Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Dr. Leroy Chiao, Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., Shirley & Walter Wang to be honored at China Institute’s Blue Cloud Gala at Gotham Hall on May 29

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

China Institute is holding their Blue Cloud Gala on Friday, May 29, 2015, at Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway in New York. The annual black-tie dinner celebrating China Institute’s 89th Anniversary, with celebrity master of ceremonies Betty Liu (Bloomberg Television) and David Henry Hwang (noted playwright, screenwriter and college professor), features a cocktail reception and festive dinner, Blue Cloud Awards Ceremony, auction, and a performance by celebrated Metropolitan Opera Singer, Tian Hao Jian and his iSING! Festival singers. Cocktails at 6:30pm.

Dr Leroy Chiao, Jon M. Huntsman, and Shirley & Walter Wang are among the 2015 Blue Cloud Gala Award recipients which honors leaders in business and culture and celebrates the mission and programs of China Institute. Guests will also enjoy a preview of The China Institute’s planned move to Lower Manhattan.

Gala Co-Chairs include Anla Cheng, Michelle Hayashi Koo and Theodore T. Wang.

Founded in 1926, China Institute is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies on support from individuals, foundations, corporations and others. Gala proceeds support China Institute programs in education, arts and business. For information on Gala sponsorships and tickets, please contact: Tracey Huang at 212-744-8181, ext. 105 or

For Tables and Tickets, click HERE

The Blue Cloud Benefit Committee consists of Carrie Chiang, Mary Wadsworth Darby, Sue Herera, Karen Hsu, Ann Hu, Caroline Howard Hyman, Susan Kessler, Rosemary Sagar, Sophia Sheng, Ansso Wang, Clara Xing and Sue Xu Zhang.

The Hon. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. 
Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., chairman of the Atlantic Council Board of Directors, began his career in public service as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He has served each of the four U.S. presidents since then in critical roles around the world, including Ambassador to Singapore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia, U.S. Trade Ambassador, and most recently, U.S. Ambassador to China. In all three Senate confirmations, he received unanimous votes. He was twice elected governor of Utah, and the state was named Best Managed state in America under his administration. In recognition of his service, he was elected Chairman of the Western Governors Association, serving 19 states throughout the region.

Governor Huntsman currently serves on the boards of Ford Motor Company, Caterpillar Corporation, Chevron Corporation, Huntsman Corporation, the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. He has served as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as a distinguished lecturer at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Fluent in Mandarin, Governor Huntsman has been a strong advocate of Chinese language studies; as Governor of Utah, he supported an increase of workforce in Chinese language education that supported approximately 100 secondary schools offering Mandarin Chinese classes; at that time, the highest percentage of any state in the nation. Huntsman is the father of seven children, including two adopted daughters from China and India. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has eight honorary doctoral degrees.

Dr. Leroy Chiao
Leroy Chiao is a former NASA astronaut and International Space Station commander. He holds academic appointments at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine, and he is Special Advisor for Human Spaceflight to the Space Foundation.

Dr. Chiao has worked extensively in government and commercial space programs, and he has held leadership positions in commercial ventures and at NASA.Dr. Chiao left NASA in December 2005 following a 15-year career with the agency. A veteran of four space missions, he most recently served as Commander and NASA Science Officer of Expedition 10 aboard the International Space Station. He has logged over 229 days in space, over 36 hours of which were spent in Extra-Vehicular Activity (spacewalks). From June to September 2009, he served as a member of the White House appointed Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, and he currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council.

A native English speaker, Dr. Chiao also speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian. He has flown space missions and worked closely with Russian, Japanese and European astronauts and their affiliated space agencies. As a Space Station Commander and Space Shuttle Mission Specialist, he was also a certified Co-Pilot of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. In September 2006, Dr. Chiao became the first American to visit the Astronaut Research and Training Center of China. There, he met the first two national Chinese astronauts, Yang Liwei and Fei Junlong. Dr. Chiao is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the Committee of 100. Dr. Chiao also serves in various capacities to further space education in the U.S. and China.

He joined China Speakers Agency in 2015, the international speakers bureau with a China focus, to share his professional knowledge and unique insights with a broader range of audiences. Dr. Chiao earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS and Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Shirley & Walter Wang
Shirley and Walter Wang’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors are rooted in a family tradition of business excellence.

Shirley Wang founded Plastpro Inc. in 1994 and also serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Since 1994, Plastpro, headquartered in Los Angeles, has been a leading U.S. manufacturer of fiberglass entry doors, offering exceptional service and reliability. Plastpro’s customer-focused philosophy resulted in the highest-quality products on the market. The Plastpro product line is offered nationally through The Home Depot, Stock Building Supply and other national wholesale distributors.

