Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Dr. Leroy Chiao, The Hon. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. and Shirley and Walter Wang to receive Blue Cloud Awards at China Institute’s Annual Fundraising Gala on May 29

On Friday, May 29, over 300 global leaders in business and culture, committed to building trust between China and the U.S., will come together to celebrate the work of the China Institute at its annual Blue Cloud Gala at the iconic Gotham Hall in New York City.

This year’s gala celebrates the Institute’s 89th anniversary while honoring four outstanding individuals with the annual Blue Cloud Award: The Hon. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., chairman of the Atlantic Council Board of Directors, former U.S. Ambassador to China, and former Governor of Utah; Dr. Leroy Chiao, astronaut, entrepreneur, and special advisor to the Space Foundation; and Shirley and Walter Wang, founder and CEO of Plastpro Inc., and chairman and CEO of JM Eagle (respectively).

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Co-emceeing the event will be Bloomberg anchor Betty Liu, and world-renowned playwright David Henry Hwang, author of such works as M. Butterfly, Flower Drum Song and Chinglish. Metropolitan Opera singer Tian Hao Jiang will also perform.

The gala benefits the China Institute’s programs in education, arts and culture, and business, and will include dinner and a live auction. Guests will also have a chance to preview the Institute’s planned move to Lower Manhattan and new state-of-the art facilities designed by Pei Partnership Architects. Opening in August 2015, China Institute’s expanded headquarters will meet its community’s growing needs for services and programs. The new facility, at 50,000 square feet (more than five times the size of its current facility), will have more gallery and classroom space, as well as the additions of an auditorium, multi-function room for performances, exhibits and films, tea house and gift shop. This expansion will enable the Institute to be an even more dynamic “gateway to China,” offering cultural and business programs that respond to a changing world and present the full diversity of China’s past, present and future to a new generation of global citizens.

“We are thrilled to recognize these exceptional individuals and supporters of the China Institute’s mission and enrichment programs,” said James Heimowitz, president of the China Institute. “We also celebrate the Institute’s long tradition of nurturing cultural understanding, dialogue and friendship for nearly 90 years, and we look forward to continuing this legacy and expanding our impact in the years to come.”

Founded in 1926, China Institute is the preeminent center in the U.S. that advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture and business. With the rising importance of the relationship between China, the U.S. and the rest of the globe, the China Institute’s mission is more relevant – and necessary – than ever before.

To learn more about the China Institute or purchase tickets to the Blue Cloud Gala, please visit

About China Institute
China Institute advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, business and art with the belief that cross-cultural understanding strengthens our global community. Founded in 1926 by a group of American and Chinese educators, China Institute in America is the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in America to focus exclusively on China. The organization promotes the appreciation of Chinese heritage, and provides the historical context for understanding contemporary China. Programs, activities, courses and seminars are offered on the visual and performing arts, culture, history, music, philosophy, language and literature for the general public, children and teachers, as well as for business.

The Hon. Jon M. Huntsman
Now chairman of the Atlantic Council Board of Directors, Huntsman began his career as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan and has served each of the four U.S. presidents since 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. He was twice elected governor of Utah, and in recognition of his service, he was elected Chairman of the Western Governors Association, serving 19 states throughout the region.

Dr. Leroy Chiao
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. He has worked extensively in government and commercial space programs, and he has held leadership positions in commercial ventures and at NASA.

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., a leading U.S. manufacturer of fiberglass entry doors, in 1994 and also serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Walter Wang is President and CEO of JM Eagle Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic pipe.

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.” She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

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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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