China Institute Honors Four Extraordinary Individuals at Annual Blue Cloud Gala

In a glamorous evening of inspirational speeches, moving music, and ballroom dancing, China Institute brought together over 250 leading figures in the arts, culture, business, philanthropy, and education to underscore the importance of understanding China and celebrate its 2018 Blue Cloud Gala at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.

At the Gala, China Institute bestowed its Blue Cloud Award, representing the Chinese symbol of high virtue and status, to four inspiring people whose exceptional achievements contribute significantly to U.S.-China understanding. This year’s honorees were Howard P. Milstein, Dame Jillian Sackler, John S. Long, and Liu Dan:

Howard P. Milstein (米皓文) leads a family that has been prominent in business and philanthropy for four generations. He is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of New York Private Bank & Trust and its operating bank, Emigrant Bank (the country’s largest privately owned, family-run bank). Mr. Milstein has made substantial contributions to Chinese medical development to strengthen ties between the U.S. and China and is also a board member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Dame Jillian Sackler (吉琳.賽克勒) is building cultural bridges between people around the world. Dame Sackler and her late husband, Dr. Arthur M. Sackler, donated research centers, health centers, and art institutions around the world. As president and CEO of the Dame Jillian & Dr. Arthur M. Sackler Foundation for the Arts, Sciences & Humanities, she founded the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University in Beijing. She is also chairman of the Foreign Policy Association, which promotes cross-cultural knowledge and appreciation.

John S. Long (梁仕源) is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Highridge Partners. Mr. Long and his family foundation established the University of California Irvine Long Institute, which bridges understanding between the U.S. and China in the areas of business, law, and society. Mr. Long is the Founding Chairman of the UCLA Real Estate Center as well as a member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Governors and the UCLA Anderson School’s Board of Advisors. Mr. Long also serves on the Advisory Board of the Asia Society of Southern California.

Liu Dan (劉丹) is among the most significant living artists in China. Mr. Liu has pioneered an idiosyncratic idiom in the contemporary practice of ink that redefines the boundaries of convention. Public collections with his works include The British Museum, London; Musée Guimet, Paris; Andrew Mellon Foundation, New York; The Arthur M. Sackler Museum of the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis and others.

“Our honorees embody the mission and ‘Qi,’ or ‘energy’ of China Institute to provide access, context, and knowledge of China and strengthen understanding between two of the world’s richest cultures,” said Chien Cheng (Didi) Pei, Co-Chair of China Institute.

Two new China Institute initiatives were also announced at the gala:
With support from The Long Family Foundation, China Institute is launching the U.S.-China Next Generation Philanthropy Initiative, which will provide opportunities for emerging Chinese and American philanthropists and social innovators to work together and seek solutions for today’s most pressing challenges.

Another new initiative, Music at China Institute (华美音乐), a collaboration with the Bard College Conservatory of Music and its US-China Music Institute, will bring the teaching of Chinese traditional music to people of all ages and backgrounds in the heart of New York City.

James Heimowitz, President of China Institute, stressed the reasons for broader non-governmental engagement between the U.S. and China, especially during these particular periods:

“This is a tough time for U.S.-China relations, as both countries adjust to China’s emergence on the world stage. We think that makes China Institute’s mission—educating people about China—more important than ever,” Heimowitz said. “These are the two most important countries on the planet, and we have to learn to work together to solve global challenges.”

Musicians from the U.S. China Music Institute at Bard College Conservatory performed during the evening. Professional ballroom champions Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyeva also performed. Arthur Ch’ien, WNYW Fox 5 contributor and Emmy-Award winning journalist, was master of ceremonies for the evening.

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