Assembly of Supreme Spiritual Council is over

On May 17-18, the assembly of the Supreme Spiritual Council, under the chairmanship of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, continued at the Prelacy of the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan, reported the information system of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to Hayern Aysor.

The joint sessions of the assembly were chaired by Primate of the U.S. Western Diocese, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.

During the assembly, the Supreme Spiritual Council considered the modified draft of the statute of the National-Ecclesiastical Assembly enforced in 1945. Member of the Standing Committee on Statutes, Doctor of Legal Sciences, Professor Gevorg Danielyan presented a report on this, while member of the Committee, Head of the Divan of the Mother See, His Grace, Fr. Bishop Arshak Khachatryan gave explanations.

After the consideration, the Supreme Spiritual Council accepted the work that had been done and assigned to submit the draft approved with the blessing of the Supreme Patriarch to the Ecclesiastical-Representative Assembly to be held in June.

His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan provided information about the preparations for the Ecclesiastical-Representative Assembly to be held at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on 6-9 June 2017. Hovhannisyan is also a member of the organizing committee for the Assembly. The members of the Supreme Spiritual Council accepted the work and gave assignments.

During the assembly, Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Garegin Bekchyan delivered a report on the current difficult situation facing the Patriarchate. The Supreme Spiritual Council expressed concern about the situation created at the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople when the selected vicar of the Patriarch doesn’t have the opportunity to fulfill his duties. The Supreme Spiritual Council expressed support to the Vicar of the Patriarch and urged the clergy and the national figures to work in a peaceful environment and make great efforts to find good solutions to the situation along with the relevant state institutions.

Touching upon the position of Fr. Archbishop Aram Ateshian in this process, the Supreme Spiritual Council considered it necessary to urge the Archbishop to, governed by the rules and procedures of the Armenian Church, support the Patriarchal Vicar-elect and take necessary steps to get everything back on track.

The Supreme Spiritual Council also examined the programs for the celebrations dedicated to Year of Youth in 2018. During the assembly of the Supreme Spiritual Council held in New York back in 2016, a decision was made to declare the year 2018 as Year of Youth.

In relation to this, Fr. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian delivered a report on the activities being carried out. He informed that there would be youth events and meetings, the young members of the Dioceses of the world would also participate in a three-day pilgrimage to Armenia and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The three-day meeting will end with the Holy Mass.

At the end of the three-day assembly of the Supreme Spiritual Council, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan, Fr. Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan delivered a report on the Diocese and expressed gratitude to the Catholicos of All Armenians for holding the subsequent session of the Board at the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan.

His Holiness Yezras briefly presented the history of the establishment of the Armenian Diocese in Russia and the current activities of the Diocese. During the years of his leadership, the Diocese registered 83 parishes, the number of churches went from 7 to 41, and the number of spiritual servants grew by 26. Fifteen churches are under construction, nine of which will be consecrated and opened in 2017 as part of the events dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese.

His Holiness touched upon the spiritual and cultural life within the Diocese and added that the consecration of the new Holy Glorification Church of Moscow (Prelacy) and the opening of a new church complex highly contributed to that. Within the scope of spiritual ceremonies and advocacy efforts, the Diocese organizes pilgrimages to the cathedral in Moscow and various communities, and the Prelacy hosts religious meetings.

The newly created center for Armenian studies promotes the scientific and cultural life within the Diocese, which regularly hosts lectures, conferences and book presentations. The Diocese has established the Tapan Museum and a library equipped with the latest technologies. The Armenian-populated cities publish four bilingual monthlies and have released over two dozens of books.

Secondary School #259 is based in Saint Petersburg, and more than 3,000 children attend 18 Armenian youth centers and various clubs. Established in 2006, the “Hayordats Toon” Armenian School/Center of Moscow has educated 8,000 young Armenians over the past ten years. The Saint Gregory of Narek Gymnasium will soon open its doors in the premises of the church complex in Moscow, and construction of a kindergarten/school will be launched. His Holiness informed that there are youth unions in all parishes, and meetings are organized with Armenian students of Moscow’s universities.

His Holiness noted that the Diocese participates in the Armenian Church’s benevolent programs in Armenia and abroad and provides great assistance to Artsakh. Social support and free legal consulting divisions operate within the complex, benefiting not only Armenians, but also foreigners. There are also two medical institutions, including a dentist’s office in Saint Petersburg and a medical center in Moscow where the needy are provided with services free-of-charge.

The members of the Supreme Spiritual Council accepted the report with satisfaction and expressed their appreciation of the pro-national and pro-church programs that are being carried out by the Diocese. The participants of the assembly asked God to support His Holiness and the clergy in their devoted and beneficial service.

