BY FRED LEE, SPECIAL TO THE PROVINCE

PAYING IT FORWARD: The Persian community converged at the Roundhouse Community Centre for the second annual NeeKoo Society soiree. A group of leading Iranian professionals in Metro Vancouver founded the not-for-profit charity last year to make a difference, celebrate their own and create a culture of giving, compassion and humanity for the next generation. Society darlings Saeedeh Salem and Kataneh Sherkat welcomed a sellout crowd to the Saturday-night dance party headlined by international DJ Kourosh Tazmini.

More than 250 guests attended the festivities sponsored by Pure Integrative Pharmacy. Former media beauty Naz Salimian-Taylor emceed the colourful affair — a celebration of Persian culture, music, food and wine — while 23 year-old University of B.C. nursing student Sara Eftekhar, a beneficiary of the society’s support, provided the evening’s keynote. With a fabulous silent auction of great art, gifts and getaways, more than $25,000 was generated for mentorship and grant programs to assist young Iranians in pursuing a post secondary education.

Notables spotted kicking up their heels included board members Setareh Amiri, Bita Ghassemzadeh, Atussa Heravi and Tandar Tanavoli; committee members Mass Abedi, Maryam Akhavan, Pantea Basiri, Sanaz Esfahani, Shahrzad Hakimzadeh, Sahar Hosseini, Soha Lavin, Mahshid Poursartip and Ali Sohrabzadeh; singer/songwriter Bif Naked; TV host Fiona Forbes; Enotecca Winery and Resorts’ Kam Kamrani; Pediatric Dental Group’s Dr. Reza Nouri; Canucks Autism Network’s Katy Harandi; and Sinclair Dental’s Ali Bozorgzad.

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