By: Uptin Saiidi
More than 1,400 people came out Wednesday night to support the 8th Annual Peace Market in New York City. The annual benefit raises money for Seeds of Peace, an organization which brings together teenagers from regions of conflict every summer in the U.S.
After just celebrating its 20th anniversary last week, the event was the biggest in history with music by Questlove, Dave 1 of Chromeo and City of the Sun. Boardwalk Empires' Vincent Piazza, Miss USA Nana Meriwether, Miss Universe Olivia Culp and actor Michael Lohan Jr came out to raise awareness for one of the organization’s biggest fundraisers.
More than 5,000 teenagers have graduated from the program, coming from more than 25 countries. One such graduate was on hand during the event to share her experiences with the celebrities and guests.
Yara Owayyed, currently a grad student at Columbia attended the Seeds of Peace program in 2003 and 2004. While growing up in Jerusalem, she recalled being the only Palestinian in her grade of 300 people. "High school was hard growing up with this feeling where you're supposed to feel ashamed of you who are, but this program helped me so much."
Yara shared stories with the artists prior to them taking to the stage. While her experiences touched many guests at the event, Yara says witnessing Peace Market firsthand was actually inspirational to her.
"It was so good to see so many people come together to support a cause that is so far away and doesn’t affect their daily lives, but it affects my daily life and I’d like to thank each and every one of them because that’s not something that should be taken for granted.”
In addition to the annual hummus taste-off, specialty drinks, bites from top chefs and a Seeds of Peace photo booth, guests were treated to City of the Sun’s electrifying set, a live auction, sets by Dave 1 of Chromeo and Questlove.
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