2012 is the second year of the Hadrian Awards Gala After Party.  Pretty, young, semi-intellectual things made such a strong showing at the 2011 After Party that the World Monuments Fund spent the next several months researching how to best capture and invest in the younger preservation advocate crowd.

The outcome was to create more opportunities for young preservation enthusiasts to come together: in July 2012, WMF launched the Maoi Circle, allowing young historic preservation and architecture professionals to get involved with WMF’s well regarded circles, via activities and event programming. The Maoi Circle is intended for professionals ages 21 to 45 with enthusiasm for global cultural heritage and historic preservation. The not so youthful membership fee is $150 (Justify it: $115 is tax-deductible!), which includes extensive invites to select WMF events and discounts to others.

For the launch, the ever intrepid Pauline Evelliard organized a creative wine tasting event for new young members, pairing one of five wines with a WMF project / site: Buenos Aires Historic Center, Argentina; Easter Island, Chile; Palazzo Farnese, Italy; Canterbury Provincial Government Buildings, New Zealand; Route 66, USA.

Since launching over the summer, WMF has organized a number of additional events for the Maoi Circle, including  tours of the Eero Saarinen TWA Terminal at JFK and the Morris-Jumel Mansion, and invitations to WMF lectures.

Back to the event: This year’s Hadrian Award winner was Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express. American Express was a founding sponsor of the World Monuments Watch in 1996, and reaffirmed its commitment in 2012 by pledging $5 million to the Watch over the next five years. This spring, with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, they gave $3 million in grants to the winners of the Partners in Preservation initiative in New York City.

The Duke of Devonshire, KCVO, CBE, DL, received the Watch Award, honoring his commitment to preservation, especially his dedicated work at Chatsworth, also known as Britain’s best stately home (natch!).

No giant surprises here; preservation awards aren’t exactly the Golden Globes. But for the preservation geeks enthusiasts among us, the partymakers at WMF are always excellent company with whom to celebrate our love of cultural heritage. The generous pours of wine and delicious canapés certainly contribute to the joviality of the mood, but even the newcomers know the passions run highest over saving the monuments.