The assembly ended with the blessing and words of appreciation of the Catholicos of All Armenians.

RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan receives members of Uniting Church in Australia

On May 18, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received members of the Uniting Church in Australia led by President of the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia and Pastor of the Saint Andrew Uniting Church in Longueville Krikor Youmshajekian.

The Minister of Diaspora cordially greeted the guests, attached importance to the role that inter-church relations play in the mutual recognition and cooperation between nations and expressed gratitude to the Uniting Church in Australia for passing a resolution on recognition of the Armenian Genocide during its assembly in 2015. “I am glad that you are visiting the first Christian nation with such a large group. Recently, the Ministry has been collaborating more actively with the Evangelical Church for the solution to the issues facing Syrian-Armenians having moved to Armenia, but we also collaborate more actively in the fields of education and culture. We pay great attention to borderline villages, and I am glad that you have adopted Choratan and are trying to help. As you tour Armenia and Artsakh, I hope you get to know and grow to love our country, share your impressions with many Australians and motivate them to not only visit Armenia, but also make investments in Armenia, the land of great opportunities and perspectives.”

Expressing gratitude for the cordial reception, Krikor Youmshajekian noted that the Armenian Evangelical Church is one of the full-fledged members of the Uniting Church in Australia and informed that this visit to Armenia was organized at the request of the members of the Saint Andrew Uniting Church in Longueville. The goal of the trip is to become more familiar with the culture of the Armenian people and visit the historic and cultural sites in all the regions of Armenia and Artsakh. Youmshajekian also expressed certainty that several Australians and particularly the representatives of the Armenian community of Australia would follow the group’s example and take a journey to discover Armenia.

8 Armenians Receive 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

NEW YORK—On Saturday, eight Armenian-American received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor during an official ceremony at the iconic and historic gateway for hundreds of thousands who were welcomed into the United States by the Statue of Liberty and made America their home.

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, which awards the medals, announced that Varant Frank Melkonian, Dr. Garo M. Tertzakian, Ara Tekian, Joan Agajanian Quinn, Lucine Mardirosian, Harvey, Andy Andranik Madadian, Ruth Bedevian and Kurken Yetvart Berksanlar will receive medals of honor.

From successful businessmen, to a pioneering physician, to artists who enrich our lives through art and music and those who dedicate their lives to the advancement of our community through philanthropy, service to church and our organizations, the eight Armenians represent a cross-section of our ever-expanding reality.

The eight Armenians were joined by such luminaries as  journalist Fareed Zakaria, and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin. An Ellis Island International Medal of Honor was also presented to Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who won the Nobel Peace Prize after being shot in her native Pakistan while fighting for a girl’s right to an education.

According to the NECO website, “the Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity. They recognize individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America. As always, NECO remains dedicated to the maintenance and restoration of America’s greatest symbol of its immigrant history, Ellis Island.”

Past Armenian-American Ellis Island Medal recipient s include, Harry Nadjarian, Mike Sarian, Vahe Karapetian, Elizabeth Aghbabian, Maria Mehranian, Dalida Keuroghlian, Sylva Akaragian and Christopher Atamian among dozens of others.

RA President appoints Karen Karapetyan RA Prime Minister

Hayern Aysor presents the Decree of President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on appointing Karen Karapetyan Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. The Decree reads as follows:

“Governed by point 4 of Article 55 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia as amended in 2005, I d e c i d e:

To appoint Karen Karapetyan Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.”

Ambassadors accredited to Canada meet with Speaker of House of Commons of Canada Geoff Regan under leadership of Armenia’s Ambassador to Canada

On May 15, the ambassadors of European countries accredited to Canada, under the leadership of Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Canada Armen Yeganyan serving as the duayen of the ambassadors of European countries, had a meeting with Speaker of  the House of Commons of Canada Geoff Regan, reported the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia to Hayern Aysor.

The items on the agenda were not only the current developments of Canada’s relations with each country, but also issues related to trade, migration and refugees.

In his speech, Ambassador Yeganyan touched upon Armenia’s experience in receiving refugees and providing them with shelters, noting that about 20,000 refugees have taken shelter in Armenia, making Armenia become the third country in Europe having received Syrian refugees based on the ratio of refugees to the population.

The Ambassador also presented the latest developments of the Canadian-Armenian relations, talked about the upcoming programs and touched upon the Francophone Summit to be held in Armenia in 2018.

The issues to be discussed during the future meetings were pinpointed during the meeting.

