Honorees Laura Cha (Philanthropy) and Henry Paulson (U.S.-China Relations) will receive the Committee’s tributes at its 20th Awards Gala on May 12 at the Metropolitan Museum’s Temple of Dendur, with entertainment by Shen Wei Dance Arts, one of the nation’s most-praised modern dance troupes.
Hong Kong government and business leader Laura Cha will be honored by the Committee of 100 for her outstanding philanthropic contributions to higher education. Cha is an Executive Council member of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Chair of HKSAR’s Advisory Commission on Corruption, and Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC). Known for her expertise in corporate governance and financial markets regulation, Cha served as Vice Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission from 2001 to 2004, thus becoming the first non-mainland appointee at a vice-ministerial rank in the Chinese government. She is a former C-100 member.
Cha has endowed the Laura Cha (Shi Mei Lun) Scholarship at the Yale School of Management, which provides a full scholarship to promising business students from China to complete Yale’s two-year MBA program. The Laura Cha (Shi Mei Lun) Scholarship program at the London School of Economics provides funding for Chinese students in the Master of Laws (LLM) program, with preference to students from Northwest China. Both scholarships are based on financial need as well as academic excellence. In Hong Kong, Cha chairs the University Grants Committee, which advises the HKSAR on the development and funding of the eight Hong Kong institutions of higher learning that it supports.
The Committee is honoring Henry Paulson, former Treasury Secretary (2006-2009), for his achievements in advancing U.S.-China Relations, in particular his pioneering leadership of what is now known as the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). Paulson came to the Bush Administration from Goldman Sachs, which he chaired for eight years. With a deep knowledge of China gained through his scores of visits and personal involvement in conservation efforts, Paulson initiated the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) in 2006 with Vice Premier Wu Yi to establish a regular mechanism for interchange on the highest levels concerning trade, currency, economic balancing, and other bilateral issues. It has been credited with stabilizing government-to-government relations during challenging times. Under President Obama, the bi-annual meeting of senior government leaders is now spearheaded by both the Treasury and State Departments.
Paulson initiated the SED when the U.S. clearly held a dominant economic position, giving it the leverage to urge China to free its currency and further open its markets to American exports. In December 2008, when Paulson last represented the U.S. as Treasury Secretary in the talks, the U.S. economy had plunged into crisis, and China was pressing the U.S. to get its financial house in order.
Paulson recently told the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs that “China's vast investments in U.S. markets can be seen as a sign of confidence in the American economy.” He also cautioned against unilateral demands on the part of the U.S.: “One of things we can learn is to listen, to understand better what the other’s issues are so we can find common ground.”
The ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendur will be the stunning backdrop for Shen Wei Dance Arts, an acclaimed New York City modern dance troupe founded a decade ago by Shen Wei, who brought his talents back to China as principal choreographer of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.