ANCA's Address at the Armenia-Diaspora Conference, 1999
- From: ANCA <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999 18:00:02 -0800 (PST)
Armenian National Committee of America
Presentation to the Armenia Diaspora Conference,
Yerevan, Armenia - September 23, 1999
Aram Hamparian, Executive Director
I am honored to be here today representing the Armenian National
Committee of America as - together - we take these first collective
steps toward the realization of our shared national aspirations.
We bring to this effort a proud history of service to the Armenian
Cause and the equally sincere hope that our work here will lead to
increased cooperation and the realization of our tremendous
As we consider the question of how to expand our Diasporan political
advocacy, I would like to offer two fundamental ideas - drawn from
our own experience - which will place this growth on a solid
First of all, our advocacy must be guided by a set of enduring
values. For the ANCA, this has been the cause of Armenian liberty;
justice for the Armenian people and nation.
Faithful, always, in the pursuit of these noble goals to the
Dashnaktsutiun's tradition of service and sacrifice;
Reaching out, always, to all who share our goals. And we have seen
the result of this cooperation - with the Armenian Assembly and the
full range of Armenian American organizations gathered here today.
This has been true since our earliest communities in the United
States. From our work with Vahan Cardashian and the American
Committee for the Independence of Armenia, through the Soviet era,
the Karabagh liberation movement, and the first years of our reborn
We remain today, as then, guided by these high ideals. But also -
and this brings me to the second fundamental idea we bring to this
conference - we remain deeply rooted in our communities.
Beyond our office in Washington, in Boston or Los Angeles, we reach
deep into the fabric of our communities, through more than fifty
local chapters and thousands of activists, through our strong links
here in Yerevan, in Moscow, Paris, the Middle East, South America,
and throughout the world.
And everywhere, we are fully integrated into our communities
through the Dashnaktsutiun, the Armenian Youth Federation, the
Armenian Relief Society, Homenetmen, Hamazkayn, the Church, our
friends, supporters, and allies -
From our smallest community in the farthest corner of America; to
New York, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco and the other pillars of
our community; to the swelling Armenian society in Southern
From the descendants of those who fled Abdul Hamid a century ago
to the children and grandchildren of Genocide survivors; from those
escaping unrest in the Middle East to those recently arrived on
In each generation, from every location, are thousands of unknown
patriots for whom no banquets are thrown nor buildings named. They
receive no honors and, very often, no appreciation; but they are
the ones we turn to - time and time again - and who always come
through for our nation.
These individuals - our grassroots - in America and around the
world - are our greatest Diasporan resource. Through the Armenian
National Committee, they are bound together by a tradition of
service, by shared values, and a common vision of our future.
It has been this tradition, these values and shared aspirations,
that have helped us to know the way through difficult times, even
as others strayed - on democracy, on Nagorno Karabagh, and even the
Today, the challenges have changed but the Cause remains the same:
Justice for the Genocide, a strong Armenia, and a free Karabagh; a
secure, prosperous and democratic future for all our people.
We are very aggressively pursuing justice for the Genocide, not
only by seeking official U.S. commemoration or the adoption of a
Congressional resolution - but in the states and cities, in
universities and libraries - in California, where we helped ensure
that every student will study, and be tested on their knowledge of
the Armenian Genocide; or in Michigan, where we helped block the
Turkish government's efforts to manipulate Genocide scholarship; or
in countless other battles. We are fighting Turkey's denials at
every turn and working for justice and our rights as a nation.
We cannot - and will never - accept that Turkey remains an
unrepentant perpetrator of Genocide on Armenia's border. We must
bring all the resources of our Diasporan advocacy together into a
powerful process to seek justice for the victims, their children,
and our future generations.
On foreign aid issues, we have all seen the results:
More than a billion dollars in aid to Armenia, increasingly now
promoting long-term self-sufficiency;
Aid directly to Nagorno Karabagh - clearly and properly recognizing
its identity outside of Azerbaijan's control.
We have defended Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act,
restricting aid to the government of Azerbaijan, most recently this
June 30th when we overcame attacks from the oil industry, the
Administration, and very nearly every other powerful interest in
In terms of aid to Turkey, with the help of our friends in the
Greek community and human rights organizations, we have nearly
eliminated all economic and military support, and have turned now
to blocking arms sales and transfers which threaten Armenia and
destablize the region.
On Nagorno Karabagh, we have fought to ensure that U.S. policy
remains balanced, respecting Nagorno Karabagh's inalienable right
to self-determination within secure borders.
On all these issues, we have worked with the White House and
Congress, the Democrats and Republicans, the think tanks, media,
and other ethnic groups.
And always, we have involved our community - our grassroots - by
educating them on the issues and motivating them to play an active
role in the political process. We do this through our
congressional report cards, our candidate questionnaires, election
guides, and voter education materials. We serve our community by
empowering its members.
It is exactly this empowerment that is the key to our vision of the
future: Armenian advocacy - grounded in our community and inspired
by our highest aspirations.
Service and sacrifice in the best tradition of our long history.
Informed by the enduring values of our fathers.
Built upon the growing sophistication of each generation.
And driven by a new confidence, a new faith, and a new vision of
It is in this hope that we support the work of this gathering.
The hope that our words today will translate into understanding and
that this understanding will lead to the consensus and cooperation
we will need to realize an Armenian homeland - free and at peace,
independent and secure, united and confidently facing the future.
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