Diaspora Armenian writer Hovsep Nalbandyan delivers lecture at Artsakh State University

On May 17, Artsakh State University hosted a lecture by Los Angeles-based Armenian literary critic, bibliographer, translator, publicist, member of the Armenian Writers Association of California, national and community activist Hovsep Nalbandyan.

As reported Artsakhpress, in his lecture, Nalbandyan touched upon the current state of Diaspora Armenians and the preservation of the Armenian identity, attaching importance to the role of Armenian culture and literature.

“Besides protecting our personal interests, we must also aspire to enhance and reinforce the collective awareness of our nation. Today, one-third of the 8,000,000 Armenians living abroad are not Armenian since they have no connection with Armenianness and their roots. We have a tremendous amount of work to do in this direction. So, let’s shape our future together so that the generations not only take pride, but also become strong,” the Diaspora Armenian activist said.

Among the attendees were literary critics, Armenian language and literature specialists, as well as students and guests.

Forbes: Carolyn Rafaelian’s Ani&Alex may become one of the leading companies in the world

Founder of Ani&Alex Carolyn Rafaelian is on the front cover of the June volume of Forbes magazine.

Armenian American designer, benefactor and businesswoman Carolyn Rafaelian has been included in Forbes’s list of the richest women in the United States of America who have become wealthy independently.

Rafaelian earns $10,000,000 a year by selling $33-dollar bracelets. The article reads that 80% of the company’s profits come from exclusive bracelets that Rafaelian personally designs.

Forbes notes that the 50-year-old Armenian businesswoman holds 80% (about $1.2 billion) of shares of the jewelry company.

Based on forecasts, in 2020, Rafaelian’s company can become a serious competitor for the famous Pandora trademark, which is the leader in the global market of jewelry and accessories.

Rafaelian is also included in the 50 Most Powerful Women in the World, according to Working Together magazine. She has $700,000,000 and is considered the world’s richest Armenian woman, writes

In 2004, Rafaelian founded Ani&Alex, naming it in honor of her daughter and assuming the task of enhancing her father’s jewelry factory based in Rhode Island. She started manufacturing bracelets with Zodiac signs, and this became her brand. In 2010, she earned about $4.5 million. In 2015, sales reached $500,000,000. Thanks to that, the 49-year-old businesswoman is included in Forbes’s list of the most successful businesswomen.

Hrant Dink’s “remembrance corner” to open in Istanbul today (photo)

“Hope lives when people remember”-this is the motto of the Hrant Dink Foundation, which has turned the former editorial office of Agos Armenian Weekly established by Istanbul-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, murdered in 2007, into a “remembrance corner”.

As reported Agos, Hrant Dink’s “remembrance corner” will open on May 18 (International Museum Day).

Let us mention that Dink was murdered in front of this editorial office on January 19, 2007.

Located at Osmanbey Avenue in the Armenian-populated Shishli district of Istanbul, the premises of the old editorial office of Agos Weekly served as the weekly’s editorial office from 1999 to 2015.

Hrant Dink was killed from a gunshot fired by 16-year-old Turk ultranationalist Ogyun Samast. The trial over Hrant Dink’s murder has been postponed for a decade now, leaving the case unsolved, writes

Schiff says the Turks’ assaults against Armenians and Kurds in Washington D.C. can’t go unpunished

Assaults on freedom of speech, the press, and free assembly have become tragically commonplace in Erdogan’s Turkey.

This is what U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff posted on his Facebook page as he touched upon the May 16 incident that took place near the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C.

According to him, just hours after the meeting at the White House, Erdogan’s security detail violently assaulted Kurdish, Armenian, Ezidi and other peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence. “While we’re still learning details about what occurred, disturbing videos show members of Erdogan’s security team turning on the protesters,” wrote Schiff.

The Congressmen stressed the fact that the incident cannot go unanswered and that there must be consequences for the individuals who attacked protesters exercising their First Amendment rights. “They should be identified and questioned before they leave the country. Assaults on freedom of speech, the press, and free assembly have become tragically commonplace in Erdogan’s Turkey. We must ensure that never becomes the case here at home,” the Congressman emphasized, reported Artsakhpress.

Armenian Assembly Of America’s Statement On Turkish Attack Against Peaceful Protesters

The Armenian Assembly of America joins with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), and others in condemning in the strongest terms yesterday’s brutal attack by Turkish bodyguards against those protesting in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence.

Senator McCain said via Twitter: “This is the United States of America. We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior.” Mayor Bowser stated: “What we saw yesterday – a violent attack on a peaceful demonstration – is an affront to D.C. values and our rights as Americans. I strongly condemn these actions.”

