Talish Babaian attended Glendale Community College where she joined the Scholars’ Program and served on the program’s cabinet as Community Service Director, planning volunteer events for the organization’s members. She also played soccer for the college’s women’s team. Talish then transferred to UCLA where she graduated summa cum laude in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in political science with concentration in international relations. During and after college, Talish worked on a number of local municipal campaigns for the cities of Glendale, Burbank, and Baldwin Park, while continuing to play an active role in her community through volunteer work.
Talish is now a first-year student at Harvard Law School, where she is a member of the Harvard Armenian Law Students Association, the Women’s Law Association, and the Middle Eastern Law Students Association. She is interested in pursuing a career in international and human rights law and is committed to serving those individuals and marginalized communities whose voices are often underrepresented.
Danielle Mikaelian is a first-year student at Harvard Law School. She graduated from Columbia University with a BA in English Literature in 2021. As an undergraduate student, Danielle occupied positions on over ten Columbia University executive boards and was named Columbia’s 2021 Student of the Year. She also served as President of Columbia’s Armenian Society.
At Harvard Law School, Danielle occupies editorial roles in four legal journals and provides pro bono legal advice to startups as a Student Attorney for the Harvard Law Entrepreneurship Project. She also serves on the board of the Harvard Association for Law and Business. Danielle is a former Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Western Region Government Affairs Intern and a 2022 ANCA Rising Leader.
Arameh Vartomian is currently pursuing a joint degree from Berkeley Law School and the London School of Economics, and is committed to his academic and professional development. This summer, he will be joining DLA Piper’s San Diego office as a summer associate, where he hopes to gain valuable experience and contribute to the firm’s growth and success.
In addition to Arameh’s academic and professional path, he is active in various Armenian organizations, including the Armenian Bar Association, where he learned about this scholarship opportunity. Receiving this Armenian Bar Association scholarship will allow Arameh to continue his education as well as his involvement in promoting the interests of the Armenian community. As a recipient, he plans to continue to be a positive force for change and advancement within the legal profession.
Marko Cem Zerunyan
Marko Zerunyan is a second- year student in the joint LLB-JD degree program between Columbia Law School and King’s College London, and is set to graduate in May of 2024. He has a profound interest in international law and pursues this interest through his involvement in the Columbia Journal of Transnational and the International Claims and Reparations Project. Marko grew up in Istanbul, is fluent in German, French, and Turkish, and is actively learning Western Armenian. Marko will be a 2023 summer associate at the New York and London offices of Sullivan & Cromwell.
Vicken I. Simonian Memorial Legal Scholarship Winners
Narine Lalafaryan is attending the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, where she is completing her studies for a LL.M. in Commercial Law. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Faculty of Law at Yerevan State University and an LL.M. from the American University of Armenia, where she received the LL.M. Student of the Year award in 2013 and 2014. Included in her service to Armenia is her participation at the Peace Building in Eastern Europe Conference, hosted by the United State Embassy in Moldova as a representative of Armenia, being a member of the School of Advocates of Armenia and being legal counsel to the Zangezur Copper Molybednum Combine among numerous other achievements.
Andre Kazangian Memorial Legal Scholarship Winners
Anzhelika Ishkanyan is a graduate of the French University of Armenia, Jean-Moulin Lyon III University where she received a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2014. Thereafter, she continued her legal education at the University Pantheon-Assas, in Paris, France, where she received a Master of Laws in Corporate Law in 2015. She currently is enrolled at the Harvard University Law School in Massachusetts where she is a candidate for her second LL.M. Among her service to Armenia, she worked at the Central Bank of Armenia, Insurance Foundation for Servicemen of Armenia, and the Association of Accountants and Auditors of Armenia, in addition to many other projects and programs of Armenia with which she has been involved.
