NEW YORK — The stage was set for a grand celebration, as the Armenia Fund USA 20th Anniversary Gala commenced on Saturday, September 29 at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall. Located at the intersection of old world substance and digital-age functionality, the space proved worthy of the A-list participants.
On a clear night illuminated by a Harvest Moon, the seeds of celebration, planted over one year ago, came to fruition.
By 7:30 p.m., the cocktails were flowing freely in the Oak Room, a mezzanine encased in rich wood paneling and overlooking the Grand Ballroom. Once the festivities moved downstairs, the official program began in earnest with mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian singing the American and Armenian national anthems.
As gala host, attorney Mark Geragos offered warm words of welcome. True to form, his breezy charm did not disappoint. Keynote Speaker Eduard Nalbandian, Armenia’s foreign minister, brought an appropriate level of gravi- tas to the tribute, while French-Armenian entertainer Patrick Fiori, in his US premiere, electrified the room.
A recurring theme throughout the evening was how the nation-building mission of Armenia Fund USA transcended divisions and cut across generations. The 300 guests in attendance attested to this fact, as they came from all community and institutional affiliations.
As Geragos observed in his opening remarks, “It doesn’t matter if you are from the Prelacy or Diocese, the AGBU or Assembly, or any other organization. You can check all that at the door,” he proclaimed.