Seeing the Light

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Guests take to the dance floor at the 4th annual New York Diwali Gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

On the evening of Friday, November 3rd, the 4th annual New York Diwali Gala took place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. The premiere celebration of Diwali on the East Coast, the Diwali Gala unites remarkable members of the South Asian community to commemorate a profound tradition that has evolved into a cultural hallmark in New York. Diwali, known as the “Festival of Lights,” spans five days and is observed by over 1 billion people globally, each with their unique customs. The 2023 celebration was co-chaired by Preet Bharara, Radhika Jones, and Kal Penn.

Maneesh K. Goyal and Alvina Patel Buxani.

The event, established by Maneesh K. Goyal, entrepreneur and co-founder of SONA, raised funds for the Asian American Writer’s Workshop (AAWW). The AAWW is an organization devoted to creating, publishing, developing, and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans. Since its founding in 1991, they have been dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told.

“In times of darkness it is wonderful to see this community come together to celebrate the light,” said Radhika Jones, Editor-in-Chief, Vanity Fair, about the meaning of the evening.

Authentic to the South Asian culture’s devotion to inclusion, over 200 attendees were welcomed from all backgrounds, breaking cultural barriers to silence preconceived notions and stereotypes.

Co-chairs Preet Bharara and Radhika Jones, were joined by host committee members and notable guests from the realms of entertainment, media, fashion, and hospitality including Huma Abedin, Sachin & Babi Ahluwalia, Alvina Patel Buxani, Devika Bhise, Shruti Ganguly, Mira Jacob, Jenna Lyons, Ariana Debose, Wes Gordon, Jill Kargman, Siddharth Kasliwal, Priya Krishna, Anjali Kumar, Aasif Mandvi, Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Bibhu Mohapatra, Benj Pasek, Puja Patel, Roopal Patel, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Anu Rao, Jay Sean, Pritika Swarup, Jessel Taank, Tinx, Jafreen Uddin, and Jason Wu.

Radhika Jones, Preet Bharara, and Jafreen Uddin.

The gala’s guests were dressed in a range of designs, both traditional and modern, from established and up-and-coming South Asian clothing and jewelry designers including Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Gaurav Gupta, Siddartha Tytler, Tarun Tahiliani, Payal Singhal, Papa don’t Preach, Harleen Kaur, Gem Palace, and Kamaali Couture.

The evening served as a reflection and celebration of South Asian culture while participating in a gathering of plentiful food, sweets, gift exchanging, and more. Timeless, authentic Indian cuisine was provided by NYC’s very own SONA. Canadian rapper, singer-songwriter, and producer, Tesher, performed three of his top hits for the engaged crowd.

Tesher performs for the crowd.
IMGE showcasing routines rooted in Indian classical, hip-hop, and contemporary movement.

American dance company, IMGE, showcased routines rooted in Indian classical, hip-hop, and contemporary movement. LilaNur Parfums infused the New York Diwali Gala by scenting the party with its Rajni Nocturne fragrance and creating an immersive sensory experience with a large-scale floral installation.

The event was generously presented in partnership with The Glenlivet, The Asian American Foundation, Instagram, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Gold House.

L. to r.: Jessel Taank, Tinx, and Madhulika Sharma; Ariana DeBose.
L. to r.: Huma Abedin and Hiba Irshad; Jason Wu and Roopal Patel.
Sarah Clary, Jessel Taank, and Jenna Lyons.
L. to r.: Radhika Jones and Max Petersen; Ronan Farrow and friend.
L. to r.: Jill Kargman; Maneesh K. Goyal, Marcel Thoma, and Alvina Patel Buxani.
L. to r.: Bibhu Mohapatra and Pritika Swarup; Alok Vaid-Menon.
Wes Gordon, Paul Arnhold, Ariana DeBose, Jill Kargman, and Harry Kargman.
L. to r.: Maria Cornejo and Anjali Kumar; Preet Bharara and Dalya Bharara.
L. to r.: Sheila Lirio Marcelo and Ron Marcelo; Sendhil Ramamurthy.

Last Thursday evening, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) held its 27th Annual New York Dinner at Restaurant Daniel in New York City, raising over $3 million to support its research programs.

The end-of-the-year benefit supported PCF’s programs and celebrated the millions raised and achievements made in the past thirty years through the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The charitable organization founded by Michael Milken is dedicated to identifying and funding groundbreaking cancer research programs.

The memorable evening welcomed leaders in medicine, top research scientists, and distinguished New York City socialites. The gala began with a lively cocktail reception and the lavish dinner party with Master Mentalist Oz Perelman gave way to a special musical performance from Pat Monahan and TRAIN.

Michael Milken and Charles Ryan’s update on the work of the Foundation encompassed the on-going work of the PCF’s which aims to help develop new therapies against the most life-threatening forms of prostate cancer.

Charles Ryan and Michael Milken.
Oz Perelman.

Notable attendees included: Michael Milken, Charles Ryan, Daniel Boulud, Master Mentalist Oz Perelman, Todd Boehly, Bill Mack, Phyllis Mack, Darius Bikoff, Jill Bikoff, Larry Leeds, Ginger Leeds, John Paulson, Neil De Feo, Igor Tulchinsky, Gina Carithers, Daria Barry and Bonnie Pfeifer Evans.

Oz Perelman’s unique blend of mentalism and mind-reading create an interactive experience that redefines the very nature of a magic show. Oz has appeared on a variety of both national and international networks including NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The TODAY Show & ABC World News plus has been profiled in Forbes and The New York Times, to name a few.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s leading philanthropic organization dedicated to funding life-saving prostate cancer research. Founded in 1993 by Mike Milken, PCF has raised close to $1 billion in support of cutting-edge research by more than 2,200 research projects at 245 leading cancer centers in 28 countries around the world. Thanks in part to PCF’s commitment to ending death and suffering from prostate cancer, the death rate is down by over 50% and countless more men are alive today as a result. PCF research now impacts more than 73 forms of human cancer by focusing on immunotherapy, the microbiome, and food as medicine. Learn more a

Gina Carithers, Dan Shedrick, and Bonnie Pfeifer Evans.
William and Phyllis Mack.
L. to r.: Ginger and Larry Leeds; Rekha and Vinay Kumar.
Richard Merkin and Kneeland Youngblood.
Felicia Evensen, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Cindy O’Connor, Daniel Boulud, and Loyd Zisk.
Pat Monahan.
L. to r.: Valentina and Igor Tulchinsky; John Paulson.
Todd Boehly.
Bonnie Pfeifer Evans.
Click to order Faster Cures by Michael Milken.

Photographs by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images North America (Diwali); Paul Bruinooge/PMC & Rupert Ramsay/ (PCF)

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