May 10, 2018 - 11:00 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Immediately after the election of Nikol Pashinyan as Armenia’s new Prime Minister on Tuesday, May 8, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called upon Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to support Armenia’s successful completion of an unprecedented, peaceful, and constitutional transition through accelerated consideration of a new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant empowering Armenia’s youth through a $140 million Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) education program for the country’s public schools.
In a letter sent to Secretary Pompeo, in his capacity as Chairman of the MCC Board, ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian stressed that: “The MCC’s Board of Directors has a powerful opportunity to build upon Armenia’s deeply rooted, democratically expressed, and domestically driven progress in the areas of good governance and the rule of law. As has been reported widely in the world press, the people of Armenia have meaningfully raised Armenia’s profile among democratic countries, setting a highly commendable example for other nations to follow.” He added: “As Armenia increasingly takes ownership of its own future, we can and must stand with its leaders, pro-actively working with the new government in advancing bilateral cooperation, regional solutions, economic partnerships, and international engagement. ”
“This is the moment to act,” said Hamparian. “The MCC is positioned – at this watershed moment in Armenia’s democratic development – to play a central role in this new chapter in U.S.-Armenia relations. It is in this spirit that we call upon you to immediately initiate streamlined consideration of a new STEAM-oriented compact with Armenia. Such an accord would be transformative on many levels, empowering a new generation of boys and girls through improved education and increased future earning potential, strengthening our economic partnership, and, more broadly, reinforcing the enduring bonds of friendship that have long drawn together the American and Armenian peoples.”
In a series of recent meetings with White House and State Department officials and leading Members of Congress, the Armenian National Committee of America redoubled its year-long campaign toward a new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact that would deliver $140 million in U.S. funding for cutting-edge educational programs in public schools across the Republic of Armenia.
The ANCA is advocating for a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) MCC grant for Armenia – that would – similar to an MCC compact currently being implemented in neighboring Georgia – deliver over $75 million for school infrastructure improvements, $30 million for STEAM education projects, and over $15 million for vocational educational programs to meet the growing demand for information technology professionals. The MCC grant would likely be apportioned over a 5 year period and would be subject to strict oversight by the MCC to ensure the program is benefiting students across Armenia.
Among the legislators consulted by the ANCA include House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, Ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez, Senate Appropriations Committee member Chris Van Hollen, and senior House Committee on Appropriations member Jeff Fortenberry. These meetings covered the full array of Armenian American policy priorities – from strengthening U.S.-Armenia relations, supporting Artsakh’s security and independent status, and seeking justice for the Armenian Genocide.