White House Welcomes AASF & Celebrates Asian American Scholar Contributions to Our Country


Media Contact: Melissa Stek, media@aasforum.org, 616-550-8039

Washington, DC—To celebrate and acknowledge the vast contributions of Asian American scholars, White House officials hosted a roundtable convening of prominent Asian American scholars and leaders from the Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) to discuss the issues and challenges facing the community. The White House roundtable included trailblazing Asian American public servants and leaders – U.S. Cabinet member and OSTP Director Dr. Arati Prabhakar and Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Liaison to AA & NHPI, Erika Moritsugu, Esq. Director Prabhakar broke barriers when she became the first woman or person of color nominated to serve as Senate confirmed director of OSTP. Ms. Moritsugu is an Asian American pioneer, becoming the first White House liaison out of the Chief of Staff office to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, a role that critical now more than ever. 

This event, following the two-year commemoration of the formal termination by the Biden administration of the “China Initiative,” demonstrated a renewed commitment from the highest levels of government to welcome and honor Asian American scholars and the often unrecognized contributions they have made to the fields of science, medicine, technology, and the nation as a whole. This acknowledgment of the contributions of Asian American scholars comes as the first-anniversary approaches of AASF’s Project Pioneer with the National Science Foundation (NSF), which was launched to educate the public on the achievements of pioneering Asian American scientists, researchers, and scholars who have contributed to advancements in our country and the world, including the first cohort of Asian American pioneer awardees- Drs. Nasir Ahmed, Frank Chang, Teresa Meng, Raj Reddy, and Simon Sze. 

AASF roundtable speakers included AASF Leadership Council member Dr. Steven Chu; AASF board member Dr. Gang Chen; AASF Co-Founder and board member Dr. Xihong Lin; and civil rights attorney & AASF founding Executive Director Gisela Perez Kusakawa. AASF board leadership participants included Drs. Yi Cui, Kai Li, Haifan Lin, Gurindar S. Sohi, Zhigang Suo, Min Wu, and Xiaodong Zhang, all of whom are National Academy members or current or former deans and department chairs. 

“This convening was a crucial step forward for the Asian American and scholar community. I express my deep thanks to Director Prabhakar and Deputy Assistant to the President Moritsugu for their dedication and commitment to the Asian American community,” said AASF Executive Director Gisela Perez Kusakawa. “This event sends a message across our country that Asian American scholars are welcomed and their contributions are to be celebrated. AASF commits to working with the White House on changing the climate of fear to one where we celebrate the immense contributions of our Asian American scholar community, who have been the foundation of U.S. leadership in science and technology.”

“We must re-instill the fact that we are a welcoming country,” said Former Secretary of the Department of Energy and recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize, Dr. Steven Chu. Dr. Chu is an Asian American trailblazer inspiring the next generation of Asian American scientists. He received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for laser cooling and trapping of atoms. Previously, he was the U.S. Secretary of Energy, where he began ARPA-E and the Energy Innovation Hubs and helped BP stop the Macondo Oil leak. His public service and dedication have improved the lives of all Americans. 

One of the founders of AASF, Dr. Lin, strives to serve her community and lifted up the amazing contributions of our immigrant community. “The US leadership in science and technology has substantially benefited from attracting the best global talents,” said AASF Co-Founder and Board Member Dr. Lin, “One-third of the US Nobel prize winners and one-third of the National Academy of Science members are immigrants.” Dr. Lin is a Professor and former Chair of Biostatistics and Coordinating Director of the Program in Quantitative Genomics at the School of Public Health and Professor of Statistics at Harvard University. She works on the development and application of statistical and machine learning methods for the analysis of big and complex genomic and health data. Her work inspires the next generation of women and Asian American scholars.

“It was an honor to be so warmly welcomed at the White House and included in this celebration to uplift the vast contributions of Asian American scholars,” said AASF Board Member Dr. Gang Chen. “It has been my American dream to advance my research in the United States and equip the next generation of scholars with the tools they need to fully and freely contribute to their fields of study. We are proud that the highest office of our federal government affirms this dream and acknowledges our contributions to our country and to society at large. As Asian American scholars, we are proud of our heritage and proud to be Americans that help drive the success of our country.” 

Dr. Chen continues to pursue his dream of improving the lives of all Americans through his cutting-edge research and innovations. Most recently, he led a team to discover what is said to be the best semiconductor ever found, conducting heat 10 times better and charges two times better than silicon. This discovery opens up new possibilities for smaller and faster chips. Along with his team, he also recently discovered light can evaporate water directly and more efficiently without heat, and this new discovery will have many applications in addition to its importance to fundamental science. 

AASF celebrates the brilliance and service of our AASF scholar leaders and the many Asian American scientists, researchers, and scholars across the country who have devoted their lives to education and the advancement of science for the benefit of our country and humanity. 


Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) is a national non-profit that promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments and profiling in the U.S., AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars. AASF membership includes members from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, in addition to past and current university presidents, provost, vice provosts, deans, associate deans and past and current department chairs.