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Society News

Asia Society’s first green themed annual dinner honored Alcoa Chairman Alain J.P. Belda, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Chairman Dr. Shi Zhengrong and Iranian artist Shirin Neshat. Pictured with the evening’s honorees are Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai (far left) and Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu (far right).

Asia Society’s first green themed annual dinner honored Alcoa Chairman Alain J.P. Belda, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Chairman Dr. Shi Zhengrong and Iranian artist Shirin Neshat. Pictured with the evening’s honorees are Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai (far left) and Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu (far right). Photo by : Elsa Ruiz






  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


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