New York City – Asia Society celebrated three “climate heroes” and
environmental leaders tonight at its first green-themed annual dinner.
Alain J.P. Belda, Chairman, Alcoa, Inc.; Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri,
Director-General, The Energy and Resources Institute and Chairman of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (speaking via telecast); and
Dr. Shi Zhengrong, Chairman and CEO, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.
were honored for their path-breaking efforts to address climate change.
“Alan Belda, Shi
Zhengrong, and Rajendra Pachauri each individually epitomize the deep
commitment, innovation and leadership needed to address climate change.
Collectively, they represent the global nature of both the challenges
and the solutions required to prepare for an environmentally sustainable
shared future,” said Asia Society Chairman Richard C. Holbrooke.
“Tonight’s ‘Climate Heroes’ have set an exemplary model of what we can
achieve in collectively addressing environmental challenges,” added Asia
Society President Vishakha N. Desai.
The black-tie gala
event, at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, was attended by close to 500 guests
representing the corporate, policy and arts communities, and raised over
$1 million for the Society’s programs and activities.
The Society honored Iranian visual
artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat, who received Asia Society’s Cultural
Achievement Award. A highlight of the evening was the special
performance by Shen Wei Dance Arts of the landmark work Connect
Transfer, which inspired Shen Wei’s choreography for the 2008
Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremonies.
Also at the dinner,
the Society announced the 2008 winners of the Goldman Sachs Foundation
Youth Prize for Excellence in International Education. Tracy
Wolstencroft, head of the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental
Markets, awarded five students from across the United States $10,000
college scholarships for their written or multimedia features proposing
solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges, from two locales
in China and the U.S. working together on energy efficiency, to
tuberculosis prevention efforts in the U.S. and India.
The Society thanked
the event’s special supporters. These included Gala Chairman Vikram
Pandit, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup Inc.;
Vice Chairmen: Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Inc.;
Gina Lin Chu and David Chu; The Coca-Cola Company; Betsy and Edward
Cohen; Dow; Miranda Wong Tang; Lulu and Anthony Wang; and Warburg Pincus.
Benefactors include: American Express, Bloomberg, John H. Foster;
General Atlantic; Goldman Sachs; Tara and Victor Menezes; Merrill Lynch;
The McGraw-Hill Companies; and Pepsico.
Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian
organization working to strengthen relationships and promote
understanding among the people, leaders and institutions of the United
States and Asia. The Society seeks to increase knowledge and enhance
dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across
the fields of policy, business, education, arts and culture. Founded in
1956, the nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution has offices in
Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York,
San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. Asia Society is on
the web at