Walter Wang is President and CEO of JM Eagle Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic pipe. Headquartered in Los Angeles, his company employs more than 1,600 people in 23 plants throughout the United States and Mexico. Mr. Wang started his career at Formosa Plastics in Taiwan as a factory machinery operator, and within two years was promoted to internal corporate consulting project leader. In 1990, Mr. Wang was transferred to J-M Manufacturing Co. Inc. (JM) as a sales coordinator charged with improving J-M sales and reversing the erosion of its competitive stance in the building products industry. Under his leadership, J-M re-engineered the sales process, identified new markets and developed an Internet-based B-to-B management system. After serving in a variety of capacities, he earned the title of President in October 2000. Through significant capital investments and without adding head count, J-M grew annual sales from US$200 million in 1990 to over US$1 billion in 2005. In November 2005, Mr. Wang acquired 100 percent of J-M from Formosa Plastics, creating a fully independent, stand-alone company. Less than two years later, J-M acquired PW Eagle, the second largest PVC pipe maker in North America, to form JM Eagle, subsequently reaching combined annual sales of more than $1.6 billion.

The Wangs are supporters of the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, which opened in October 2008. The museum seeks to educate the public on some of the nation’s worst problems: illegal drugs and trafficking.The Wangs have also been dedicated supporters of projects to address pressing social and healthcare problems in China, including seed-stage and ongoing support for the China AIDS Initiative, an awareness and prevention program. Through this organization, they have funded public service announcements which have reached 300 million people to help stop the spread of AIDS in China. Other charitable foundations that the Wangs support are Doctors Without Borders and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
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Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
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Photos: Inside THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE CD Release Concert with André De Shields, Kevin Mambo, Adam Chanler-Berat, Michael Friedman and More
David Henry Hwang, Laura Poitras, Amitav Ghosh, Deeyah Khan, Bill Rauch, Robert Battle, Carrie Mae Weems named among 13 Ford Foundation “Art of Change” Fellows
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee, Joycelyne Lew
Thom Sesma, Emily Padgett, J. Elaine Marcos and Thai Superstar Bie Sukrit lead the cast of the world premiere of WATERFALL at The Pasadena Playhouse, May 29 – June 28 and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, October 1-25
Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of THE KING AND I starring Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora and Ashley Park opens to raves
Joe Mantegna receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Film and Television from The Riverside International Film Festival
The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, Inc.: 2015 Collaboration Award recognizing Women Working with Women Open Call
Sinatra: An American Icon Exhibit on View through September 4 at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
“Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” on view at Museum of the Moving Image through June 14; Required Viewing: Mad Men’s Movie Influences Film Series Screenings through April 26
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Tony Award Winners Chita Rivera and Roger Rees, Jason Danieley, Mary Beth Peil, David Garrison & More in Terrence McNally’s THE VISIT
Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season
Jerome Preston Bates, Michael Chenevert, Stephanie Berry, Terria Joseph, Kim Weston Moran, Tony Sallemi and Count Stovall set for World Premiere of Richard Wesley’s AUTUMN at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, April 23 through May 3
April 23-30: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Lineup includes EVERYTHING BEFORE US, KTOWN COWBOYS, Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS, Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) presents Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim at the Aratani Theatre on April 24
Randall Park, Jon M. Chu, Freida Lee Mock, Maysie Hoy, Julia Wong and more set for “C3: CELEBRATING NORMALCY” Conference at The 31st Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF), Apr. 25-26
April 26: The 31st Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) Artist Spotlight- Arthur Dong’s FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. and THE KILLING FIELDS OF DR. HAING S. NGOR
May 1: A/P/A Institute at NYU presents Remembering SlutForArt: Tseng Kwong Chi with Muna Tseng, Ping Chong, and Bill T. Jones
15th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) Lineup includes Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA WITH A STRAW & Aparna Sen’s SAARI RAAT; May 4-9
Photos: Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, CHINA: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, May 7–August 16
Tony Award® Nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed to star in Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ, helmed by Amy Morton, at Atlantic Theater Company, May 20-June 28
Photos: National Black Theatre Festival 2013; NBTF runs August 3-8, 2015 and will include Act III – A Celebration of Life Reception saluting the late theatre icon Garland Lee Thompson, Sr.
Star Trek’s George Takei & Broadway Bound ALLEGIANCE Create Indiegogo Campaign as Endowment for the Japanese American National Museum 
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Photos: John W. Kuo, Jessica Hagedorn, and Neal Katyal Receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards Crafting a Career
Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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