Obama Transition Team Leader, Sonal Shah, Named Keynote Speaker at the First-ever Sikh Inaugural Ball

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The Sikh Inaugural Ball Honors Indian- and Asian-Americans Who Serve in Obama's Transition Team, White House and His Cabinet. The event will be held Jan. 20, 2009 from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. at Ascot India Restaurant in downtown DC.

We are delighted Ms. Shah has agreed to speak at our historic event which is close to being sold out on this historic day

Sonal Shah, the highest-ranking Indian American in President-elect Barack Obama's Transition team, will be the keynote speaker at the First-Ever Sikh Inaugural Ball to be held Jan. 20, 2009 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Ascot India Restaurant in Washington, DC.

"We are delighted Ms. Shah has agreed to speak at our historic event which is close to being sold out on this historic day," said Lakhinder & Gurveen Vohra, co-creators of the Sikh Inaugural Ball in a press statement issued Thursday.

The announcement that Shah would be speaking at the event was coordinated with senior Asian American officials coordinating the Presidential Inauguration festivities.

Sonal Shah, along with other members of a Presidential advisory board, has been helping the transition team headed by former White House chief of staff John Podesta, longtime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Pete Rouse, the President-elect's Senate chief of staff.

In addition to Shah, the Sikh Inaugural Ball will also honor:

  • Charmaine Manansala, a Filipina-American immigrant, serves on the Presidential Inaugural Committee. She served as the National Director of the Obama for American AAPI Vote Team.
  • Nick Rathod, National Outreach Director of South Asians for Obama and one of its founding members.
  • Arti Rai, a professor of patent law at Duke University, and a classmate of Obama at Harvard Law School

and other Sikh- and Indian-Americans who were instrumental in this historic Victory

The Sikh Inaugural Ball will also felicitate Miss Supreet Malhi, a Washington, DC-native who was a finalist in the World Punjaban Contest.

Tickets are $250 for the Maharajah Package (VIP) and $150 for the Yuvraaj Package (General Admission). The cost of admission includes open bar, and a full six-course Indian dinner with delicacies and entertainment and DJ/Dancing.

Those purchasing the Maharajah packages would receive priority entrance and seating at the event; a chance to win a Flat Screen TV as the raffle prize; and a gift bag which includes a Portrait of the US President-elect Barrack Obama commissioned specially for the ball.

The portrait of Obama was painted by a well-known Avan Bhatenda, a prominent Indian-American who is a resident of Houston, who has been named the Official Portrait Artist for the Ball.

Avan, a Zoroastrian by religion, was chosen by the Co-organizers of the Sikh Inaugural Ball, to be the official portrait artist after careful consideration of her work and her contributions to the Interfaith Initiative in the Houston area.

To purchase tickets, or to sponsor the event, please visit http://www.sikhinauguralball.com or call 571-285-1632.

The Ball is being organized by SikhCommunityCenter.org, a web portal for the Sikh and Indian American Community.

The Ball will also be preceded a day earlier with the launch of the first-ever Sikh American Chamber of Commerce. More details on that launch are available at http://www.sikhchamber.org.


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