Tufankjian,  the 10th annual banquet will include a diverse group of distinguished honorees:

2016 ANCA-ER Freedom Award

President Bako Sahakyan

Senator-elect Christopher Van Hollen, Jr.

Senator Mark Kirk

2016 ANCA-ER Impact Award

Dr. Levon Avdoyan, Library of Congress

Dr. Roger Smith, College of William and Mary

2016 ANCA-ER Vahan Cardashian Award

Mr. John Jerikian, ANCA Advocate

Mr. Levon Palian, ANCA Advocate

Mr. Tom Vartabedian (in memoriam), ANCA Advocate

To purchase tickets/ make a donation for the banquet, CLICK HERE.

Checks for the tickets and donations may be written to ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund and mailed to:

ANCA

attn: Eastern Region Banquet

1711 N Street, NW

Washington, DC 20036

For more information, please contact ANCA Eastern Region at ancaer@anca.org or (917) 428-1918.

Use hashtag #ERbanquet and #WeAreArtsakhStrong on social media for the upcoming banquet and follow ANCA Eastern Region on Twitter @ANCA_ER.