Asia Society honors I.M. Pei as ‘Game Changer’
Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei will receive the first Asia Game Changer Lifetime Achievement Award for “changing the world, one building at a time”, the Asia Society announced on Tuesday.
In announcing Pei’s honor and the naming of seven other recipients of Game Changer Awards, Tom Nagorski, executive vice-president of the New York-based Asia Society, said they are transformative “in a way that can cross borders”.
The seven include “a doctor who has restored sight to thousands of patients, a young activist who is bringing education to her fellow Syrian refugees, a pioneer in social impact investment in Asia, and two musicians who are using art to heal their war-torn nations”, the Asia Society said.
Initiated by the organization in 2014, the Asia Game Changer Awards identify and honor those making a positive contribution to the future of Asia. Nominations are solicited from the more than 1,000 members of the Asia Society’s global network.
Asia Society President Josette Sheeran said that this year’s Game Changers range in age from 18 to 99 and yet continue Asia Society founder John D. Rockefeller III’s legacy of being “bridge builders”.
Ieoh Ming Pei, commonly known as I. M. Pei, will turn 100 next year. He was born in China in 1917, the son of a prominent banker.
At age 17 he came to the US to study architecture, and received a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1940.
The buildings Pei has been the design force behind include the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, New York’s JFK Airport, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Grand Louvre in Paris. He returned to China for the first time in 1975 to design a hotel at Fragrant Hills, and a skyscraper in Hong Kong for the Bank of China 15 years later.
In 1983, he won the Pritzker Prize, often called the architecture Nobel .
Other 2016 Game Changer honorees are:
Marita Cheng, from Australia, seeks to bring more women into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce. Cheng, who is of Chinese descent, founded Robogals at the age of 19. Robogals encourages women to consider STEM occupations.
At age 18, Muzoon Almellehan of Syria is the youngest 2016 Game Changer. She was in the ninth grade when she fled her war-torn homeland of Syria for a refugee camp in Jordan. After enrolling in a camp school, she noticed that many of the girls were dropping out of school. Many who were as young as 13 were getting married in hopes of finding a safe passage out. Almellehan gathered important data that was used later by relief organizations to bring schooling to refugee camps.
Chinese architect leoh Ming Pei in a file photo of September 11, 2002.