UPDATED:  February 27, 2011 10:42 PM
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Envoy to Burma

New York, NY–President Barack Obama is set to appoint Derek Mitchell as the first U.S. special representative to Burma, also known as Myanmar, according to NY-based Suzanne Dimaggio, Asia Society’s Vice President for Global Policy Programs. Currently, Mitchell is the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs. Dimaggio said the appointment “puts the U.S. in a better position to enter into a protracted period of more active engagement with all facets of Burmese society and encourage desperately needed reforms.”

Sri Lanka Issues

Washington, D.C.–Asia Society members and friends attended a breakfast discussion on April 13 with Ambassador of Sri Lanka Jaliya Wickramasuriya. The envoy since 2008 discussed key economic development issues and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Previously, as consul general in L.A., he built a solid partnership between the consulate and the expatriate community, and also with the business community, among others.

Maya’s Book

Washington, D.C.–“Ladder to the Moon,” the children’s book written by Maya Soetoro-Ng, President Obama’s sister, was released recently by Candlewick Press, Politico.com reported. The book “unites” Maya’s daughter Suhaila with the author’s late mother in an imaginary world. The item also reported Maya is already working on her next book about “a young woman born into a world at war.”


Houston, TX–OCA-Greater Houston held an APA Community Walk for Change, and also an Arts & Film Festival last April 9. Proceeds will benefit community services, as well as supporting student groups. Proceeds from the film festival’s Japanese Food Booths will benefit JACL-Direct Relief International efforts in Japan.


Health & Fitness

Los Angeles, California– Sefa Aina, vice chair of the President’s Advisory Commission Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, led officers at a recent event here stressing the role of physical exercise and nutritious meals. The event focused on the soaring obesity and diabetes rates among high school youth. Hundreds of youth joined Commission member and NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward and other NFL players.

Vietnamese Panel

Washington, D.C.–Smithsonian’s InformAsian reported a panel discussion on new Vietnamese American literature, arts, and filmmaking was held here last month. Panelists included author Monique Truong; Truong Tran, poet and visual artist; and Mark Tran, director and writer. Isabelle Pelaud, author of “This is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature,” was the moderator.


Film Seminar

Washington, D.C.–The DC APA Film newsletter writes that registration for the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar is open to the public. The seminar runs on June 18-June 24. For details, visit, www.flahertyseminar.org. The Flaherty is a nonprofit organization aimed at fostering “exploration, dialogue, and introspection about the art and craft of all forms of the moving image.”

Traveling Exhibit

St. Louis, Missouri –The Smithsonian traveling exhibit, Singgalot: The Ties That Bind, ended its run here April 24. Today, there are more than 2.5 million Filipino Americans in the country. Yet many, including Filipinos themselves, are not familiar with the details of their history in America-their experiences, rich traditions, and culture.

India Palaces

Washington, D.C.–Dr. Kenneth Robbins held a multimedia presentation at the Asia Society in this capital. The presentation is a journey through the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, and the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad.

Rave Review

New York, NY–The New York Times gave a rave review to “Flipzoids,” a recent Ma-Yi Theater production. Excerpts of critic Eric Grode’s review, released by Ma-yi Theater, note “Flipzoids, Ralph B. Peña’s empathetic dissection of the Filipino immigrant experience, manages the neat trick of being both elegiac and stirring, primarily from a towering performance by Ching Valdes-Aran…Ms. Valdes-Aran won an Obie Award for her work in the original 1996 production…” Peña and Executive Director Jorge Z. Ortoll appealed for donations (www.ma-yitheatre.org/donate) to raise “the bar of excellence in Asian American theater.”

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