Susanna Shamoon (S), President of the Assyrian Student Association of Arizona (ASA of AZ), one of AYFA's Member Organizations, was interviewed by AYFA's Western Regional Director Ramsin Youkana (R) about the organization.
R: What has contributed to the ASA of AZ going 8 years strong?
S: The people of this organization are what contributes to the success of the ASA of AZ! The love the members have had for this organization while building and sustaining this group has been one of the contributing factors in the accomplishments of the ASA of AZ. Another contributing factor in maintaining our organization has been the large network we have built over the years. The people we have and the relationships we have built have allowed us to learn and grow over the years. With the members and the support from our community, the ASA of AZ is grateful to have made it this far!
R: What ASA of AZ achievements are you most proud about?
S: We are most proud of sustaining our organization for so long and being able to assist other groups in building their organizations. Being a part of creating that network within the U.S. has been a rewarding experience.
R: What advice would you give to other younger Assyrian youth organizations?
S: Don’t give up! Even when you think no one is interested or things are just not going the way you had imagined, everything will turn out if you continue to believe in what you are doing! Also, don’t be hard on yourself!
R: What was the hardest part about keeping ASA active for 8 years?
S: The hardest part about keeping ASA active for 8 years is maintaining membership.
R: What is the ASA of AZ doing to sustain for years to come?
S: We are currently working on building the future leaders of our organization. It is imperative to sustain your members and educate them on how to be a leader in their own way. We are also working on documenting all programs and activities that we have put on in the past so that our future members are able to continue those programs and modify the process if need be with ease.
R: What is unique about the ASA of AZ?
S: The ASA of AZ has hosted and/or participated in 10 youth exchanges and we have our own dance group called Akitu!
R: What are some regular activities the ASA of AZ puts on?
S: Some regular activities that the ASA of AZ puts on are the dance workshops, the camps, and volleyball nights.
R: What activities does the ASA of AZ organize that most excites youth?
S: We believe that our youth gets most excited for our camps!
R: What activities does the ASA of AZ organize that is most fruitful for the future of Assyrians in America?
S: The most fruitful activities that we organize for the future of Assyrians in America are the Youth Exchanges, Camp Nineveh & Camp Bet Nahrain, and the dance workshops. All of these activities celebrate the Assyrian culture and its people!
R: Any last thoughts you would like to share about the ASA AZ?
S: The ASA of AZ is extremely grateful to be in a position that we are able to celebrate a milestone such as this one. The constant support from our community and our friends from around the world means so much to us. We only hope that we can continue to reach these milestones not only for the ASA of AZ, but for all of our local organizations in America!
Blog Post prepared by Ramsin Youkana and Anthony Narsi