Event Recap: Asia Society Seattle Launch Celebration
Asia Society Seattle celebrated its momentous launch on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. Bill Gates, Kevin Rudd, Gary Rieschel, Danny Russel, and Lingling Wei had a fascinating discussion about technology, U.S.-China relations, Asia, global health, and the important role Asia Society Seattle will play in the Pacific Northwest region and globally. Our all-star speaker lineup also included Tom Robertson, Robert Blair, Yasufumi Nakamori, Catherine Roche, Ping Foong, and Margaret Conley. The festivities closed with a mesmerizing performance by opera singer Hao Jiang Tian.
Over 200 guests from the business and local community, and leadership from Asia Society New York, Northern California, and Southern California gathered at the Seattle Asian Art Museum to commemorate the launch of Asia Society’s 16th Center and our collective vision of navigating shared futures with Asia in the Pacific Northwest.
Stay tuned for more videos and photos to come.
Asia Society Seattle Launch Celebration Videos
Watch highlights from Asia Society Seattle Launch Celebration
Panel Discussion with Bill Gates, Kevin Rudd, Gary Rieschel, Daniel Russel, and Lingling Wei
Our all-star panel discussion featured Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Founder of Breakthrough Energy; Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States and former Australia Prime Minister, who also served as the former global CEO of Asia Society; Gary Rieschel, Chairman of Asia Society Northern California and Asia Society Seattle; and Daniel Russel, Vice President for International Security and Diplomacy at the Asia Society Policy Institute. The discussion was moderated by Lingling Wei, Chief China Correspondent at the Wall Street Journal.
While the future trajectory of the U.S.-China relationship remains uncertain, both sides should actively seek areas of collaboration, engage at various government levels, and improve people-to-people exchanges. Global health, a mission the Gates Foundation has dedicated decades to working on in collaboration with China, serves as a noteworthy example. Bill Gates shared insights into the Gates Foundation’s work in China and his meeting with China’s President Xi in April, where they discussed collaboration on fighting pandemics and developing low-cost vaccines. The panelists also delved into issues such as China’s economy, investment in China, and the technological competition between the two countries.
Kevin Rudd stressed Asia Society's pivotal role in facilitating understanding of the U.S.-China relationship, highlighting that the establishment of Asia Society Seattle will provide an important gateway into this bilateral relationship due to technology's significance in both economies.
Remarks by Microsoft’s Tom Robertson & Live Demo on Generative AI by Rob Blair
Tom Robertson, Corporate Vice President and General Counsel at Microsoft Corporation, congratulated the establishment of Asia Society Seattle, which will be a significant contributor to Asia Society centers around the world and to the Pacific Northwest. He reviewed Microsoft’s long history and ties with Asia and stressed the importance of understanding and engaging with Asia, stating that Microsoft was very proud to be a foundational sponsor of Asia Society Seattle.
Rob Blair, Senior Director of National Security and Emerging Technology at Microsoft Corporation, then presented a live demonstration on generative AI. By showcasing generative AI's role in disease prevention and advanced material production, he illustrated how it can lower expenses, enhance productivity, boost innovation, and ultimately benefit humanity. Rob Blair also demonstrated how generative AI can support Asia Society’s missions, particularly in the areas of policy analysis, arts and culture, and sustainability.
Remarks on Arts by Asia Society's Yasufumi Nakamori and Seattle Art Museum's Catherine Roche and Foong Ping
Gary Rieschel, Board Chair of Asia Society Northern California and Asia Society Seattle, in his welcome remarks, stated that the establishment of Asia Society Seattle is important and timely, as we can leverage the region's exceptional background in healthcare, technology, trade, arts, and culture to fulfill Asia Society's mission in a changing world.
Catherine Roche, Board President-Elect at the Seattle Art Museum, discussed Asian art’s historical role at the Seattle Art Museum and highlighted the importance of the Seattle Asian Art Museum as a location for the community to connect with Asian culture. She congratulated Asia Society’s establishment in Seattle and was excited about opportunities for collaboration between Asia Society and the Seattle Art Museum.
Foong Ping, Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese art at the Seattle Art Museum, further discussed how these two organizations' shared intellectual basis could lead to many shared goals in representing Asian diversity.
Yasufumi Nakamori, the Museum Director and Vice President of Arts and Culture at the Asia Society, discussed the history of the arts and culture program at Asia Society, as well as his intended direction for the future as Museum Director. He concluded by emphasizing his goal of transnational Asian art research by highlighting the global exchanges and flows of artists and ideas.
Opera Performance by World Renowned Bass Hao Jiang Tian
Hao Jiang Tian, a Grammy nominated Bass Opera Singer, concluded the launch event with his mesmerizing performance: a Chinese folk song “Jasmine” and the aria “Non Piú Andrai” from The Marriage of Figaro. In between the pieces, he reflected on his journey from China to the opera stage worldwide, his use of opera and music to bridge the east and the west, and his work to support young international opera singers.