Asia Society Honors Key Players and Announces New Initiatives Furthering U.S.-Asia Ties at 27th Annual Dinner


NEW YORK CITY, November 6, 2007 - Asia Society announced tonight it will be opening a new Center in Seoul, Korea, the eleventh global Asia Society office. The announcement came at the Society's Annual Dinner, which honored UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company Neville Isdell, and celebrated Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. The honorees each addressed the 650 guests at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The black tie affair - the Society's main fundraising event - raised $1.65 million to support the organization's activities.

Asia Society Chairman Richard C. Holbrooke announced that the official opening of the Korea Center would take place in Seoul in April 2008.
"His Excellency Ban Ki-moon was an early supporter of a stronger Asia Society presence in Korea, so it seems especially fitting that we are announcing the new Asia Society Korea Center with him at tonight's event," he said. "The Korea Center will help Asia Society raise its profile in Northeast Asia and throughout the region, establishing an important hub for our increased activities in the world's most dynamic growth area."

The Asia Society Korea Center will serve as an active gateway for engagement on issues affecting Korea, the Asian-Pacific region, and U.S.-Asia ties. The Center will present programs addressing technology, policy, business, and education, as well as arts and culture, and integrate Korean voices into the broad range of Asia Society programs across the region. The Asia Society has a longstanding history in and commitment to Korea, where the organization recently hosted two of its highest profile Asian conferences: the 2006 inaugural Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit and the 2004 Asian Corporate Conference.

Former Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo, who recently joined the Asia Society Global Board of Trustees, will be the Korea Center's honorary chairman. Representing the new Korea Center at the Annual Dinner were Kyongsoo Lho, professor of International Politics at Seoul National University - who is serving as Co-Chair together with Lotte Corporation Vice Chairman Shin Dong-Bin - and Joe Cabuay, Co-Executive Director. The full board and staff of the Korea Center will be announced at the official opening.

As part of the Asia Society's growing engagement on environment-related issues, Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai announced Trustee Jon Anda's pledge of $1 million as seed money for a U.S.-China environmental initiative.
"Asia Society continues to chart new directions in addressing the critical issues and trends in Asia and the U.S.-Asian relationship," she said. "Helping to address the looming environmental crisis is one of the key areas where the Society can make the greatest impact. We are extremely grateful to Jon Anda for this gift."

The Society also announced the 2007 winners of the Goldman Sachs Foundation Youth Prize for Excellence in International Education. Five high school students from across the United States were selected for their in-depth written, audio, or video features that compared how their local community and a community in another country addressed challenges ranging from energy and the environment to hunger and homelessness.

The Society presented a Special Cultural Achievement Award to Yoshio Taniguchi, architect and principal of Taniguchi and Associates. Best known in the United States as the architect for the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Mr. Taniguchi is recognized as one of Asia's most preeminent architects working today. He is currently designing a major building project for Asia Society Texas Center, which will house museum galleries, a 300-seat theater, meeting rooms, reception spaces, gardens, and other amenities and will be located in Houston's Museum district. The facility is slated for completion in fall of 2009.

The Society also presented a lifetime cultural achievement award to the internationally acclaimed Iranian vocalist Shahram Nazeri, "for his lifelong commitment to bringing words of the great Persian poet Rumi to audiences around the world through his extraordinary music." The award comes during the global celebration of the 800th anniversary of Rumi's birth and on the heels of Mr. Nazeri's winning of France's Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur medal. At the gala, Mr. Nazeri performed with his son, Hafez Nazeri, one of Iran's most influential and admired young composers, together with the Rumi Ensemble, a group featuring both Persian and Western classical performers.

The Society also thanked the event's special supporters. These included Gala Chairman Barry Diller, Chairman and CEO, IAC; Ajay Banga, Chairman and CEO, Global Consumer Group International, Citigroup Inc.; and Martin J. Sullivan, President and CEO, American International Group, Inc. Vice Chairmen included: Gina Lin Chu and David Chu; Muhtar Kent, President and COO, The Coca-Cola Company; Vincent Mai, AEA Investors; Harold McGraw III, The McGraw-Hill Companies; Courtney Sale Ross; Stephen A. Schwarzman, The Blackstone Group; Lulu and Anthony Wang; and Miranda Tang.
About the Asia Society 
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, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. Asia Society is on the web at
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Contact: Deanna Lee or Elaine Merguerian at (212) 327-9271