Anzhela Hovhannisyan graduated Summa Cum Laude at the French University of Armenia, Jean-Moulin Lyon III University and at Yerevan State University, where she received a Master of Jurisprudence in European Union and International Law. She also holds a Master of Laws from the American University of Armenia and is a member of Armenia’s School of Advocates. She is presently attending the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law where she is pursuing a Master of Laws degree. Among her service to Armenia, she has been a part of several United Nations programs in Armenia and has written extensively on matters of legal concern to Armenia.
Arusyak Julhakyan After receiving a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the State Engineering University of Armenia, Ms. Julhakyan attended Warsaw University in the Pre-Doctoral Studies Program in European and International Law with a Specialization in Human Rights. She was admitted to the LL.M. program at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law when the Velvet Revolution took place in Armenia. At that point, she decided to suspend her education and return to Armenia, where she ran for and was elected as a member of Armenia’s National Assembly. While Ms. Julhakyan was unable to accept our scholarship, we wish to acknowledge her outstanding academic record and her devoted public service to the Republic of Armenia. She serves as an exceptional role-model to Armenian youth and represents the best of Armenia’s future.
Vicken I. Simonian Memorial Legal Scholarship Winners
Andrii Trapizonian–Mr. Trapizonian is a young Armenian lawyer living in the Ukraine, who also holds a Masters Degree and has been offered admittance to nine law schools in the United States to attain an LLM. He has accepted to attend the LLM program at the University of Arkansas School of Law. His goal is to help write legislation for the Republic of Armenia on mediation and arbitration. He is actively involved in the Armenian community of Ukraine and several Ukranian bar associations.
Andre Kazangian Memorial Legal Scholarship Winners
Anna Hakobyan – Ms. Hakobyan has been accepted to Stanford University’s Program in International Legal Studies offered by the Stanford Law School. She was one of only 12 students accepted to this program. She has worked in the OSCE/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA/ROLI) which the Armenian Bar works with, the Jessup International Moot Court competition team for Yerevan State University (which the Armenian Bar Association has often supported financially) and she has been a lecturer at AUA Law School.
Anahit Sargsyan – Born in Armenia, Ms. Sargsyan has been accepted to U.C.L.A. School of Law. Her undergraduate work was at UC Davis, where she was on the Dean’s Honor List, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Winter 2015 and graduated with honors. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and Phi Theta Honor Society. After graduation, she was selected as the first fellow of the Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellowship Program, which led to her employment at Senator Anthony Portantino’s Capitol office as a Legislative Aide. She has also interned with the Law Offices of Peter Stone and Congressman Ami Bera’s office in Washington D.C. She is an active member of the Armenian National Committee of America’s Sacramento Chapter. She participated in projects to register people to vote, to help them understand the voting process and inform them about the politics of the region. She also participated in the organization of advocacy days at the State Capitol to raise important issues for the Armenian-American community.
She also volunteered to support the organizational efforts of the Armenian Genocide Centennial in Washington, D.C. While working in Sacramento, she helped with the newly created Select Committee in the State Senate on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange.
Souren Israelyan Legal Scholarship Winners
Andrew Khanarian – Mr. Khanarian has been accepted to Columbia Law School. Mr. Khanarian was a student intern at the Commission on Judicial Conduct of New York State. The chief executive officer of the Commission gave a very favorable recommendation for Andrew and mentioned that he did such a good job for the commission that Appellate Division Justice Rolando Acosta, who was on the commission, offered Andrew an internship in his chambers. Andrew is a very active member of the St. Leon Armenian Church of New Jersey where he also serves as an executive board member of the Armenian Christian Youth of America program.
