March 24, 2016
On Thursday, March 17, 2016, the US-China Education Trust (USCET) hosted the inaugural Asians in America Awards Dinner at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. This path-breaking event celebrated the achievements of Asians in both America and the global community, and highlighted the increasingly important US-China-India relationship. The dinner honored Dr. James S.C. Chao, philanthropist and founder of Foremost Maritime Corporation, and Madhavan “MR” Rangaswami, investor and founder of Indiaspora, and featured former Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and Frank Islam as Co-Chairs.
Invocation and Tribute
Ambassador Mark Erwin offered the invocation. USCET Chairman Ambassador Nicholas Platt led the tribute to the late Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger, former National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton and co-founder of the Albright-Stonebridge Group. Mr. Berger, Co-Chair of the Awards Dinner, sadly passed away before the event.
Sandy Berger was “one of America’s most influential foreign policy advisors in our time,” Platt said in his tribute. He “was deeply committed to building stronger ties between the United States and Asia throughout his career.” Platt noted that Berger was the American who understood, long before most, Asia’s place in our country’s future, and helped bring “China to the world, and the world to China.” Ambassador Platt also introduced the establishment of the Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger Memorial Scholarship Fund, made possible by an anonymous $100,000 donation from "Friends of Sandy Berger," to be administered by USCET.
“The Personification of Our Gathering”
The night’s events included a dance performance by Jessica Wu, a Chinese-American high school student who wowed the audience with her performance of Bharata Natyam, a form of Indian classical dance. Ms. Wu has performed previously in Beijing for Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
Ambassador Bloch remarked that Ms. Wu was “the personification of our gathering tonight” and "inspires hope in US-China-India cooperation" because she is an American of Chinese descent who specializes in Indian dance.
A Diplomatic—and Forthright—Conversation
Dinner guests were spellbound by the evening's "Diplomatic Conversation", which featured Ambassador Platt and Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a fellow member of USCET's Advisory Council.
Dr. Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace masterfully moderated an insightful and through-provoking discussion, focused on the future of US-China-India relations. Ambassadors Platt and Pickering were both outspoken regarding ways the US, China, and India can deepen relations despite particular policy differences. On the role of the US in the trilateral relationship, Platt stated, “The United States should accommodate the rise of both India and China by improving relations with them together, at the same time without trying to play one off against the other.”
Honoring Asian Achievement
Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, Founding President of USCET, introduced Secretary Chao, who accepted the Asians in America Leadership and Achievement award on behalf of her father, Dr. James S.C. Chao. Ambassador Bloch highlighted Dr. Chao’s career and stressed the global impact he and his wife have made. “Dr. Chao personifies the American Dream and the highest achievements of an Asian in America,” said Ambassador Bloch. “Through generous scholarships, [Dr. Chao and his wife, the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao] have helped over five thousand Chinese and American students realize their dreams for an education,” she stated. “We recognize [Dr. Chao] for his accomplishments in the world of shipping and finance, for his lifelong commitment to education and philanthropy, and for the years of service he has contributed to improving trade and cultural relations between the East and the West.”
In accepting the award, Secretary Chao emphasized the role that education played in her parents’ lives. “Their education gave them the tools with which to learn, to adapt, and to succeed,” said Chao. Chao stressed her father’s continual dedication to his modest Chinese heritage: “My father is a very generous, positive, and optimistic person, and it’s reflective of his personality and philosophy that, as he advanced, he never forgot his roots and he always tried to help others.”
Secretary Chao explained the significance to her parents of their Asian-American identity. “In their lifetimes, my parents wanted not only to cultivate the next generation of Asian-American leaders, but also to lift the image of Asians in mainstream America and worldwide. My father, Dr. James S.C. Chao, is so humbled to receive this award, and hopes that in doing so he will demonstrate the rising leadership of Asian-Americans in this country and facilitate the entry of more Asian-Americans into mainstream America.” Click here to view the full remarks by The Honorable Elaine L. Chao.
Frank Islam, civic leader, philanthropist and founder of FI Investment Group, introduced Madhavan "MR" Rangaswami, also a recipient of the Asians in America Leadership and Achievement Award. Mr. Islam highlighted Mr. Rangaswami’s excellence in diverse areas, stating, “His substantial business success and major contributions to making America and the world a better place prove that he is a jack of all trades and a master of all trades as well.” “MR has said that he’s currently in the giving-back phase of his career and his journey,” Mr. Islam added. “That may be so, but in my humble opinion he’s also in another phase: he’s in his “making a difference” phase. MR wants to make a meaningful and positive impact and influence in peoples’ lives. He is a difference maker.”
Mr. Rangaswami echoed those sentiments in his acceptance speech: “You start with exploring and educating yourself, then you do some wealth-building, and then finally you get back to giving, and in this whole cycle what I’ve learned is you could have started with giving right up front, instead of going through all these parts of life, because this is the most gratifying, in terms of making an impact—whether it’s in the tech field or in the sustainability area or now with the Indian-American community building, I think the giving back is what I enjoy the most.”
