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Mayor of Glendale to visit Armenia

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Glendale Mayor Elen Asatryan will travel to Armenia from June 11-20, 2024, to participate, in part, in the U.S.-Armenia Local Democracy Forum organized by the U.S. State Department with Mayors and Executives from cities around the United States.

According to a statement from Mayor Asatryan’s office, she will arrive ahead of the delegation on the night of June 11, 2024. The goal of the trip is to enhance bilateral relations, explore economic opportunities, and foster cultural and educational exchanges between Armenia and Glendale, and beyond.

The Mayor’s itinerary includes visits to Yerevan, Gyumri, and, time permitting, possibly Kapan. The trip will also include meetings with Armenian local government officials, media outlets, business leaders, and community organizations. Asatryan will also participate in panels and discussions focused on strengthening relations with Armenia, sister city relations, democracy, efficient government structures, sustainability, trade, tourism, and technology partnerships.

Reflecting on the trip, Mayor Asatryan stated, "I am thrilled to return to my birthplace Armenia as the Mayor of Glendale - home to the largest concentration of Armenians outside of Armenia, making up roughly 40% of our city's population. As the fourth largest city in LA County and home to the largest immigrant/foreign-born population in California, Glendale and Armenia are intertwined in every way. This trip represents an incredible opportunity to deepen our connections, share knowledge, and create meaningful collaborations that benefit both Glendale and Armenia."

Asatryan last visited Armenia in December 2022-January 2023 to join Armenia’s Opera House as she helped establish a partnership between Armenia’s Opera House and Los Angeles Opera. During that visit, Asatryan also visited Glendale’s Sister Cities Gyumri and Kapan and was the first Glendale elected official to do so since Gyumri and Glendale became sister cities in 2015 and the first city elected official to visit Kapan since 2009.

Upon her return, Mayor Asatryan initiated a review of Glendale’s current sister city policies, which she felt lacked proper structures, accountability, and staffing to ensure that initiatives, programs, and exchanges actually took place beyond visits and MOUs on paper. This item is scheduled to come to a discussion and vote at the Glendale City Council meeting next month.

“If Asatryan garners the support from her council colleagues, this will pave the way for structured committees and more support and productive bilateral relations. Asatryan also called for Glendale to create an Artsakh Fund during the blockade, encouraging larger Glendale organizations to donate and will use the trip as an opportunity to see how the funds can go to refugees from Martuni, Artsakh, who were forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands,” the statement reads.

Mayor Asatryan has also noted that she plans to lead a city delegation during her tenure as Mayor and bring along experts and economic opportunities based on sister city needs.

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