Among the clinking of glasses and the jovial atmosphere of Cafe Dupont, young scholars, experts, analysts and implementers came together to celebrate their acceptance into Eurasia Foundation’s Young Professionals Network (YPN). The celebration also marked the fifth anniversary of the program which was originally brought to fruition to support young professionals who specialize in issues concerning the Eurasia region by creating a network built up of young and established Eurasia professionals.

These 34 individuals were chosen to be included in the 2016-2017 class not only because of their shared interest in the history, research, and progress of the Eurasia region, but because of their personal distinction and professional achievements.

The soiree was intended to be an introductory event – the first of many that will transpire throughout a year that will include opportunities to learn and network with YPN alumni, EF staff, and distinguished professionals in fields affecting the Eurasia region. In attendance were board members Angela Stent and Randy Bregman as well as members of the EF staff.

After a warm introduction by Vice President Lisa Coll, Vice Chair Dan Witt framed the context of the program, which he called “a living tribute to an absolutely wonderful woman – our second chair, Sarah Carey.” Expressing the importance of the network in a niche field such as Eurasian Studies, he painted a picture with strokes of insight and encouragement as he explained the importance of the program and the impact it could have on the lives of the network participants if they use it to its fullest potential.

Witt was followed by Horton Beebe-Center, EF President, who echoed praises of the class’s professional achievements and demonstrated interest and commitment to the Eurasia region. He shared the legacy of Sarah Carey and his personal connection to her that led to his current position as president of the organization. In closing, Beebe-Center imparted essential words of wisdom and well wishes for the new class, citing himself, EF staff, and the YPN network as a resource for the new class as they continue on their career journeys.

The Young Professionals Network is a program that was created in memory of EF’s second chair, the late Sarah Carey Reilly. Carey was an influential lawyer, key in preliminary negotiations between companies in the U.S. and Eurasia that initiated an amicable environment for business and law between the two countries after the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Carey joined the Eurasia Foundation as chair in 1994 and the effects of her legacy and spirit resound through efforts of the organization, like the Sarah Carey Program and the Young Professionals Network, to bridge the waters that separate Eurasia and the U.S. with collaboration and development.