Asia Society Texas Center Honors Marie and Vijay Goradia with 2018 Huffington Award

Institution's Highest Honor Awarded to Couple for Contributions to Global Literacy

HOUSTON, October 26, 2018 — Asia Society Texas Center presented its annual Roy M. Huffington Award to Dr. Marie and Mr. Vijay Goradia at The Houstonian on October 23. Drs. Chinhui Juhn and Edward R. AllenDr. Anne Chao and Mr. Albert Chao, and Mrs. Andrea White and Mr. Bill White (former Mayor of Houston), served as honorary co-chairs for the event.

After dinner, KTRK Channel 13 anchor Melanie Lawson moderated a discussion with the Goradias about their life stories and their dedication to advancing educational and healthcare issues around the world. Both were raised in humble circumstances in India and came to the U.S. in the 1970s. Soon after emigrating, Vijay founded Vinmar International, a global petrochemical trading and marketing company which recently tallied over $4 billion in annual revenue. While back in India on a business trip in 1999, he was inspired by the educational interventions he saw being implemented by a charity called Pratham (meaning “first” in Hindi), and he founded Pratham USA, which supports the work being done in India for underprivileged children. Additionally, Vijay has been involved with similar U.S. initiatives, such as the American India Foundation. When asked about his philanthropic inspiration, he responded, “My parents taught me empathy and sympathy, thus giving back to the society we adopted was a natural thing to do… it is fulfilling to give back to those less fortunate.”

Marie, who earned advanced degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology from Bombay University, journeyed to the U.S. to do scientific research. Her current portfolio is wide-ranging, including becoming a distinguished toastmaster, ballroom dancer, and an active community volunteer. In addition to Asia Society, Marie has been deeply engaged with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, among other organizations. Like her husband, she shared her reasons for giving back to the community, saying, “[Philanthropy] is important because you never have the opportunity to thank everyone who helped you in the past, but we can pay it forward and help provide a better life for those who have less.”

This was the first Huffington Award to be presented in a dinner format since Asia Society opened its new Museum District headquarters in 2012. In recent years, the program has been a luncheon with a predominantly business-centric focus, whereas the dinner setting heightened the event’s gravitas and ambiance. The 400 guests enjoyed musical accompaniment during dinner by Divisi Strings, floral arrangements by Lanson B. Jones & Co., and an elegant dinner including arugula salad with dried cherries and crumbled feta, BBQ-glazed wild salmon, and delectable chocolate desserts.

In addition to the honorary co-chairs, luminaries who attended to add their support to the Goradias’ award included Nancy Allen, Y. Ping Sun, Monjula and Ravi Chidambaram, Sylvia and Gordon Quan, Shaista and Shahzad Bashir, Lynn Wyatt, Sushila and Durga Agrawal, Muffet Blake and Bob Murray, Lily and Charles Foster, Dr. Ellen Gritz and Mickey Rosenau, Nancy Pollok Guinee, Akeni Saitoh, Nathalie and Charles Roff, John Cogan, Paul Murphy, Shazma and Arshad Matin.

The Huffington Award recognizes leaders who have been a major force on the international stage. Named for the Houston oilman and former ambassador who played a leading role in creating Asia Society Texas Center, the Roy M. Huffington Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Texas Center. Prominent former recipients include President George H.W. Bush; former Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable Kevin Rudd; former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III; former Governor of Utah and U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Jon Huntsman Jr.; former ExxonMobil CEO and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; and President of Rice University David Leebron.

Press Coverage

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Asia Society Texas Center Honors Marie and Vijay Goradia with 2018 Huffington Award
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Asia Society Texas Center Honors Marie and Vijay Goradia with 2018 Huffington Award

About Asia Society Texas Center

With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.

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