An Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) delegation, led by Co-Chair of the national Board of Trustees Anthony Barsamian, which included Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Development and Membership Director Mary Jo Bazarian Murray, and Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan, held numerous productive meetings and engagements with Assembly trustees, members, and advocates in the greater Los Angeles area during the week of October 25, 2021, culminating in an Advocacy Update and Reception in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, October 26, 2021.
In addition, representatives of the delegation and southern California-based Assembly regional leaders met in Los Angeles with Artsakh State Minister Artak Beglaryan, who is visiting several Armenian community strongholds across the United States upon the invitation of the Armenian Missionary Association of America. Minister Beglaryan provided an assessment of the humanitarian, security, and socioeconomic situation on the ground in Artsakh today. The Assembly delegation was happy to meet with Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, with whom they held a substantive discussion. The Assembly was also pleased to meet and exchange thoughts with H.E. Amb. Dr. Armen Baibourtian, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles.
On the evening of October 26, Assembly members Tamar and Hagop Tujian graciously welcomed Assembly members, Assembly summer internship program alumni, and Armenian American grassroots activists to their lovely home for the Assembly’s “Advocacy Update & Membership Reception” held in the Tujian’s spacious and verdant backyard patio.
“The Assembly extends its profound gratitude to the Tujian family for their warm and generous hospitality. Due to the pandemic, in-person engagements were obviously put on hold. For the Assembly delegation, it was gratifying to finally see and speak with Assembly advocates, members, prospective new members and intern alumni in person, and gain a sense of the pulse on the ground in Los Angeles as the Assembly prepares to launch 50th anniversary nationwide programming in 2022,” stated Western Region Director Toumajan.
California State Senator Anthony Portantino, whose 25th State Senate district includes the Tujian residence, was in attendance and delivered an update on his spearheading of separate agreements with CalSTRS and CalPERS (public pension systems), spurred by proposed legislation (SB 457) supported by the Armenian Assembly of America and aimed at galvanizing the two public retirement systems to divest from their respective holdings in Turkish government-issued and controlled bonds and financial vehicles.
Assembly representatives briefed attendees on current advocacy priorities on Capitol Hill and with the Biden Administration, including among others:
- Continued U.S. assistance to Armenia, and demining and humanitarian aid to Artsakh;
- The primacy of continued mediation by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs for a binding, fair and equitable resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict;
- Washington’s continued efforts in demanding for the release and repatriation of Armenian POWs unjustly held by Azerbaijan, and enforcing Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act given Azerbaijan’s ongoing hostile actions against the Armenian people.
Please click here to view more photos from the Assembly Delegation’s visit to Los Angeles.
The Assembly’s Los Angeles delegation events followed in-person events in Boston for an Armenian Wine Tasting on Thursday, October 21, 2021, and New York City for a Panel Discussion on Saturday, October 16, 2021. 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.