The 2015 Leadership and Business Conference, the 16th annual meeting and gala awards dinner hosted by the International Leadership Foundation (ILF), was held on July 30th in Washington, D.C. Dr. James S.C. Chao and the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation were honored with the ILF’s inaugural Organizational Award and Angela Chao, Deputy Chair of the Foremost Foundation, was honored with the Inspirational Leader Award.
The annual Conference is an opportunity to learn about the most recent developments impacting the relationship between the United States and China, to network and access business opportunities, and to discuss strategies for furthering US-Asia economic cooperation. The event’s finale is the annual awards Gala, a time to honor those organizations and individuals who are not only outstanding in their field, but who have made the greatest contributions to improving the status of the Asian Pacific American community. Former Secretary of Transportation, the Honorable Norman Mineta, gave the opening remarks. The keynote speech was delivered by former Secretary of Labor, and Chair of the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation, Elaine Chao, who also accepted the honors on behalf of her father and sister, as they were unable to attend.
The mission of the ILF is to promote Asian-American participation in public affairs, to develop young Asian American leaders in the United States and Pacific Rim nations, and to support and stimulate economic success among the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. For the organization of the Leadership and Business Conference, the ILF partnered with the Coalition of Asian American Business Organizations (CAABO). CAABO is devoted to building economic empowerment within the Asian American community through a network of community and business leaders.
In honoring Dr. James S.C. Chao and the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation, the ILF wanted especially to recognize Dr. and Mrs. Chao’s lifelong commitment to funding Asian American education. Further, the ILF wanted to acknowledge Dr. Chao’s significant leadership as a role-model for Asian Americans in the field of philanthropy, one of the Foundation’s core mission principles. His trailblazing actions have carved out a role for Asian Americans in the arena of mainstream philanthropy in the US. The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Foundation makes generous donations both in the United States and in China, to support educational facilities construction, endowed chairs, and scholarship opportunities for qualified students who cannot afford a higher education.
Angela Chao was honored with the Inspirational Leader award, given to the individual who has done the most to inspire young Asian Americans to be successful in their chosen fields. She is President of the Foremost Foundation, as well as Deputy Chairman of the Foremost Group, the international shipping company founded by her father and mother. The ILF noted that Angela Chao has recently established a scholarship fund at Harvard University that targets young Asian Americans. Her example of living successfully within mainstream US culture, while remaining committed to the Asian American community and to strengthening East-West economic, educational and cultural ties — serves as an inspiration to the future generations of Asian Pacific Americans looking for their own pathway to success.