A diverse delegation of Armenian American activists, many with roots in Baku, took part in a capacity-crowd Capitol Hill briefing and two-day series of Congressional meetings, sharing with Members of Congress, for the first time, their harrowing family accounts of Azerbajiani aggression against the Armenian populations of Baku, Sumgait and Kirovabad, and advocating for robust U.S. political support and direct assistance to ensure a brighter future for the free citizens of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The ANCA sponsored Capitol Hill program, titled: “Nagorno Karabakh – A Generation After Anti-Armenian Pogroms: The Challenge of Promoting Peace and Developing Democracy,” featured powerful remarks by Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, a lawyer, lecturer, and author of ‘Nowhere, A Story of Exile,’ and Dr. Alina Dorian, an internationally respected public health expert and advocate who has worked for decades to strengthen and expand public health programs in Nagorno Karabakh. Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone Jr. opened the program by offering warm words of welcome, and ardent support for an independent Artsakh. Both the Armenian Embassy and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Office in Washington were well represented at the briefing by Deputy Chief of Mission Hrachia Tashchian and Nagorno Karabakh Representative Robert Avetisyan.
Joining Dorian and Turcotte as ardent spokespeople for Nagorno Karabakh independence were Vitaliy Dadalyan, Marat Khoudabakhshiev and Julia Papiyan, who traveled from Utah, California and Michigan, respectively, to share their family stories of persecution in Baku during the late 1980’s. In some 40 meetings with key Senate and House leaders, Members of Congress were moved by their accounts of courage and survival and inspired by the Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s commitment to democracy and economic development. ANCA Western Region Advisory Board Member Garo Madenlian, Esq., ANCA-WR Legislative Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan and the ANCA Eastern Region’s Armen Sahakyan joined the ANCA Washington DC team in facilitating Congressional outreach efforts and sharing the broad range of Armenian American community priorities.