Carnie Armenian and Antranig Avedissian
The opportunity to meet with a US Ambassador is not one that comes along often. However, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), the leading organization and voice among the Armenian youth provides its members with these unique introductions. On Tuesday March 1st and Friday March 4th in New York and Boston, members of the Armenian Youth Federation met with the United States Ambassador to Armenia, His Excellency Richard Mills, and the Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (US AID), Karen Hilliard.
New York representatives included Vartenie Kachichian, Kevork Ourfalian, and Tamar Samuelian from the AYF alongside members of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). In Boston, Carnie Armenian, Antranig Avedissian, Alec Kotician, and Shant Maroukhian represented the AYF. The groups discussed Armenia’s stability and transparency, or lack thereof, within the government, a three-tier checks and balances system amongst businesses, employees, and ultimately the government, and the successes of these systems thus far. Ambassador Mills explained his dedication to creating job opportunities and equal employment throughout the nation and region with political awareness and security in mind.
Mission Director of US AID, Karen Hilliard, discussed Armenia’s increasing popularity in tourism and the nation’s generations of religious architecture and history. By forming ties between religious architectural sites in Armenia and neighboring Turkey, the program promotes cross-border relations. “Should the two countries [Armenia and Turkey] one day be able to maintain stable political relations, we should be prepared for it,” explained Hilliard as cross-border trade and relations are on the forefront of US AID’s initiatives. Specifically in the agricultural sector, merchants now have the opportunity to exchange products and machinery safely in order to advance personal businesses.
Members of the AYF were excited and pleased to hear of the new programs implemented during Ambassador Mills’ first year in office, but what was more gratifying was to hear the interest and dedication Mills and Hilliard have, not only in our current borders but in Artsakh, Javakhk, and the diaspora as well. Curious of Armenians’ daily lives and personal sense of security in our rightful lands, the two asked about members’ experiences in Artsakh and Javakhk, understanding the importance to occupy our rightful territories.