The United States Asian American Heritage tradition began in 1992 to commemorate the Asian culture and heritage that has been on a constant growth. Every May, various celebrations are held across the U.S. to thank the Asian Pacific people for their contributions, to promote the culture and traditions of the Asian Pacific culture, and to promote ethnic groups understanding. On May 10th, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization from the greater Washington D.C. metro area, held the "Jewels of Asia" annual gala at the Westwood Country Club in Vienna, Virginia. The award ceremony and dinner was held to recognize the achievements of entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, community leaders, and chambers of commerce partners who have made outstanding contributions to the community. The event was full of dedicated community members, diplomats, political officials, and representatives from the embassies. A special thank you to the wonderful lineup of speakers that attended,, including Ms.Holly Ham: Director of the white house initiative on AAPI affairs, Peter J. Cazamias: Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the US Bureau of International Business, and Esther Lee: Former Minister of Commerce of Virginia. The Asian American Chamber of Commerce received a warm congratulations from all parties including the White House Office on Asian-Pacific Affairs, the Mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, the Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, Congressman Gerald E. Connolly, and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.
During the dinner reception we had a few wonderful and talented performers to demonstrate various aspects of the Asian culture. South Korean performing arts group Sorichung performed the Korean traditional opera Sori and Jessica Lin of Xuejuan Dance Troupe performed a wonderful traditional Chinese ribbon dance.
The awards and prizes awarded this year are:
Chamber of Commerce Partner of the Year Awards: Simon Mall and 2941 Restaurant
Annual Mentor Awards: Jamie Y. Sheen (NaisA) and Steven Chen (PFP Cyber)
Annual Membership Award: Mihae Kim Stefani (Gimga Design Group)
Entrepreneurs of the Year: Y. Michele Kang (Cognosante) and Sharmi Albrechtsen (SmartGurlz)
Annual Community Leader Award: Marianne Brackney, President, Korean American Women’s Society
International Corporation of the Year: American Hyundai
Annual Business Leader & Lifetime Achievement Award: Syngman Rhee, CEO, Rhees Brothers
Youth of the Year: Ting Shih (ClickMedix) and Tim Hwang (FiscalNote)
New Enterprise of the Year Award: Office Evolution
Corporate Award of the Year (up to 50 employees): Language on Demand and Mobomo
Corporate Award of the Year (Employees 50+): WeddingWire and Subsystem
Non-profit Organization of the Year: Chinese Culture & Community Service Center and Asian American Homeownership Counseling
Annual Restaurant: Peking Gourmet Inn
Annual Public Servants: Mark Keam (Virginia’s 35th House District)
AACC Director of the Year Award: Stephanie Shei
AACC President of the Year Award: Wonhee Kang
Towards the end of the awards ceremony, the President’s Volunteer Service Award was awarded to several committed members of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce. The awardees included Wonhee Kang, Haiwen Mackleer, Kery Nunez, Rosalyn Tang, Stephanie Shei, Mihae Kim Stefani, and Vance Zavela.
Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the Jewels of Asia Gala. The Chamber will be hosting a celebration in honor of this feat. We eagerly wait to see all of you and more at this event!
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