PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) is set to honor Sona Movsesian, an Armenian American activist and Conan O’Brien’s executive assistant, with the ANCA Eastern Region Freedom Award at its 15th annual gala on Saturday, October 23, 2021, at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel beginning at 6:30 pm EDT.
The ANCA-ER Freedom Award is the highest honor the region bestows upon individuals who exhibit extraordinary courage and devotion to freedom and justice. It is presented annually at the regional gala to individuals who have made contributions toward issues that concern Armenian-Americans. Movsesian will join Siranush Sahakyan, an internationally recognized human rights attorney, and a list of other notable recipients from years past.
Movsesian has used her voice and platform to create awareness of the Armenian cause for years and most recently, used her platform to call attention to the Azeri and Turkish attacks on the Armenians of Armenia and Artsakh during the 44-day war.
Movsesian started her career in television at NBC as a member of the Page program after which she went on to become the events and operations coordinator for the publicity department. She began working for Conan O’Brien as his executive assistant in 2009 when he moved to Los Angeles to take over hosting duties for The Tonight Show. She continued to work alongside him throughout his tenure as the host of Conan on TBS, which ended June 2021.
She has been featured on the show many times throughout her years working with Conan. Videos online featuring Sona have over 80 million streams cumulatively. In 2015, Movsesian and O’Brien went to Armenia and filmed their adventures for a Conan Without Borders special. The popular media blog Vulture ranked the Armenia episode in the series as #1 among all the international specials Conan has shot. In 2018 she joined O’Brien on his hit podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, which has a million downloads weekly.
In mid 2021, Movsesian announced that she will be releasing a book entitled The World’s Worst Assistant with Plume, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Tak, their newborn twin boys Charlie and Mike and their dog Oki.
“On behalf of the ANCA Eastern Region, I would like to congratulate this year’s Freedom Award recipient Sona Movsesian. She used her position within the staff of late-night host Conan O’Brien’s to teach an audience of millions about Armenians in the United States as well as take that audience on a tour of Armenia hosted by Conan and Sona together. Her work provided many Americans with their first exposure to Armenia through the immense power of popular culture,” said Anthony Deese, ANCA Eastern Region Gala chair.
Michigan State Representative Mari Manoogian will preside over the gala, which will comply with all COVID-19 safety protocols, and feature a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and awards program beginning at 6:30 pm EDT. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities can be found online. The region will also honor Philadelphia activist Andrew Kzirian with the ANCA Eastern Region Vahan Cardashian Award, as well as other deserving honorees including the region’s summer interns and the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program participants.