SACRAMENTO – Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) announced that the Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange has been re-established for the 2023-24 Legislative Session.  The Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senate Pro Tem Toni G. Atkins, reauthorized the committee on February 15, 2023.

“California and the Republic of Armenia have a long history of partnership, cooperation, and trade,” stated Senator Portantino. “I am proud to once again serve as Chair of the Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange. By approving this Select Committee, the California State Senate expresses its commitment to expanding relations not only with Armenia, but also with the Republic of Artsakh. Given the recent tragic events that have devastated the country, it is more important than ever that California reaffirms its commitment to Artsakh’s sovereignty and that we continue to strengthen this important partnership.”

At the request of Senator Portantino, the California State Senate Rules Committee first established the historic Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange in 2017 to expand business opportunities through trade, economic development, cultural awareness, and education between California, Armenia, and Artsakh.  Senator Portantino also helped negotiate the historic Memorandum of Understanding between California and Armenia and joined Governor Newsom in New York for its historic, official signing.

Both California and Armenian benefit from collaboration and cooperation.  Armenia has a flourishing high-tech industry, robust arts community, and a digital business corridor that is underutilized. California is at the forefront of these sectors and continues to be a leader in these areas.  Tourism is also a place where California would benefit from direct marketing of our modern Golden State, while also highlighting the amazing and vast historical sites and landmarks of Armenia.

As California recently passed Armenian Genocide Education Curriculum for inclusion in social studies textbooks, the opportunity to encourage teacher training and professional development trips would also be a priority of the committee.  Armenia’s educational systems are highly respected, including the after school programs at TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, an institution that is highly regarded across the globe.

Senator Portantino was instrumental in securing state financial support for the Armenian American Museum in Glendale.  In addition, he facilitated state funding for the City of Glendale’s Tech Week grant to the Hero House Incubator.  Hero House has an office in Yerevan and Glendale.

California has the largest population of Armenian Americans in the country, with the 25th Senate District having the largest concentration.  The continued work of the Senate Select Committee will have a direct role in building stronger economic and cultural ties between California, Armenia, and Artsakh.

Members of the Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia, and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art, and Cultural Exchange include Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera), Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), Senator Henry I. Stern (D-Los Angeles), Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Senator Caroline Menjivar (D- San Fernando Valley), and Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).

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