The China Institute annual Blue Cloud Gala
The China Institute annual Blue Cloud Gala honored Liu Dan, John S. Long, Howard P. Milstein, and Dame Jillian Sackler for their contributions to US-China relations. Co-chaired by Yue-Sai Kan and Chien Chung (Didi) Pei, the evening included performances by the U.S. China Music Institute at Bard College Conservatory and ballroom champion dancers Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyeva. More than 300 guests crowded the Pierre Hotel Grand Ballroom and raised nearly one million dollars.
Howard P. Milstein was honored for his generous philanthropy and for founding the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation. Receiving the award, he said, “It’s a privilege to be able to help support the good work of the China Institute, and it is particularly meaningful because I’ve had the opportunity to benefit from many of their scholarly programs.” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney sent him a special congratulatory video.
John S. Long, founder of the Long Family Foundation, was honored for establishing the University of California Irvine Long Institute, which works to bridge a common understanding between the US and China. “I’m just delighted to be part of this,” said Long. “We do a lot of work with the second generation of Chinese here and that’s something that we and China Institute have been collaborating on.”
Dame Jillian Sackler, philanthropist and chair of the Foreign Policy Association, was recognized for her achievements in East-West cultural diplomacy, including founding the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University in Beijing. “I’m very honored to receive the Blue Cloud Award,” said Dame Jillian. “I feel like a pioneer of museums in China because I built the first teaching museum there in 1993. It was the first modern institution in the country to have state-of-the-art curatorial standards. I feel proud to have begun the realization that museums can contribute to the community.” Dame Jillian wore a gown created by Chinese designer, Guo Pei. The dress’ half-black, half-white pattern with embroidery and ink took more than 560 hours to make and was meant to symbolize a “cultural collision”, as well as Dame Jillian’s talent for bringing people together.
Liu Dan, one of China’s most significant living artists, was also honored. His award was accepted by Didi Pei. “The construction process is never truly finished because we are always looking to do more, and this is what tonight is really about,” said Pei. “It is an opportunity to highlight all that we have done and set our collective sights on what we will build moving forward.
The gala also featured a live auction by CK Swett who raised $250,000.
The China Institute is the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in the US to focus exclusively on China. At the gala, their president, James Heimowitz, announced new initiatives to come, including launching the US-China Next Generation Philanthropy Initiative, providing opportunities for emerging Chinese and American philanthropists. China Institute will also begin working with Bard College
Conservatory to teach traditional Chinese music to New York City communities.
Photo Credit: Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan