April 03, 2007
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FOCUS 2007: Saluting 20 Years of NY Summer Intern Program

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    A scene from the 2005 FOCUS Gala in Miami, Florida.
    A scene from the 2005 FOCUS Gala in Miami, Florida.

New York, NY - After the rousing success of FOCUS 2005, in South Beach, Florida, the highly successful biennial AGBU FOCUS weekend returns to its roots in New York City. Plans are underway for what promises to be the best FOCUS ever. From a Gala evening and a networking event, to a live art auction and club night, the Organizing Committee has plans for an exciting weekend, which they expect will attract over 500 Armenians from around the world. FOCUS invites all young Armenian professionals to join in the celebrations to take place July 26-29, 2007 in one of the world's most dynamic cities.

FOCUS premiered in 2001 in New York City where, for the first time, AGBU youth programs joined forces to plan AGBU's 95th anniversary. Former campers and interns came together with the vast network of Young Professionals to celebrate the various programs that had made a difference in their lives. In fact, in addition to unifying peers, the youthful committee initiated pre-event fundraising efforts that raised an astonishing $25,000 for various AGBU youth programs. The success of 2001 commanded an initiative to transform FOCUS into a biennial affair.

In 2003, FOCUS headed north to Montreal, Canada where hundreds of guests gathered to honor AGBU's Generation Next Program, which partners students from the Glendale School District in California with mentors from the young professional community. It was in Montreal that the ever popular FOCUS on Art, a fundraising exhibit and auction featuring the artwork of students from the AGBU Children's Centers in Yerevan, made its debut.

Two years later, over five hundred young Armenians flew south to the vibrant shores of South Beach for a weekend of sold-out events. The highlight of the weekend was the elegant Gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami where participants from over thirty cities worldwide paid tribute to the AGBU Scholarship Program, which provides financial assistance to full-time students of Armenian descent enrolled in colleges and graduate programs across the globe.

NYSIP to be Honored

This year, FOCUS will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the AGBU New York Summer Internship Program (NYSIP). For two decades, NYSIP, enjoying the unwavering support and vision of Mr. and Mrs. Vartkess and Rita Balian, has provided a platform for Armenian college and graduate students to gain professional experience, while also affording an opportunity for self-growth and interaction amongst peers from around the world. Students live in the heart of New York's East Village and spend their days working at some of nation's top institutions as well as take part in lectures and social outings with fellow interns. AGBU FOCUS believes in the mission of NYSIP and has launched a large-scale fundraising effort in advance of the FOCUS event to provide scholarships to enable worthy candidates to take advantage of the priceless experiences NYSIP has to offer. Proceeds from this fundraising will be directed to the Intern Program.

An Array of Events

Uniting Armenians from all over the world, AGBU FOCUS 2007 will offer a professionally, culturally and socially enriching weekend. In addition to the traditional Thursday-night kick-off networking event entitled Perspectives, guests will also have the opportunity to interact in a more intimate setting over lunch on Friday afternoon at the AGBU Headquarters for a discussion and exchange of ideas. Following the luncheon, guests can dance Friday night away at a popular NYC nightclub. FOCUS on Art returns Saturday afternoon at a trendy Soho gallery, with an added feature, a live auction showcasing Armenian artworks from around the world. Saturday night's stylish Gala will be held at the historic Gotham Hall with live music and a special program paying tribute to the New York Summer Intern Program. Rooms have been reserved at the ultra-modern, Philippe Starck-designed Hudson Hotel just steps away from Central Park, Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. A special rate is available for reservations made only through AGBU after April 25th.

Participants should mark their calendars and book their flights. Discounted rates are available for flights to and from New York through American Airlines and Continental Airlines. Please check for details on flights, accommodations and event registration at www.agbu.org/focus, or email focus@agbu.org.

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