Andre Ghazarian – Andre Ghazarian is a second year law student at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. Mr. Ghazarian was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to the United States via Greece and Canada. He and his family arrived in the United States in 1994, when he was 16 years old. After struggling with non-resident immigration status for over a decade, and working to support his family, Mr. Ghazarian was given the opportunity to attend Glendale Community College. While attending college, he opened and operated a small business and made a goal to transfer his studies to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). After several years of operating the business, and after becoming a permanent resident of the U.S., he was able to realize his dream and transfer to UCLA. While at UCLA, he was active in the Armenian Students’ Association serving as its “Historical Advisor” and spearheaded a weekly tutoring program for Armenian students. In 2014, he graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
Mr. Ghazarian’s references offered glowing recommendations of his impressive accomplishments and strong dedication to the Armenian community in Southern California. Dr. Levon Marashlian, Professor at Glendale Community College, noted that Mr. Ghazarian was “among the best” of his students and he believes “there is a high probability that Andre will become an especially valuable asset for the Armenian community after he finishes his studies.” Dr. Marashlian was particularly impressed with Mr. Ghazarian’s dedication to his studies, which took a detour while he supported his family and earned a living, pursuing his studies as he could. One of Mr. Ghazarian’s law school professors noted that he “has overcome many obstacles to reach this level” and “Andre’s devotion to his family and community push him to excel.”
Aren Khanbabaei – Born in Tehran, Iran, Aren Khanbabaei is admitted to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (Loyola), and he will receive his Juris Doctorate in 2018. Aren received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), cum laude with College Honors in English Literature in 2013. As an undergraduate, Aren received many awards for “Most Valuable Debater of the Year;” was a member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society; and helped organize events and social functions to raise money for causes such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Aren worked full-time during his undergraduate career. During those years, Aren was also very active in the Armenian Community at large. Specifically, he volunteered for many years at the Armenian Observer Newspaper and the Armenian General Benevolent Union. Currently, Aren is the 1L Representative of the Public Interest Law Foundation at Loyola and a member of the Armenian Law Student Association. One of his recommendations reads as follows: “Rarely have I had the pleasure of working with an individual that is so driven, talented, and resourceful. The level of maturity he displays is praiseworthy.” (Dr. Henan L. Joof).
Nona Yegazaraian – Nona Yegazarian will be entering her third year at Pepperdine University, School of Law. She completed her second year in the top 16th percentile of her class. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Yegazarian graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a double minor in International Relations and Russian from the University of Southern California.
In addition to her academic achievements, Ms. Yegazarian has a history of community involvement and volunteer experience, particularly serving the Armenian community. Ms. Yegazarian served as the Secretary of the Pepperdine Armenian Law Students’ Association (“ALSA”). During her first year at Pepperdine, Ms. Yegazarian participated in the first Armenian Bar Association and Pepperdine University School of Law ALSA’s collaboration in organizing a free legal clinic for the Armenian community in Montebello, California. Through the Association, she has also organized on-campus events, with proceeds directed to the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund benefiting displaced Syrian Refugees. With her participation, the ALSA became the first Armenian law student association to join the ANCA’s Rally for Justice Coalition. Ms. Yegazarian also helped organize the 100th Anniversary Genocide Commemoration on campus. She is also a volunteer and member of the Armenian Bar Association.
Ms. Yegazarian is committed to continuing her contribution to the Armenian community through her academic work and community involvement.
Ms. Yegazarian’s references were glowing endorsements of her strong work ethic, academic achievements and commitment to the Armenian community.
Vicken I. Simonian Memorial Legal Scholarship Winners
Andre Bogossian was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He received his Bachelor of Law degree in 2010 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro magna cum laude, graduating second in his class. Subsequently, he worked both in the public and private sectors, where he specialized in administrative and constitutional law. He then received a Master in Law degree in 2015 from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, graduating first in his class. At Pontifical Catholic University, he was the Editor of the Law Journal.
Andre has been accepted to Harvard Law School’s LLM program for the calendar year 2015-2016. He plans for a career in academia. His main area of interest is Comparative Constitutional Law, with a focus on studying institutional mechanisms of democracy. To this end, he intends to study several democracies including Armenia. Specifically, his research on Armenia will analyze the form of its governance and suggest solutions to strengthen it.
Andre is a member of the Young Professionals Network of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and is active in the planning of events.
