In advance of the March 21 Persian New Year — commonly referred to as Nowruz or Norooz — members of the Iranian-Canadian community filed into the Rosewood Hotel Georgia for the seventh annual Neekoo Soiree, sponsored by the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation.

Chaired by Saeedeh Salem and a committee of a dozen influential and philanthropic Persian women that include Sanaz Esfahani, Nahal Gamini and Elly Safari, more than 250 guests — family and friends — made the scene in support of student scholarships and the next generation of community leaders.

Staying with tradition, gala-goers donned new clothes to greet the first day of the equinox and shared a meal of Persian dishes with loved ones.

A tabletop arrangement of seven symbolic items traditionally displayed to mark the New Year called a Haft-Seen greeted attendees. Meant to represent health, wealth, contentment, purity, bravery, love and wisdom, the values were on full display as gala-goers gave courageously to benefit the next generation of community leaders.

Works by West Vancouver-based artists Parviz Panavoli, considered widely as Iran’s most renowned living artist, and Iranian sculptor Kambiz Sharif, led fundraising efforts following dinner.

Princely sums paid for the Lion and Sword painting and My Homeland sculpture in the spirited live auction contributed to a record-setting $125,000 night that will reportedly provide educational opportunities for another 40 young students.


Committee member Tandar Tanavoli ushered in the Persian New Year at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia with her famous Iranian dad, artist and author Parviz Tanavoli.

Community do-gooders Nahal Gamini, Saeedeh Salem and Arya Eshghi helped raise funds for student scholarships.

Azadeh Eltejaei co-emceed the Neekoo Philanthropic Society’s annual soiree produced by Countdown Events Matine Ahmadzadegan. The Nowruz celebrations would bring in $125,000 to support the next generation of community leaders.

Source: The Province