BY VEENA RAO
The Asian American Heritage Foundation celebrated its annual gala dinner and fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta recently. The fundraiser was to benefit the building of an Asian community center by the end of 2009. Jeff Matteson of Turner Broadcasting filled in for keynote speaker James McCaffrey, executive vice president, operations and strategy and chief strategy officer, Turner Broadcasting.
The gala was also graced with the presence of the Honorary Chun Hae-Jin, ambassador, Consul General of Korea, Lisa Borders, president of the Atlanta City Council, Lt. General David Poythress, candidate for governor of Georgia, Kimberly Gittings, Ms Georgia 2009 and the heavy weights of the corporate world.
Reading a prepared speech written by the original keynote speaker McCaffrey, Matteson said, “I am impressed by the business, social and charitable interests of the Asian American community.”
He said, good corporate philosophy involves creativity, vision, humility and a deep understanding of the place and people. Turner Broadcasting, with its sound corporate philosophy, now reaches over two billion people. “We have done it all from Atlanta,” he said.
Matteson said each September, over a thousand Turner Broadcasting employees volunteers to tutor, mentor and provide hands on help to Atlantans in need.
“I am proud to be part of this corporation,” Matteson said, reading out of McCaffrey’s prepared text.
He said, while we cannot all be Carnegies or Ted Turners, we can all honor and promote good citizenship.
Earlier, Lisa Borders, who is in the fray for Mayor of Atlanta, in her address said diversity, has always been a strength for Atlanta. She read out a proclamation signed by every member of the Atlanta City Council recognizing May 2009 as the Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month. “May was selected for the recognition because two significant events took place this month,” she said. “Chinese immigrants first arrived in the US, and the transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869.
Soon-Hee Paik, chairperson of the foundation and Ani Agnihotri, president thanked everybody involved in making the gala a successful event. Agnihotri reminded the packed ballroom that the purpose of the gala was to raise funds for the Asian community center.
The center will provide new immigrants and others in need such as senior citizens with orientation, knowledge, services and guidance in overcoming the challenges of assimilation.
Christopher Horace and Valerie Nesbitt, both co-chairs of the foundation were the hosts for the evening.
A multi-cultural entertainment program followed dinner. Children from Rifka Mayani’s Tandav Themes dance academy performed bharat natyam in traditional tanjavore style. This was followed by traditional Chinese music, Korean folk songs and a skillful demonstration of the Shaolin Kung Fu by students of the Shaolin Institute.