Two delegations from the Republic of Armenia will arrive in Kansas next week for a visit arranged under the State Partnership Program, a program of the National Guard Bureau. Kansas has been partnered with Armenia since 2003 to foster mutually beneficial military to military, military to civilian and civilian to civilian relationships. Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli visited Armenia for the first time as adjutant general in September 2011.
"We’re pleased to have this opportunity to host such a distinguished delegation," said Tafanelli. "We look forward to further developing and enhancing our relationship with the people of Armenia."
The first group will arrive Saturday, March 17, and will be led by Maj. Gen. Armen Harutyunyan, head of Investigation Service of the Ministry of Defense. Their visit will focus on various aspects of the Kansas legal and military justice systems. Their schedule will include visits to the Kansas Supreme Court, Washburn Law School, Fort Leavenworth, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the office of the assistant U.S. attorney for the Kansas district.
The second delegation will arrive Monday, March 19 and will include Seyran Ohanyan, Armenian minister of defense and Davit Tonoyan, first deputy minister of defense. The delegation will meet with Maj. Gen. (KS) Lee Tafanelli and members of the Kansas National Guard senior staff. They will also take a tour of the Capitol Building and meet with Gov. Sam Brownback, who will sign a proclamation recognizing the mutual achievements made under the partnership and saluting the people of Armenia. Following a photo opportunity with the governor, the delegation will join Brownback for a luncheon with cabinet secretaries, legislative leaders and other state officials.
The Armenians will later meet with representatives of the Command and General Staff College from Fort Leavenworth and visit the warehouse at Forbes containing the Expeditionary Medical Systems, a mobile hospital that is deployable for military or civilian emergency response use. Armenia purchased an EMEDS system in 2005 and Kansas has been working closely with them to develop a deployable mobile medical capability.
After leaving Kansas, the defense minister will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with the U.S. Secretary of Defense and other senior officials.
The State Partnership Program is a National Guard program that partners the National Guard with developing nations to foster military and civilian relationships. Members of the Kansas National Guard, as well as representatives from law enforcement, education, medicine, agriculture and other professions, have visited Armenia several times and representatives from various Armenian military and civilian organizations have come to Kansas for training, discussions and other events. Soldiers of the Armenian Peacekeeping Brigade have deployed to serve alongside soldiers from the United States and other coalition forces.