So­ci­ety hon­ors I.M. Pei as ‘Game Changer’

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Chi­nese-Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect I.M. Pe i 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.

Pei called the de­sign force be­hind the JFK Li­brary, the East Wing of the Na­tional Gallery in Wash­ing­ton and the Grand Lou­vre in Paris.

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.

Soo-Man Lee of South Korea was hon­ored for his role in turn­ing “K-pop” into a global phe­nom­e­non.

Dr San­duk Ruit, an eye sur­geon and co-founder of the Hi­malayan Cataract Project, has brought sight to many in need.

Ah­mad Sar­mast, founder and di­rec­tor of the Afghanistan Na­tional In­sti­tute of Mu­sic, helped re­store mu­sic and em­power chil­dren in a war-rav­aged na­tion.

Dur­reen Shah­naz of Bangladesh, founder of Im­pact In­vest­ment Ex­change Asia, for her role in so­cial im­pact in­vest­ing that has changed the lives of mil­lions.

Karim Wasfi of Iraq, a renowned cel­list and con­duc­tor of the Iraqi Na­tional Sym­phony Orches­tra, was rec­og­nized for us­ing mu­sic to heal war’s af­ter­math.

I.M. Pei

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