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Inaugural Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration Held In Albany, NY

A month-long Asian Cultural Festival held by the Sino-American Culture & Arts Foundation (SACAF), supported by New York State Office of General Services (OGS) and Sino-American Friendship Association (SAFA), concluded in Albany, New York on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, bringing the curtain down on a vibrant series of events celebrating the rich heritage of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

A captivating photo exhibit kicked off the series events, showcasing the breathtaking natural wonders and cultural treasures from various Asian countries. Attendees were taken on a virtual journey, immersing themselves in the grandeur of Asian UNESCO world heritage sites. From China's awe-inspiring Mt. Huangshan and Chongqing Dazu Rock Carvings to Japanese's revered Toshogu Shrine, Malaysia's Batu Caves, and Indonesia's traditional Balinese Dance, the photos symbolized kind and persevering nature of Asian people.

Complimenting the photo exhibit was a symposium in conjunction with an AAPI themed farmers market, which delighted attendees with tantalizing foods, handcrafts and Asian cultural performances. Thousands of residents of Albany, NY, had the opportunity to engage with a diverse arrange of Asian cultures and traditions through the display of products.

Jeanette M. Moy, Commissioner of New York State Office of General Services, delivering opening remarks

Commissioner Jeanette Moy and Li Li, Executive Vice President of SAFA and President of SACAF at the Huangshan Photo Exhibit

Li Li introducing the special gifts from Huangshan to Jeanette Moy

People Visiting the “Creative Huangshan, Beautiful Huizhou” cultural display booth

People visiting the Chongqing Dazu Rock Carvings cultural display booth

People loving the gifts from Huangshan and Dazu

Taijiquan (Tai Chi) demonstration

Indonesian traditional dance performance

Chinese Sichuan Opera traditional Face-changing performance

"We honor the rich tapestry of AAPI communities, bridging ancient tradition with modern innovation, local experience with international influences, and transforming our understanding of heritage," said New York Assemblymember Steve Raga. "We invite everyone, regardless of their ancestry, to embrace the resilience, strength, and vibrant diversity that defines the AAPI spirit."

Peter Zhang, President of SAFA networking with the invited speakers of the AAPI Heritage Celebration Symposium

New York State Assemblymember Steven Raga showing a gift from Dazu at the Indonesia Photo Exhibit

Peter Zhang and Kailin Lu, Deputy Director of China National Tourist Office New York at the Dazu Photo Exhibit

Group photo of Peter Zhang along with Korean and Indian Americans Symposium speakers

Assemblymember Steven Rage networking with Symposium Speakers

Li Li introducing Mt. Huangshan and the wonderful famous Guest-Greeting Pine to Steven Raga

Chinese Sichuan Opera Face-changing performance at the Symposium

The Symposium brought together esteemed leaders and speakers to honor the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Elaine Fan, Director of Asian Affairs of NYS Governor's Executive Chamber and Kristen Hanifen, Associate Commissioner of NYS OGS delivered warm remarks.

Li Li delivering opening remarks at the Symposium

Steven Raga delivering remarks

Elaine Fan delivering remarks

Kristen Hanifen delivering welcoming remarks

Elaine Fan presenting Governor Hochul’s special citation to the AAPI Heritage Celebration

It featured engaging panel discussions, where the stories and experiences of Asian Americans were shared. Marian Goldberg, founder of Goldberg on Travel recounted her remarkable experience of visiting Japan 44 time while Vekrum Kaushik, founder of the Longevity Lab shared his inspiring journey as a successful Indian American entrepreneur. Kailin Lu, Deputy Director of CNTONY shared the Chinese tea culture and histories of Mt. Huangshan and Dazu carvings while Sun Kim, the 11th president of the Korean American Association in Long Island shared Korean culture. Kwang Kim, of the Korean American Heritage Society, offered valuable insights gained from over 30 years of serving the Korean community. "It's important to unite communities through culture and history!" he said.

The grandeur of this series of events has been actively reported and widely shared by over 200 renowned American and Chinese media outlets.

Panel Discussion 1: (From left) Dr. David Li, Chairman of Advisors Board of United Alliance of NYS Acupuncturists and Director of US-China Center for TCM, Kwang Kim, Vekrum Kaushik, Marian Goldberg

Panel Discussion 2: (From left) Deris Nagara, Official cultural and tourism ambassador of Indonesia, Kailin Lu, Sun Kim, Marian Goldberg

Prize Quiz: David Li and Lu Kailin representing Huangshan presenting awards to the winner

Prize Quiz: Li Li representing Dazu presenting awards to the winner

Group photo of Symposium speakers