The gathering at Cipriani’s lower Broadway location in the Cunard Building was meant to center on the Institute’s commitment to advancing understanding and deepening trust between China and the U.S. Ning Yuan, chairman and president of China Construction America, and Robert Hong Xiao, chief executive officer of Perfect World Co. Ltd. were also honored, as well as New York Gov. Andrew Coumo, who wasn’t able to attend the black tie dinner.
Beforehand, China Institute chairman Chien Chung Pei, better known as “Didi,” said of the honorees, “They share the spirit and mission of China Institute to shape positive and strong U.S.-China relations through education, culture and business.”
Derek Lam also turned up to support Wang. She later told the crowd how growing up in the U.S., her parents Cheng Ching and Florence Wang encouraged her to embrace American culture, never allowing her to forget her Chinese heritage. That delicate balance was what provided her and her brother “with such a unique view of the world and a sincere appreciation for both cultures,” she said.
Noting how the world she once knew has changed radically, the designer spoke of the even deeper need for greater thought, open discussion and true authenticity. “Respect for others is the only way I know to create a safer, happier, more prosperous future. China Institute has always been at the forefront of these ideals. We must all embrace the significance, not just for our generation, but those that follow in our footsteps. It is our duty. You are all part of that journey,” Wang said.
China Institute trustees Yue-Sai Kan, the Emmy-winning television host and producer, and Mei He, a recipient of the Eisenhower Foundation International Leadership Award, helped out as emcees. Stuffed panda bears were placed in the bamboo decor, thanks to the evening’s sponsor, Hainan Airlines, which was also celebrating the launch of its Panda Express routes to Chengdu and Chongqing.
Pei said, “Vera is really the pioneering Chinese fashion designer — completely international but with Chinese roots. I knew Vera when I was a little boy. We’re very proud of all of her accomplishments. Every Chinese person is proud of her.”
As for his own pursuits at Pei Partnership Architects, Pei, who previously worked for his father I.M. Pei, said, “I have projects in China, Brunei, Brazil and France. I’m working on projects all over the world. Right now I’m doing a winery in Bordeaux so that’s a lot of fun. I always say that whatever you do, it should be fun.”