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Only a week old, AGBU Blog is already receiving a great deal of virtual attention thanks, in part, to the highly popular FOCUS event this past weekend. If you’ve missed the highlights, here they are:

By 2:30pm on Monday (July 30), AGBU Blog already had 582 views, surpassing its previous day record of 422. [ADDENDUM: The total for July 30, 2007, was a whopping 801 views!]

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FOCUS weekend ended with a gourmet brunch at Josephina’s restaurant near Lincoln Center. A few hundred came by the casual event to share stories and reconnect with friends.

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Over 500 guests attended the FOCUS gala event at Gotham Hall in Manhattan’s Herald Square. The elegant affair paid tribute to the 20th Anniversary of the New York Summer Intern Program (NYSIP) and honored Vartkess and Rita Balian, the co-chairs of the AGBU President’s Club, which has supported NYSIP from its inception.

focusgalabalians2.jpgFOCUS co-chairs Ani Manoukian and Arda Berberian welcomed guests, and longtime NYSIP activities coordinator Arthur Bohdjalian of Vienna, Austria, emceed the evening’s festivities.

A video showcased NYSIP alumni and staff speaking about some of the highlights of a program that has touched hundreds of lives for two decades. Raffi Balian, son of Vartkess and Rita Balian, spoke about his parents’ support of NYSIP and their belief in the future of Armenian youth. Vartkess and Rita Balian were also invited to speak and they expressed their appreciation and thanked FOCUS for making the dream of uniting Armenian youth into a reality.

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Photos from the evening and other FOCUS 2007 events will be posted in the coming weeks on agbu.org/focus.

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Over two dozen items were sold as part of the Saturday auction at the Grant Gallery in Soho. Known as FOCUS on Art, the event raised thousands of dollars for FOCUS’ scholarship endowment for the New York Summer Intern Program (click here to donate).

foa01.jpgClose to two hundred guests attended the lively auction, which included silent auction items and a select number of works sold at live auction. Charity auctioneer A. Agopian and assistant auctioneer T. Aynilian roused the crowd and made it a memorable fundraising experience.

Artworks from the Yerevan Fine Arts Academy (Yerevan, Armenia) and the AGBU Sarian Art Academy (Aleppo, Syria) were among those sold for charity. Other participating artists included, Anet Abnous, Vahram Aghazarian, Shant Donabedian, Linda Ganjian, Aram Jibilian, Carla Koulajian, Vadim Krisyan, Helga Sarkis, Gailyn Saroyan, Sam Tchakalian and Sossy Terzian (complete list of artists and works).

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600+ FOCUS guests traveled to New York’s Upper West Side for the Friday club event at Loft. A staple of the FOCUS weekend, revelers danced until 4am on the two floor dance club.

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