Hundreds of young professionals gather for annual gala weekend in San Francisco
From February 17 to 19, the AGBU Young Professionals of Northern California (YPNC) held its 17th Annual AGBU San Francisco Winter Gala. The weekend—the theme of which centered on the idea of connection—offered an unforgettable experience for 250 young professionals from across the globe with three full days of events. YPNC directed the weekend’s proceeds—$20,000—to the AGBU Humanitarian Emergency Relief Fund for Syrian Armenians.
“The driving force behind organizing the Winter Gala has always been on raising funds and giving back to various AGBU projects and programs. We are grateful for the opportunity to support our brothers and sisters in Syria and those relocating, and provide them hope as they endure the conflict in the region,” said YPNC chairman David Ojakian.
Gala 2017 Weekend began on Friday, February 17 with a welcome reception at the host hotel, the Sir Francis Drake in Union Square, where attendees mixed, mingled, and began to make their connections to start off the weekend. Following the reception, guests headed to Slide Nightclub where DJ Mikey Tan played Top40 and mashups at this top nightlife venue in Downtown San Francisco’s historic Theater District.
Saturday, February 18 brought the return of another Gala Weekend favorite: the San Francisco walking tour. The tour included stops at many different landmarks around the city, including Fishermen’s Wharf and Ghiradelli Square. Saturday night was the weekend’s signature event: the Connect Gala dinner/dance in the Green Room at the San Francisco War Memorial Performing Arts Center. Complete with breathtaking views of city hall, the evening featured fine dining and dancing to Armenian, international, and popular music.
Sunday, February 19 started with a wine tour to Sonoma Valley, featuring an all-inclusive experience at Cline Cellars. The trip included tours, tastings, and a private lunch at the winery’s Barrel Room. Sunday night introduced a new event to the weekend: Karaoke and Game Night where attendees had a final chance to connect over appetizers.
‘This was my second year attending the Winter Gala. It is always a pleasure to meet new like-minded people and reunite with old friends—speaking our beautiful language, dancing to our Armenian music and sharing ideas about how we can strengthen our local Armenian communities in the diaspora. I believe in living life with a purpose and a big part of that is showing love and compassion to others. Donating through AGBU is one way that my YP peers and I can make a timely and much needed impact for good in the lives of Armenians caught in the midst of the Syrian crisis,” said Tamara Shamlian of Fresno, California.
The YP Network makes it a priority to invest in Armenia and Armenian communities around the world by fundraising for initiatives which need attention and assistance. The AGBU Humanitarian Emergency Relief Fund supports programs in Armenia, Canada, Lebanon and Syria for Syrian Armenians, including food and aid distribution; medical assistance; educational programs and children’s services. Since 2012, the AGBU Humanitarian Emergency Relief Fund has raised more than 4 million for Syrian Armenians in need.
“The gala presented an opportunity to connect Armenians from around the world while raising money for a cause that hit close to home for me. As the son of immigrants from Aleppo, I have seen the torment that has been caused to the Armenian community in Syria during recent years. I am so grateful to have had the chance to organize a three-day event that not only brought together young Armenian professionals, but also raised money for an incredible cause,” said Apik Zorian, YPNC marketing director and co-chair of the 2017 gala.
For more information about YP Northern California, please visit http://norcal.agbuyp.org/.
To donate or learn more about AGBU’s relief efforts, please visit: http://www.agbu.org/syriarelief/help_syria.pdf
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org