Asia Society Southern California Gala To Fete Leaders in Storytelling, Business, Sports, Technology, and Women's Empowerment
Honorees include the artists behind the acclaimed drama series Pachinko, Olympic Gold Medalist Skier Eileen Gu, Olympic Gold Medalist Snowboarder Chloe Kim, President of BYD North America Stella Li, and CEO of Suntory Takeshi Niinami
(LOS ANGELES, CA; May 4, 2022) – Asia Society Southern California (ASSC) will be returning to an in-person celebration for its 2022 Annual Gala, taking place Sunday May 22 at 7:00 p.m. PT at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. This year, ASSC is thrilled to honor the creative artists behind Apple TV+’s critically acclaimed series Pachinko as “Cultural Visionaries" alongside fellow honorees: Olympic gold medal-winning freeskier Eileen Gu as “Global Ambassador,” Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Chloe Kim as “Sports Visionary,” President of BYD Motors Stella Li as "Asian Women Empowered Visionary," and CEO of Suntory Holdings Takeshi Niinami as “Business Visionary.”
The ASSC's 2022 Annual Gala highlights honorees who are leading the way in cultivating cross-cultural understanding between the United States and Asia through their achievements. This year, the honorees continue to broaden the scope of partnerships between Asia and the West in their respectful domains of storytelling, business, sports, technology, and women’s empowerment. Their dedication to their crafts continue to elevate the conversation around Asian voices and are key in paving the way for impactful relationships between the two cultures through the Southern California community.
Pachinko chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in an indomitable quest to survive and thrive. Starting in South Korea in the early 1900s, the story is told through the eyes of a remarkable matriarch, Sunja, who triumphs against all odds.
The series, based on the bestselling novel by Min Jin Lee, was recently renewed for a second season; season one is now streaming globally on Apple TV+. Pachinko features an almost exclusively Asian cast, including Oscar winner Yuh-Jung Youn, Minha Kim, Lee Minho, and Jin Ha, with episodes directed by Justin Chon and Kogonada. Creator, executive producer, and showrunner Soo Hugh, executive producer Theresa Kang-Lowe, and star Minha Kim will also be in attendance at this year’s ASSC festivities.
“We are excited to return to an in person gala format and look forward to celebrating, along with our friends in the community, these illustrious Asian and Asian-American honorees, who exemplify so well the spirit of Asia Society's mission of "bridge building," said ASSC Vice Chair and Gala Chair Brian L. Treiger. Along with the honorees, the evening will also include a tribute to the Nixon Foundation for the 50th Anniversary of Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China, a tribute to Los Angeles Angels' star two-way player Shohei Ohtani, a set by comedian Jiaoying Summers, a performance by actress Malea Emma (After Yang), and a fireside chat between Emmy-nominated journalist, Lisa Ling, and Stella Li.
“Asia Society Southern California is thrilled to honor these visionaries, whose varied achievements impact so many facets of our daily lives,” ASSC Chair Katie Soo said. “In the U.S. and abroad, our honorees contribute not only to their individual fields, but also to bringing people together across cultures and countries.”
After taking home two gold and one silver medal from the 2022 Winter Olympics, freeskier Eileen Gu became the only action sports athlete to win three medals at the same Olympic games, and was also the youngest freeski Olympic Gold medalist in history. As an ambassador for freeskiing in the U.S., China, and worldwide, she hopes to inspire the next generation to build confidence, break boundaries, and lead happier, healthier lives through sport. She has been recognized with the SuperElle Youth Idol Award, the Instyle Icon Award, and the Vogue Aurora Award, and has recently been named the "Next Gen” Award winner from Apex for Youth Organization and been a keynote speaker at the ESPNW Women’s Summit to promote women in sports. Gu is an accomplished student and fashion model with covers on Vogue, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and L’Officiel, among others.
Chloe Kim was cemented as the female face of both snowboarding and action sports at the 2018 Winter Olympics. At 17 years old, she became the youngest woman in history to win an Olympic snowboarding Gold medal and after a hiatus from 2019-20, Kim returned in January 2021 to win all four women’s superpipe events in the 2020-21 season and was undefeated in 2021-22 Winter Olympics in Beijing which landed her second Gold medal. Kim has been featured on Forbes “30 under 30” list, TIME’s “100” list as well as TIME’s “30 Most Influential Teens” list three years in a row and has graced the covers of TIME, SHAPE, Sports Illustrated/Kids and ESPN Magazine.
Stella Li is Executive Vice President of BYD Company Limited and the President of BYD Americas, a global green technology company headquartered in Los Angeles that manufactures innovative and cutting-edge battery-electric vehicles, battery energy storage and solar systems. Under Li’s leadership, BYD achieved exponential market growth, developed invaluable partnerships, and became a dominant global force across multiple industries around the globe. In 2021, Li was recognized by Forbes China for their “Most Powerful Women,” “60 Outstanding Chinese in North America,” and “Women in Tech” lists.
Takeshi Niinami is the Chief Executive Officer of Suntory Holdings, one of the world's leading consumer products companies with operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Prior to joining Suntory in 2014, he served as CEO of Lawson, Inc., which he grew into one of Asia’s major convenience store operators, posting profit growth for 12 consecutive years. Outside of Suntory, Niinami is a member of the Council on Social Security Reform for All Generations and has served on the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy as senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister since 2014.
Asia Society Southern California is the Los Angeles branch of the leading nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening relationships and forging understanding among the people of Asia and the United States. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society has major centers and public buildings in New York, Hong Kong, and Houston, and additional locations in Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Zurich.