Adam Raffi Kevorkian commenced the J.D. program at Southwestern Law School in September 2015. He received a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University in Anthropology and Archaeology. In addition to his academic pursuits, Adam was a lecturer at Loyola Marymount University where he was hired out of school in the very program where he was a student.
Adam is passionate about his Armenian heritage. He took a course to learn how to read and write Armenian. He visited Armenia which encouraged him to write about it. His work has been published in the Ararat Quarterly and other journals. One of his short stories was published in the Los Angeles Review, which resulted in a PEN/ Faulkner nomination for “Best Young Writer in American Fiction.” He is the author of the novel, Masis, which was displayed at the London Book Fair. He has also spoken to students at the Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Hollywood about cultural identity. In 2013, Adam was honored with a Certificate of Recognition by the California Legislature Assembly, Adrin Nazarian, 46th District, for “hard work and dedication to the [Armenian] community…”
Mesrop Manukyan, born in Yerevan Armenia, will be attending the University of Cambridge this fall to pursue a Master of Laws (LLM). Mesrop obtained his law degree from Yerevan State University in 2013. After becoming a lawyer, he first worked as DeputyAssistant at the National Assembly of Armenia and then as a lawyer at Legelata LLC, a law firm in Yerevan. While working full-time, Mesrop also completed a 2-year LLM program at the American University of Armenia where he is projected to finish first in his class.
Currently, Mesrop serves as the Yerevan-based lawyer for the Initiatives for Development of Armenian (IDeA) charitable foundation and its 15 partner organizations. In his position with IDeA, Mesrop provides legal support for programs including: 100 Lives; the St. George’s Cathedral restoration project in Georgia; the Dilijan development project; and the establishment of the UWC Diljian College. He enjoys this work because it is “aimed towards the development of my country.”
In addition to his academic and professional career, Mesrop regularly gives back to his community. He provides pro bono counsel to Armenians who cannot afford to hire a lawyer and also volunteers his non-paid legal services to various committees at the National Assembly of Armenia, including the “Standing Committee on Territorial Management and Local Self-Government.” Mesrop hopes to establish a non-governmental organization focused on bridging the legislative process with the local communities in various regions in Armenia in an effort to develop further participation in government and boost the local economies.
Promising Students Awarded Armenian Bar Scholarships
Alexander Sevan Bedrosyan is currently a law student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Upon graduating in 2016, he plans to practice international arbitration, facilitating the process of dispute resolution be- tween business partners from different countries, among them Armenia, and becoming what he characterizes as a “valuable bridge-builder in the new globalizing world.”
Bedrosyan excelled in his studies as an undergraduate at Columbia University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude in May 2012 with degrees in Political Science and Russian. He maintained a cumulative grade point aver- age of 3.995, which placed him in the top 1% of his graduating class at Columbia. His current performance at the University of Pennsylvania Law School reflects the same degree of intellectual rigor, commitment to hard work, and readiness to face challenges with which he was able to graduate so impressively as a Columbia undergraduate. At the law school, Bedrosyan is a Dean’s Scholar. He was chosen to represent the University of Pennsylvania at the Salzburg Global Seminar, run by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Breyer. Most impressively, Bedrosyan was an oralist for his school team during this past year’s Jessup International Law Moot Court competition, the largest and most prestigious moot court competition in the world.
In addition, Bedrosyan has demonstrated an ardent and sustained involvement with issues concerning the Armenian com- munity over the past several years. At Columbia, Bedrosyan served as president of the Armenian Society during the 2011- 2012 academic cycle. As an intern for Moscow’s Dilijan International School of Armenia, he contributed to the development of curricular material that will teach students how to utilize the resources of globalization and international networking. In Moscow, Bedrosyan also raised funds for the restoration of the Surb Giragos Church in Tigranakert/Diyarbakir. From these experiences, Bedrosyan has learned how international cooperation and collaboration can help advance Armenian interests.