In a press conference today, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said several of President Erdogan’s guards had guns, making the incident especially “dicey” for D.C. officers trying to quell the violence and restore order.

While Turkey has clamped down and repressed its own citizens, including thousands of journalists, there is no place for this in the United States of America.

In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Rep. Ed Royce demanded accountability for the attacks. “To send a clear message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated, I ask that you immediately look into this matter and bring all appropriate criminal charges before these individuals leave the United States. Agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behavior. Above all else, they should never be permitted to violate the protections afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first such episode and represents a troubling pattern – whether it was last year’s event at Brookings Institute wherein Turkish presidential bodyguards and pro-Erdogan supporters violently tried to bar people from attending the think-tank event or Turkey’s shameless support of Azerbaijan’s ongoing ceasefire violations against Armenia and Artsakh, which included the ISIS-like mutilation of an elderly couple and the beheading of three Armenian soldiers.

We urge all people of good will to condemn this latest affront by Turkey on basic freedoms and call upon Congress and the Administration to do so as well. Over 80 Members of Congress have expressed their concerns about the “continuing erosion of human rights and the dramatic decline of democratic values in Turkey” in a letter sent to President Trump prior to his meeting with President Erdogan.

Turkey must not be allowed to export its denial of free speech here in America, of which a State Department spokesperson said in a separate statement that “violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest.”


Ara Babloyan elected Speaker of National Assembly

Ara Babloyan was elected Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Sixth Convocation. This is what chairperson of the ad-hoc Counting Committee Gagik Melikyan announced during the session of the National Assembly.

“Out of the 105 Deputies, 100 participated in the vote. Ara Babloyan received 88 votes “in favor”, and 12 Deputies voted for Edmon Marukyan,” Melikyan noted.

The newly elected parliamentary speaker emphasized that he was accepting the great confidence with a high sense of responsibility. “Assuming this office for the accomplishment of pan-national goals and the empowerment of the homeland, I swear to faithfully fulfill the duties for the nation and promote the protection of the sovereignty and interests of Armenia. I have nothing else to add,” Babloyan concluded.

May 18th marked the first session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Sixth Convocation. The session was moderated by leader of the Kurdish community of Armenia Knyaz Hasanov, who is the eldest Deputy of the newly elected parliament. Among the attendees were President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.

Argentine-Armenians attach importance to “What are YOU doing for Artsakh?” pan-Armenian movement

AGBU Argentina held concerts dedicated to the “What are YOU doing for Artsakh?” pan-Armenian movement launched by the RA Ministry of Diaspora in Buenos Aires (4 May) and Cordoba (6 May).

The concerts featured musical performances by violinist of YANNI Band Samvel Yervinyan; Argentine-based Armenian musician and Honorary Member of AGBU Argentina Gagik Gasparyan and pianist Armen Kuzikyan, and Ararat Armenian Dance Group (director Veronica Karadakhian) performed Armenian dances at the concert in Cordoba.

The concerts featured the showing of the video message of RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan that was simultaneously translated into Spanish. Honorary Member of the AGBU Central Board Antonio Sarafian provided details about the pan-Armenian movement as he talked about the activities carried out in that direction and the future actions.

As reported Gagik Gasparyan to Hayern Aysor, the concerts were held in a very warm atmosphere. The Argentine-Armenians were excited and emphasized the fact that such initiatives promoted the consolidation of Diaspora Armenians around Armenia.

Among those attending the concert in Buenos Aires were representatives of Armenian community organizations, particularly member of the AGBU Central Board, representative and Honorary Chairman of AGBU South America Rouben Keshishian; Chairman of AGBU Argentina Hambartsum Halajian; Chairwoman of the Armenian Women’s Society of Buenos Aires Martha Balian; Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Argentina and Chile, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Kissag Mouradian; pastor of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Buenos Aires, Fr. Archimandrite Maghakia Amirian and foreign guests. His Holiness Kissag gave his blessings and wished the pro-national act success in Buenos Aires.

The concert in Cordoba was also attended by leaders of community organizations; pastor of the St. George Armenian Church in Cordoba, Fr. Priest Harutioun Sepanian and foreign guests. Highly recognized political journalist, international commentator, professor, writer and lecturer Mariano Saravia was also invited as a special guest. Saravia encouraged the Armenians and stressed once again his conviction that Artsakh has been and still is an Armenian territory. The AGBU granted mementos and certificates of appreciation to all the participants.

