Museum of Chinese in America's Opening Gala Dinner

December 10, 2008

Capitale, 130 Bowery, New York City





Lifetime Achievement Award

I.M. Pei, Architect


Legacy Awards

Steve Chen, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, YouTube

Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Jon Christianson, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Wei Christianson, Managing Director and CEO, Morgan Stanley China

T.C. Hsu, Former President, The Starr Foundation

Ang Lee, Academy Award-winning Director

Christine A. Poon, Vice Chairman,Board of Directors and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals Group, Johnson & Johnson


New York, NY– On Wednesday, December 10, 2008, at CAPITALE in New York City, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) celebrated its inaugural opening season and honored eight leaders who have made significant contributions to the Chinese American community. This is the Museum’s premier benefit event— to date, the Dinner has raised $1.68 million raising critical support vital to MOCA as it moves forward to a new home and recognition as a significant national museum.


The gala evening has a rich history, as each year, MOCA honors individuals and institutions for their inspiring achievements and significant contributions to the Chinese/Chinese American community, as well as to the society at large.  This year’s Legacy Award honorees include: Ang Lee, Steve Chen, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Jon Christianson, Wei Christianson, T.C. Hsu, Ang Lee, and Christine A. Poon.


In addition to the Legacy Awards, the Museum also announced its first Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, I.M. Pei. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes exemplary individuals and institutions whose distinguished achievements advance the Chinese/Chinese American society, improve humanity, and inspire all people.  Mr. Pei is noted for his unparalleled and countless contributions to the field of architecture – his work has spanned decades and can be found all over the world.  The Museum also wanted to honor his ability to draw people of different backgrounds and disciplines to create and build together.


Cindy Hsu, anchor and Emmy-winning news reporter of CBS 2 served as emcee. The evening’s event hosted 432 guests, which included Dinner leadership members such as, Vera Wang (Vera Wang Group), David Henry Hwang (playwright), Maurice R. Greenberg, David Ho M.D. (Nobel-award winner), Maya Lin (artist and designer), Joseph Flom (Skadden Arpts), and Robert Kindler (Morgan Stanley).


The evening’s finale was a performance from the title role of The Bonesetter’s Daughter which debuted in San Francisco in September of this year.  Guests of the December 10th Dinner were the first to hear an excerpt from the Opera on the East Coast.


MOCA’s Executive Director, Charles Lai said, “It is our greatest pleasure to celebrate the upcoming opening of the Museum’s new facility in early spring 2009 with our funders, donors, friends, and supporters. This has been an extraordinary year for the institution and we hope to continue this momentum.” 


Honoree I.M. Pei and wife Eileen Loo

Photo by Dennis Lee


Honorees Wei & Jon Christianson 

Photo by Dennis Lee                                                         


From left to right: Honoree Ang Lee, MOCA Board Member Maya Lin, and MOCA Board Chair, Jonathan K. Ligh, M.D.

Photo by Dennis Lee


The evening’s festivities also included celebrating honoree T.C. Hsu’s 90th birthday

Photo by Tom Legoff


New York Times reporter Bill Cunningham with MOCA's Executive Director Charles Lai

Photo by Corky Lee





About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture, and diverse experiences of Chinese people in the United States. Through unique collections, innovative exhibitions, education and public programs, MOCA promotes dialogue and understanding among people of all cultural backgrounds.


Currently located at 70 Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s historic core of Chinatown, MOCA will move its main galleries, classrooms, program space and offices to 211-215 Centre Street, one and a half blocks north of Canal Street, at the intersection of Chinatown, SoHo, and NoLiTa. MOCA is scheduled to open the new facility in spring 2009.