Florida Association of Nepali Society (FANS) Hosts "Explore Nepal 2012"

- By Choodamani Khanal
West Palm Beach, Florida, US  - May 29, 2012 - Florida Association of Nepali Society (FANS) organized "Explore Nepal 2012", its annual Nepal promotion event on May 26, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. His Excellency, Dr. Shankar P. Sharma, ambassador of Nepal to the USA was the Chief Guest of the event.
The event which was conducted to promote Nepal as a premiere tourist destination began
with "Panchakanya" welcoming the distinguished guests. His Excellency Dr. Sharma inaugurated the program by igniting the US Nepal Friendship light. Pathshala students performed the national anthem of the USA and Nepal. FANS President Bimal Nepal welcomed all the dignitaries, special guests and attendees and invited them to consider Nepal for their next vacation.
Special guest, Honorable Samuel J. Ferreri, Mayor of City of Greenacres in his address shed some light about the beautiful city of Greenacres. He also presented a slide show of his two daughters’ trip to Nepal in 2009. Another special guest, Honorable Shelley Vana, Chair of Palm Beach County Commissioners addressed the attendees with a "Namaste" and highlighted about the diverse culture in Palm Beach County. Honorable Mayor Ferreri was joined by his wife while Honorable Commissioner Vana was joined by her granddaughter.
Chief guest, H.E. Dr. Shankar P. Sharma briefed about the "Visit Lumbini Year 2012" and “Nepal Investment Year 2012” campaign and the various tourist attractions Nepal had to offer at much less cost as compared to other parts of the world. Special guest, Non-Resident Nepali Association-National Coordinating Council Board of the USA (NRN-USA) President, Prahlad KC talked about investment opportunities in Nepal.
Key note speaker, venerable Bhante Sumankitti shared his knowledge and wisdom about life and spread Lord Buddha's message of Peace. Another key note speaker, Dr. Dina Bangdel, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, gave a presentation on Nepalese Himalayan art and culture. Certificates of Honor and Recognition were presented to both Bhante Sumankitti and Dr. Dina Bangdel by President Nepal.
FANS President Bimal Nepal and International Nepali Literary Society-Florida Chapter President, Krishna Shrestha signed, in presence of H.E Dr. Sharma and NRN-USA President Prahlad KC, a Memorandum of Understanding between FANS and INLS-Florida Chapter to glorify Nepal's pride: Lord Buddha and Mt. Everest. Tee shirts depicting Lord Buddha on the front and Mt. Everest on the back were printed and made available for purchase to the attendees of the event as part of this campaign.
FANS Vice President and NRNA Task Force Member Punam Ghimire Risal highlighted on FANS’ successful participation during Asia Fest 2012 organized in Tampa.

Cultural program included dances by Nitu Karki, Shreeja Tamrakar, Kusum Aryal, Sarita Khanal, Bishakha Khanal, Binita Devkota, bhajan by Radhe aama, and instrumental by Rajendra Singh Raut and Dipin Ojha. Fashion show and competition was also conducted by Dr. Hari Pandey and Bina Pandey of Talent Nepal Group. Rajendra Singh Raut, Bijaya Subedi, Nitu Karki, Aarnav Gautam, and Saesha Neupane were winners of the contest while Renu Sharma was awarded the People’s Choice Best Dressed Award.
The "Destination Nepal" raffle was also drawn during the event. Keith Tarr (Ticket# 152) of Tampa, FL won the grand prize of a free round trip ticket to Nepal from the USA. Manoj Joshi (Ticket # 70) from West Palm Beach won the consolation prize - two tickets to Disney World, Orlando, FL.
Award for the winners of FANS Children Art Competition 2012 were also presented. Ashutosh Paudel from Tampa, Anurag Mishra from Jacksonville and Sai Rochan Shrestha from West Palm Beach were the winners in Age 6-7, Age 8-9 and Age 10-13 category respectively. H.E Dr. Sharma presented the certificates and awards to the participants and winners.
Explore Nepal 2012 organizing committee Chair, Ashok Shrestha in his thank you note, thanked all the volunteers who made the event successful. He also thanked the sponsors Mr. Deepak Adhikari (Stuff U like Liquor Store), Mr. Bijaya Shrestha and Mr. Mani Bajracharya (Nepa Wholesale), Springfield college - Tampa, Mr. Peter Shah of Travacus Tours and Travels, Mr. Atulya Risal (Pilgrims Software), Dr. Bhaskar Dawadi, Mr. Dharma Khanal and Mr. Dhurba Sharma for their kind contribution, as well as Mr. Dhan Thapa of Dhanphotos.com for being the official photographer of the event. Photos from the event can be viewed at http://dhanphotos.com/phpAlbum/index.php/EXPLORE-NEPAL-2012-HOSTED-BY-FANS-WEST-PALM-BEACH-FLORIDA
More than 200 guests, including guests from non Nepalese community, attended and enjoyed the program as well as the traditional Nepalese snacks and dinner. Bangladesh Association of Florida President Mohammed Emran, Florida Nepal Association Representative Jhanak Thapalaya, Newah Organization of America-Florida Chapter Representative Shrihari Shrestha, Nepali Community Center, Orlando Chairman Krishna Bilas Pokhrel, and Nepalese Student Assiciation at Florida Atlantic University (NSA@FAU) President Cheban Acharaya were also present and represented their respective organizations. 
Tourism promotional materials (posters and DVDs) were distributed to the attendees and Nepalese, arts & handicrafts and other traditional items were also exhibited during the event.
The program was run smoothly by Master of Ceremony, Ms. Srijana Nepal, and FANS General Secretary Choodamani Khanal.

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