Let us add that all proceeds from the concerts will be used to purchase musical instruments for music schools in Artsakh. The concerts, which are aimed at making Artsakh recognizable for foreigners, will also be held in other cities of Argentina and in Brazil.

The events in South America will end in Armenia and Artsakh in September 2017.

Gevorg Chichyan

Armenians liberated Berdzor 25 years ago today (video)

Exactly 25 years ago, on May 18, 1992, the Armenian armies liberated the city of Berdzor (Lachin), which is of vital significance and is the link between Armenia and Artsakh.

To this day, the road passing through the city (Lachin Corridor) is considered the most appropriate “vein” linking the two Armenian states to each other, and at the time, it was a corridor of “life” for Artsakh. The liberation of the city laid the foundation for the liberation of the entire region, that is, the Kashatagh region.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was in a dire situation. There was no gas or electricity, and the minimum amount required for ammunition, food, medicine and fuel was transferred through civil aviation.

On May 13, the Armenian troops continued to centralize near the Charasli village, which is located between Shushi and Lachin. There were dozens of armored vehicles and a large number of living military forces. The connection with Lachin was disrupted; the local school, hospital and the building of the local government body were destroyed.

On May 15, members of the Armenian detachment seized the Gyulablu village in the Aghdam village. With an advantage in terms of quantity and position, the Azerbaijani troops retaliated. From the peak of Gyulablu, the adversary was bombarding the civilians of Stepanakert and other Armenian settlements. On May 17, the Armenian troops retaliated the Azerbaijani army’s attack in the direction of Shushi with about 1,000 soldiers, 20 tanks and other armored vehicles.

Based on the information of the headquarters of the self-defense forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, shots were fired between the Azerbaijani armed forces and the local Kurds. However, when traffic from Berdzor to Goris region restarted through a bypass, the Azerbaijani detachments and the locals began to leave Lachin quickly.

On May 18, during the morning session of the Parliament of the Republic of Armenia, then Minister of Defense Vazgen Sargsyan informed that the road linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh was open. In the afternoon, the representative of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan admitted the demise of Lachin.

Source: Artsakhpress

Rep. Schiff Announces Winners of the Congressional Art Competition

Last week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) hosted the annual 28th District Congressional Art Competition and Forum at Van De Kamp Hall in Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. During the exhibit, attended by more than 200 students, teachers and parents, Schiff announced that Mimi Suh’s mixed media piece “Building Blocks” had won first place and will be included in the nationwide Congressional Arts Competition: An Artistic Discovery, in Washington, D.C. Her artwork will be displayed in the United States Capitol for one year, alongside winners from other Congressional Districts across the nation. Mimi attends Crescenta Valley High School, lives in La Crescenta and is in the 12th grade.

Additionally, Schiff announced that Goar Ayrapetyan’s photograph “Looking for an Opening” and Annabel Lawton Boardman’s linocut print “Ministry of Peace” won second and third place, respectively, and their artwork will be displayed in Congressman Schiff’s Washington, DC Office and his Burbank District Office. Goar attends John Burroughs High School, lives in Burbank and is in the 12th grade, and Annabel attends the LA County High School for the Arts, lives in Los Feliz and is in the 11th grade. Schiff also awarded the “People’s Choice” award to Monika Uguryan for her painting, “World’s Eye.” Monika attends the Atanian Art Center: School of Fine Art & Design, lives in Burbank and is in the 9thgrade. Monika’s artwork will be displayed in Rep. Schiff’s Hollywood District Office. Over 2,500 constituents voted in the “People’s Choice” online contest this year.

“Each year, it is an honor to see young artists from our community showcase their talent,” said Schiff. “Every student involved in this competition deserves recognition, and I hope they will all continue to enrich our community with their artwork. I want to congratulate this year’s winners, Mimi, Goar, Annabel, and Monika. I look forward to viewing their art this year in my offices and in the Capitol building!”

This year, the judges serving on the panel to award the different prizes included Kellye Nakahara Wallett, David Warren, and Patricia Peréz. Kellye Nakahara Wallett is a well-known watercolor artist who is also known for her role as “Nurse Kellye” in the television series “M*A*S*H.” David Warren is on the Board of Trustees of the Hollywood Arts Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes, nurtures and supports the arts of Hollywood. Patricia Peréz is a multi-media artist and Board Member of the Elysian Valley Arts Collective.

There were 58 entries representing 24 schools in the 28th Congressional District this year. Each student participant received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congressman Schiff. The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have participated in the nationwide competition.

Mimi Suh will attend the opening reception in Washington D.C. on June 29, 2017.