San Francisco, 7 November 2015 – The 12th Annual Narsai’s Taste of the Mediterranean (NTOTM), one of the most awaited fundraisers of the year, brings together inspiring speakers and supporters of the Assyrian Aid Society of America (AAS-A) who collaborate in raising awareness of today’s genocide in the Middle East.
The event started with hor d’oeuvres while guests admired the engaging display of live auction art pieces and meeting fellow supporters of the evening’s cause. The guests entered the ballroom to a welcoming speech by AAS-A Chairman Emeritus Narsai M. David.
Before the formal presentation of the evening, AAS-A President Ashur J. Yoseph introduced the sponsors and all the respected guests. He highlighted the organization’s recent achievements and its role in providing urgent humanitarian aid to Assyrians in Iraq. “In 2014, 94 cents of every dollar donated to AAS-A funded humanitarian projects in Iraq. 2015 has already raised over $1.8 million to aid the internally displaced Assyrians in the homeland and our full appreciation goes to the generous donations of our supporters who enable us to help our brothers and sisters who are in dire need,” said Yoseph.
Special guests included keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Farr, Associate Professor at Georgetown University and US Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo. Dr. Farr spoke about the state of religious freedom while emphasizing on Iraq and Syria. He believes that no nation, including the United States, is addressing this crisis effectively. Dr. Farr introduced a four step plan of confronting the crises to reinstate religious freedom in the Middle East and plan for the resettlement of those liberated from ISIL including the establishment of an internationally protected Nineveh Plain for the Assyrians, Yezidis and others which will also provide a “desperately needed example of pluralism and religious freedom in the Middle East.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was not able to attend due to a schedule change but asked AAS-A to share a letter with the NTOTM guests, “The Narsai’s Taste of the Mediterranean fundraising dinners were inaugurated in San Francisco in 2002 to raise urgently needed funds for the humanitarian projects of the Assyrian Aid Society of America. Since then, the event has grown and has often featured presentations of Assyrian folk music and contemporary music from Assyrian singers, combining many of San Francisco values at their best through highlighting our City’s diversity and multiculturalism while working to benefit those who need it most.”
The night featured a short visual of an upcoming documentary, Silence After The Storm, directed by award winning Assyrian filmmaker Sargon Saadi. The documentary is a reflective documentary that follows Saadi’s recent journey to the Middle East and unveils stories of the plight and survival of the Assyrian nation amidst the unceasing crises in the region.
In addition, the gala honored the Assyrian Evangelical Church (AEC) of San Jose and representative Reverend Samuel Khangaldy with the Assyrian Humanitarian Award for their commendable humanitarian work. AEC’s ability to make a difference in the lives of many internally displaced Assyrians in the Homeland today is admirable and deeply appreciated. The AAS-A mission is possible with the dedication and support of honored partners like AEC.
The mission and goal of NTOTM is to showcase the works of AAS-A to the American people and call attention to the humanitarian crises that the Assyrians face in the Middle East, especially in northern Iraq. The Assyrian Aid Society of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focusing on assisting the needy Assyrians in northern Iraq. The NTOTM dinner has raised a remarkable 1 million dollars over the past twelve years of NTOTM.