How will the Asian Development Bank (ADB) address poverty and climate change amidst evolving regional geopolitics, post-pandemic recovery, and impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Please join us for a special conversation with Ambassador Chantale Wong as she begins her tenure as US Director of the Asian Development Bank with a special appearance by her mentor and predecessor Ambassador Linda Tsao Yang. Both women have blazed new trails: Linda Tsao Yang, US Executive Director to the ADB from 1993-99, was the first woman and minority representative of the US on the board of a multilateral financial institute, while Chantale Wong is the first out LGBTQ+ woman of color to be appointed to an ambassador-level position in the United States (see full bios below). Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, USCET’s Executive Chair and a trailblazer in her own right as the first US Ambassador of Asian descent, will lead the conversation, touching on themes of mentorship, overcoming barriers, and the role of the US at the ADB. Audience members in-person and online will be invited to take part in a lively Q&A session at the event.
USCET’s Asian Women Trailblazers series recognizes the contributions of pioneering Asian American women to American society. This series features conversations with trailblazing Asian American women in leadership positions in government service, education, and journalism. Learn more about this series here.
Linda Tsao Yang (via Video)
Ambassador (retired) Linda Tsao Yang served as U.S. Executive Director to the board of the Asian Development Bank in Manila from 1993 to 1999. She was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate in 1993, the first woman and the first minority to represent the United States on the board of a multilateral financial institution. Yang Is Chair Emerita of the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA) based in Hong Kong which she chaired from 2001 to 2014. From 2003 to 2010, she served on the board of the Bank of China (Hong Kong) – one of three banknote issuing banks in Hong Kong – as an independent non-executive director. Earlier in her career, she was the first minority appointed to serve as California’s Savings and Loan Commissioner; she was also the first minority appointed to the board of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the United States. She was Vice-Chairman of the Investment Committee of the board and was unanimously elected by her fellow board members to the position of Vice President of the Board. Yang was an invited panelist on International Economy at the economic summit led by then President-elect Clinton in Little Rock, Arkansas in December 1992. Ambassador Yang is a long time Board member of the 1990 Institute, a strong supporter of the Spring Bud and Microfinance programs, and is now an honorary Co-Chair of the Institute.
Ambassador Chantale Wong has had a long and distinguished career in public service, currently serving as the US Executive Director to the Asian Development Bank in Manila. Wong is the first out lesbian and first LGBTQ+ woman of color appointed to an ambassador-level position in US history, confirmed by the senate in February 2022. Previously, Wong was appointed by President Obama to serve as Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Chief Financial Officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Earlier in her career, Wong has held leadership positions at the Office of Management and Budget, Departments of Treasury and Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency, in addition to NASA. Chantale joined the staff of the Asian Development Bank in 1999 as an environmental specialist to ensure the Bank’s assessments complied with their environmental and social policies. She led development and publication of ADB’s first Asian Environment Outlook (2001) and was subsequently appointed by President Bill Clinton to its Board of Directors, representing the US as the Alternate Executive Director. Wong is the founding chair of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), an organization dedicated to encouraging careers in public service by providing training, workshops, mentors, and work opportunities for young AAPIs. Chantale’s passion in visual storytelling earned her the role of official photographer and videographer of the late Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights icon, as he led annual pilgrimages to Alabama.
Julia Chang Bloch Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch is founding president of the US-China Education Trust. She was the first US ambassador of Asian descent in US history. She has had an extensive career in international affairs and government service, beginning in 1964 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia and culminating as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal in 1989. From 1981 to 1988, Ambassador Bloch served at the U.S. Agency for International Development as Assistant Administrator of Food for Peace and Voluntary Assistance and as Assistant Administrator for Asia and the Near East, positions appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. She also was the Chief Minority Counsel to a Senate Select Committee; a Senate professional staff member; the Deputy Director of the Office of African Affairs at the U.S. Information Agency; a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and an Associate of the U.S.- Japan Relations Program of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard.