Committee of 100 Holds Record-setting Annual Conference in New York City

C-100 Chairman John Chen opening the 20th Annual Conference.As nearly 400 people streamed into the Waldorf Astoria for the Committee of 100's 20th Annual Conference on May 12, it was clear how far C-100 had come since the Committee's first conference in 1990. Only sixty attended that first conference, with ten times as many present in 2011 at both the conference and evening gala. This year, 77 Committee members were on hand, more than the total C-100 membership in 1990.

Yet, even in its first year, the Committee was able to attract notable speakers, among them the diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who spoke on "Sino-American Relations in the Age of Gorbachev." In 2011, the keynote speakers again showed the Committee's clout: U.S. Commerce Secretary and Ambassador to China designate Gary Locke; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; and Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit. Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed conference participants to New York and introduced a roundtable on sustainable cities. Four animated roundtable discussions featured moderators and speakers with the expertise and stature to give great weight to their views on such topics as Chinese economic and political reforms and opening new markets in China. Committee Bridges will recap highlights of the roundtables in future issues, but videos and conference press releases are now online.

The Committee's first Awards Gala was held in 1995 at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. One of those honored was the late Matt Fong, who received the C-100 Public Service award soon after assuming his elected post as California State Treasurer. Sixteen years later, more than 500 guests attended the Awards Gala at the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The 2011 honorees were former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Vice President of China's State Council's Development Research Center Liu He, Duke Energy CEO James Rogers, philanthropist and HSBC Asia Pacific Deputy Chairman Laura Cha, and artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Celebrity chefs Ming Tsai and Pichet Ong designed the entrée and dessert for the dinner menu. One of the Committee's founders, Oscar Tang, described how I.M. Pei and the other founders conceived of the Committee in 1989 as "a collective voice for our common interests."

Temple of Dendur Metropolitan Museum of Art

The ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendur can be seen behind the Gala diners.

The reception was held in the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Three members co-chaired this record-setting event: Clarence Kwan, James Li and Lulu Wang, whose fundraising success has set a new high for a C-100 conference. Bank of America was Lead Conference Sponsor, followed by Deloitte LLP, ING U.S., Tupelo Capital Management, United Airlines, and Wells Fargo. Conference participants rated the conference as well-organized and liked the one-day length. Evaluations praised the substantive content, and the favorite speaker was Secretary Locke.

Both mainstream and Chinese language journalists covered the conference and gala, with special attention to business speakers and political figures such as Secretary Locke and Governor Christie. The "Companies and Markets" section of Financial Times featured a story on the remarks of Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach, who said that the upscale handbag company plans to move significant production out of China because of rising labor costs. The multicultural blend of Chinese and Egyptian motifs in the Awards Gala held in the Temple of Dendur captured the fancy of the New York Times in its "Nocturnalist" and "Sunday Style" columns. CCTV, World Journal and Singtao focused their Chinese language coverage on Secretary Locke and the conference roundtables.

ABOUT COMMITTEE OF 100

The Committee of 100 is a leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. For over 20 years, the Committee has served as a substantive bridge in the U.S.-China dialogue by fostering regular exchanges with the leadership of Beijing, Taipei, and Washington. Members of the Committee of 100 are leading U.S. citizens of Chinese descent who leverage their collective influence, resources and experiences to address important issues affecting U.S.-China relations as well as significant concerns of the Chinese American community.

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