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Speech by Anna Hakobyan at the US Congress

Honorable Representatives of the US Congress and staff members,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel truly honored and privileged by this opportunity to address the prominent representatives of the US Congress at the very heart and soul of the American nation. This major cradle of Democracy and Human Rights has always been and continues to be an inspiration for those who strive for democratic governance, rule of law, equality and better future for generations worldwide.

I would like to thank Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier for hosting this amicable reception at the US Capitol. I always admired your fearless struggle for women’s equality and rights. You symbolize the kind of strong and determined women that today’s world desperately needs.

Both of you have been longtime friends of Armenia and the Armenian people and I would like to take this opportunity to express sincere gratitude for your commitment in promoting US assistance to Armenia’s democracy, civil society, Armenian Genocide recognition, self-determination of Artsakh and stronger US-Armenian ties.

It goes without saying that we also highly value the work of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues for its indispensable contribution to the friendship between our nations. Your work is of foremost importance for us especially today, when our country is undergoing fundamental democratic changes after the Velvet Revolution. Those changes have best shown the maturity of our society, its ability to resist malicious processes undermining our future and the future of democracy. Today our country has a democratically elected Parliament and Government, which is committed to comprehensive reforms.

In achieving these goals, Armenia relies on the support and assistance of our friends. Therefore, the continuous cooperation and assistance of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues as well as all other friends of Armenia are of crucial importance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The above-mentioned, is indeed the job of our government and politicians. And I wish them every success on this responsible path. However, as the spouse of the Prime Minister I do not want to stand by and follow, rather I want to share the government’s burden. This was the reason I initiated several projects.

One of them is My Step Charitable Foundation. By joining forces with donors and partners the Foundation strives to build a healthy, resilient and inclusive society in all respects, where no one will be left behind. To accomplish this mission, My Step Foundation serves as a bridge between those having brilliant ideas and those willing to provide funds for the implementation of educational, environmental, poverty reduction and other projects in the pipeline of the Foundation. The key here is that all our activities are structured on the principle of long-term social impact.

I also preside over the Board of the City of Smile Foundation, which has our children’s well being at the core of its activities. It was created to support children and youngsters who struggle against oncological and hematological diseases. Within the period of several months after its establishment, the Foundation has helped 120 people to receive free treatment.

More children would live a happy childhood, if they had more support and backing from the caring people. Each time I learn about new successful treatment of a child I come to realize that our efforts save lives and make families happy. This gives me strength to invest more efforts to mobilize more assistance.

Dear Friends,

It is well known that for the realization of all our dreams and wishes, the main prerequisite is the lasting peace between peoples, nations and also peace of minds. We all perfectly know the horrors of the war as the humanity has seen enough of them. But, unfortunately, there is always a little attention to peace, as in times of “no war”, we consider peace as something given. As Martin Luther King has once said “We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.”

Bearing this in mind, I have initiated the “Women for Peace” campaign that aims to bring together women from all the sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict to reject the war and unite their efforts to save lives from all the sides. Our final goal is to create a worldwide network of women advocating for peace in Nagorno Karabakh, as well as in other hotbeds around the globe.

Who, if not women and mothers feel the ever-lasting sorrow of the loss of their children? Who, if not women and mothers, should raise their voice to promote peace? Who, if not women and mothers, are able to influence the decision-makers?

I do hope, that this initiative will create strong movement for peace within the societies of all the parties. Therefore, I appeal to all prominent women of this honorable audience, to join our peace movement and help unlock tightly sealed doors of hope. We are calling on the Azerbaijani women and mothers to join this campaign too and raise the same appeal to decision-makers.

I do hope that all the mentioned projects, which I plan to introduce during my US trip, will attract more attention and trigger broader engagement, contributing to the successful accomplishment of our mission.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To conclude, I would like to once again express my appreciation for your warm hospitality. I invite you to visit Armenia, to experience the dramatic changes we are going through and explore the avenues of bringing your valuable contribution to our mission of building coherent, resilient and democratic society.