Roza Petrosyan, born in Yerevan, Armenia, came to the United States at the age of eleven. She is now a resident of Glendale, California and will be entering her first year of law school at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law in the fall of 2014. Petrosyan recently graduated from the University of South- ern California with a double major in History and Psychology and a minor
in Russian Area Studies. She received many academic accolades during her college career including being named USC Presidential Scholar, Foulke History Scholar and a member of the USC Dean’s List for all semesters. Notably, in 2013 her thesis “Voiceless Heroes: Female Resistance during the Armenian Genocide” was awarded “Best Honors Thesis” in the USC History department and was the first prize winner in the research category for the USC Undergraduate Writers’ Conference. She was extended the honor of presenting her thesis as a guest lecturer for political science classes at USC and at the USC Alumni leader- ship conference.
In addition to her academic studies, Petrosyan was an active member of the USC Armenian Students’ Association, serving at times as Vice President and Secretary/Historian. Her work experience includes interning for the USC Shoah Foundation where she helped make accessible the testimonies of 400 survivors of the Armenian Genocide. She has also served as an intern for the Society of Orphaned Armenian Relief and volunteered at the Armenia Fund Tele- thon. In her spare time, she tutors international students in English at the USC American Language Institute and is an academic tutor for elementary school students at the Youth Policy Institute.
Petrosyan’s references offered glowing recommendations of her impressive academic accomplishments, promise as a lawyer and dedication to the study of human rights.
Armenian Bar Association Awards Scholarships To Two Promising Stars
Lena Melkonian has spent the better part of the past three decades in legal work. Starting out as a receptionist in a legal office in 1983, she progressed over the years to positions of increasing responsibility. For the past two decades she has served as a paralegal in the offices of Los Angeles attorney Daniel V. Behesnilian. As Ms. Melkonian describes it, she had long want ed to pursue a legal career, but family priorities put those aspirations on hold for many years. However, at the behest (and with the encouragement) of John
Marshall Law School professor Ann Lousin, Ms. Melkonian returned to academia, completing her undergraduate classroom requirements at Los Angeles Valley College and then receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Ms. Melkonian has been an active promoter of Armenian cultural and national interests, both in Armenia and the United States. For more than ten years, she has been a board member of the Visit Armenia, It Is Beautiful campaign, an effort with the purpose of both encouraging tourism in Armenia and advising local governments on the best measures to foster that economic sector. At a more personal level, she has sponsored youngsters whose family lives have been disrupted. One of the beneficiaries of her support, Stepan (whose father died while fighting against Armenia’s national enemies), was able to complete his formal education and is now practicing law. Her more immediate interests include participation in the Rose and Alex Pilibos PTA, the Burbank chapter of the Armenian Cultural Association, and as a lead actress in Armenian theatre productions.
Ani Kocharyan grew up in post- Soviet Armenia. Reacting on a personal level to the regional chaos threatening Armenia during the first years of independence, she chose to specialize in international law during her university years. Upon completion of university studies, Ms. Kocharyan entered government service, with duties of ever-increasing responsibility. These included preparing documentation for Armenia’s formal participation in more than 80 multi-lateral treaties, representing Armenia at the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts in Public International Law, and preparing and implementing national programs for the promotion of women’s and minority rights.
Looking to the future, Ms. Kocharyan hopes that her current program of studies at Columbia University will better enable her to contribute to understanding, and prospective resolution, of the spectrum of international challenges facing today’s Armenia, perhaps even extending to a lasting peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and, as well, an increased international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The Scholarship Program is primarily funded by donations and by fundraising events hosted by the Armenian Bar Association. In addition to the Scholar- ship Program, the Armenian Bar Association supports Armenian law students through its varied programs and events including the mentorship and internship programs and presentations by legal scholars.
2008 Scholarship Award
Yelena Nersesyan, Brooklyn, New York
2007 Scholarship Award
Lisa Khachaturian, Baltimore Maryland
Karine Aghababyan, Yerevan, Armenia