Anniversaries are times of reflection on the past and looking toward to the future. In line with the theme of this year’s annual conference, “Learn from the Past, Create the Future (承前啟後),” 2009 is such a year. Not only does 2009 mark the 30th anniversary of the normalization of relations of the United States and China, it is also the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Committee of 100. At our conference, we will reflect upon these two events which have shaped the Committee of 100, and we will celebrate the achievements of Asian Americans and Chinese Americans as we look toward the future we want to create for ourselves during these trying economic times.
I had the pleasure of interviewing our founder Mr. I.M. Pei last week for a video that will be shown at the conference. His reflections remind us of the journey we have traveled and inspire us to go further.
The three main themes of this year’s conference were summarized by conference co-chair Cheng Li: 1) to celebrate the achievements of Asian American progress in public service, especially in the Obama administration, 2) to discuss the history of 30 years of Sino-US relations and 3) to evaluate the impact of the global economic crisis and look for areas of Sino-American cooperation. We will also discuss in-depth the findings of the Committee of 100 survey of Public Attitudes toward Chinese Americans and Asian Americans (to be unveiled in mid-April) and look at changing perceptions as well as persisting biases. Whether we see the glass as being half full or half empty, there is still much to do in promoting understanding between peoples of the U.S. and Greater China AND between Asian Americans/Chinese Americans and our fellow Americans.
We look forward to having you join us for the 18th annual conference in Washington, D.C. from April 30 to May 2. For conference information, please check http://conference.committee100.org/2009/