ANCA sponsors Washington summit on Middle East Christians

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has partnered with In Defense of Christians (IDC) as a sponsor of its national convention, a landmark Washington, DC summit, from October 24th to 26th, gathering faith leaders including His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, Congressional friends, and coalition partners to protect and preserve Christianity and defend religious liberty across the Middle East. Last year’s summit, also sponsored by the ANCA, featured the participation of over 50 Members of Congress.

The ANCA, as a convention sponsor along with Philos Project and Institute on Religion and Democracy, will welcome legislators, faith leaders, and religious freedom advocates to Washington for a robust agenda of activities.  Among these are a press conference at the National Press Club, an Ecumenical Prayer Service at the historic St. Matthew’s Cathedral, a series of policy-driven panel discussions and hands-on advocacy workshops, and meetings with Members of Congress.

“We are pleased to renew our partnership with In Defense of Christians, a movement that effectively harnesses grassroots power across America, fosters bipartisan consensus here in Washington, and – most vitally – drives real-world, policy-based solutions to protect Christians and preserve religious and ethnic diversity throughout the Middle East,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian.  “We are particularly gratified to sponsor this year’s summit knowing that Congressman Chris Smith, a great champion of human rights and religious liberty, will be honored with the prestigious Cedars of God award.”  Since his first election to the U.S. House in 1980, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) has consistently earned “A” ratings from the ANCA.

The convention’s advocacy agenda features strong support for a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, and will include lobbying visits in support of H.Res.220, a bipartisan measure seeks to apply the lessons of the Armenian Genocide in preventing new atrocities across the Middle East.  ANCA representatives will be making presentations throughout the three day conference, which will focus on the following advocacy priorities: 1) Security and stability in Lebanon, 2) Emergency relief for Victims of genocide in Iraq and Syria, 3) Allies and Accountability in the Middle East, 4) Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and 3) Legal punishment for ISIS, al-Qaeda and other perpetrators of genocide.

Among the members of IDC’s Religious Advisory Board are two prominent Armenian faith leaders, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, and Reverend Berdj Djambazian, Minister to the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America.