Ambassador Bloch delivered closing remarks, thanking donors and supporters of the event, guests, staff, volunteers, and her husband, Stuart Marshall Bloch. She reminded guests of the fundamental importance of the US-China-India relationship and the contributions that Asians have made to America’s prosperity and well being. Guests of the event included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Indian Deputy Chief of Mission Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission Wu Xi, Nepali Ambassador to the United States Arjun Karki, United States Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea Julie Furuta-Toy, and former United States Ambassador to Albania Alexander Arvizu, representing the Asian American Foreign Affairs Association.
For more photos of the event, visit the USCET Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/uscet/. For questions regarding USCET or the Awards Dinner, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 223-6070.
中美教育基金（USCET）于当地时间3月17日，星期四，在美国首都华盛顿特区五月天酒店举办了杰出华裔颁奖晚宴。这是一件表彰亚洲人对美国社会乃至全世界的贡献的开创性盛举，同时彰显了日益重要的美-中-印三边关系。晚宴表彰了知名慈善家，富懋航运咨询有限公司创始人赵锡成博士（Dr. James S.C. Chao），以及Indiaspora 投资人兼创始人Madhaven “MR” Rangaswami。并由前美国劳工部部长赵小兰女士（Elaine L. Chao）和Frank Islam 先生担任晚宴联合主席。
美国大使Mark Erwin 发表致辞。USCET主席，美国大使Nicholas Platt发表讲话缅怀已逝的前克林顿政府国家安全顾问，Albright-Stonebridge 联合创始人 Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger. Berger 先生同时也是晚宴的联合主席，于2015年12月不幸去世。
Platt 先生在讲话中说到，Sandy Berger 先生是“我们这个时代美国最有影响的对外政策顾问之一”，他“在他的整个职业生涯中都致力于建立一个更加坚固的美国于亚洲国家的关系”。Platt 认为， Berger在绝大多数人之前认识到了亚洲对于美国未来发展的地位，并且帮助“世界认识中国，中国认识世界”。Platt 大使同时介绍了Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger 纪念奖学金基金的创立。一位自称“Sandy Berger的朋友”的匿名捐献者捐出十万美金与该基金，并将由中美教育基金管理。
当晚一位华裔高中女孩 Jessica Wu在晚宴上表演了一段令观众赞叹不绝的Bharata Natyam（一种印度传统舞蹈）。Jessica 曾在北京为国家主席习近平和印度总统Pranab Mukherjee表演舞蹈。
晚宴嘉宾被当晚由Platt大使，及另一位USCET顾问委员，杰出的Thomas Pickering大使主持的“外交对话”深深吸引。来自卡内基国际和平基金会的Ashley Tellis博士就美-中-印合作的未来巧妙地引导了一番深有远见并发人深省的讨论。Platt 大使和Pickering大使均就如何在存在某些政策差异的情况下深入美国，中国和印度的关系坦率地各抒己见。Platt认为美国在三边关系中的角色“应该是通过加强于中国和印度的合作来应对两个亚洲大国的崛起，而不是指使他们互相对抗”。
USCET创会会长，美国大使Julia Chang Bloch隆重介绍了赵小兰女士，代表她父亲赵锡成先生领取了杰出亚裔奖。Bloch大使高度赞扬了赵锡成先生的事业并强调了他和他妻子所取得的国际影响。“赵先生代表了美国梦和亚洲人在美国获得的最高成就，”Bloch大使说，“（赵先生和他妻子名下的）奖学金帮助了超过五百位中国和美国学生实现了他们的教育梦。我们赞扬赵先生在金融和船运领域的成就，终身投入教育与慈善事业的坚守，以及多年来他为了促进中西贸易与文化关系的贡献。”
群众领袖，慈善家及FI投资公司创始人Frank Islam向当晚嘉宾隆重介绍了当晚杰出亚裔奖项的另一位获奖者Madhavan Rangaswami（MR）。Islam先生高度称赞了Rangaswami先生在诸多领域的杰出成就，“他在商业领域的巨大成功和对美国乃至世界的主要贡献证明了他在各方面的杰出才能。”“MR说过他现在处于事业和人生的回馈时期，”Islam先生补充道，“很有道理，但在我看来，他同时也处在另一个时期：‘改变’期。MR希望对群众有一些有意义的，积极的影响。他是一个（对整个社会）作出一些改变的人。”
Bloch大使最后发表了结束语，感谢了晚宴的捐赠者和支持者，所有的嘉宾，员工，志愿者，和她的丈夫，Stuart Marshall Bloch。Bloch大使再次强调了美-中-印关系的重要性和亚裔对于美国繁荣发展和社会安定的重要贡献。当晚晚宴嘉宾还包括，参议院多数党领袖 Mitch McConnell，印度外交使团负责人 Taranjit Singh Sandhu，中国外交使团负责人 Wu Xi，尼泊尔驻美国大使Albania Alexander Arvizu，代表美国亚裔外交协会，前美国大使----，代表美国大使理事会。