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Asian American Community Activists and Partnerships to be Honored on May 6

Event: 4th Annual Asian American Community Leadership Awards

When: Monday, May 6, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, The University of Texas at Austin

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Event: 4th Annual Asian American Community Leadership Awards

When: Monday, May 6, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Background: The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is sponsoring the 4th Annual Asian American Community Leadership Awards in partnership with the Texas Exes Asian Alumni Network and the Center for Asian American Studies.

The awards honor individuals and organizations for their service to Austin and the greater Texas Asian American community. The first AACLAs were held in 2010 in partnership with the Association of Asian American Studies. Past recipients of the award include SAHELI (Support. Advocate. Heal. Empower. Listen. Inform.), the Honorable Dr. Martha Wong and the Network of Asian American Organizations.

This year’s honorees are:

Community Partnership Award

Texas Health and Science University (formerly Texas Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine)

Founded in 1990 as the Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine by Lisa and Paul Lin, Texas Health and Science University was the first school in Texas approved by the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners to provide instruction in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. First accredited in 1996, THSU is the oldest school of its kind in the state and has been ranked twice among the top three acupuncture schools in the country. THSU has been a pioneer of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine as serious academic disciplines and aspects of medicine that should be integrated into the modern health care system.

Community Leadership Circle Awards

Nahid Khataw As the first Muslim board president of Interfaith Action of Central Texas, Khataw helped raise awareness about Asian Americans’ faith and cultural heritage throughout Central Texas. Since 2011, she has been the chairwoman of the Asian Community and Education (ACE) Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that raises scholarship money for Asian students attending The University of Texas at Austin. She has also been instrumental in coordinating a free annual community health fair that serves more than 300 individuals and raises
awareness regarding personal health and preventative care.

Peter Shen As founder of the Greater Austin Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Austin Chinese Arts Association (ACAA), Shen has contributed to Austin civic life for several years. ACAA is the largest arts organization in Austin, with 350 artists and 18 art performance teams. Shen was recently appointed chairman of the Commission on Immigration Affairs by the Austin City Council; he is also the chairman of Travis County Citizens International Program, a nonprofit that encourages dialogue between Central Texas residents and China. Shen is president of the board of directors for the U.S. Weekly World Chinese newspaper and is a senior editor with Texas Capital News.

Sonia Kotecha A UT Austin alum (Liberal Arts, ’98) and member of the Friar Society, Kotecha is director of volunteers for CASA of Travis County, and she serves as one of the City of Austin’s lead coordinators for the “Be the Change National Day of Service.” She also is senior editor for TODO Austin and is a former chairwoman of the Diversity Committee for the Texas National Association of Social Workers. In 2011, Kotecha co-founded the Asian Behavioral Health Network, a unified network of behavioral health professionals working to improve and raise awareness about Asian and Asian American mental wellness. She has been the recipient of the YWCA Leader of Promise Award (2011) and was also named Best Small City Chapter President of the Network of Indian Professionals.

Legacy Award Betty Hwang

Betty Hwang is a leader in higher education with broad experience as an entrepreneur, a computer expert and an educator. She is the chairwoman and CEO of Victina Systems International, a software consulting firm she started in Austin in 1990. She earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration from The University of Texas at Austin, where she studied how global universities and colleges could improve their computer information education curricula to serve students more effectively. Her pioneering company has provided software services to help a wide range of clients (including various local governments, the State of Texas and Fortune 500 corporations such as IBM and Intel) update their legacy computer systems and advance into the modern era. Hwang was also a Purdue Shreve Faculty Fellow and the recipient of the Pacific Cultural Foundation grant. She has also been a board member for the Texas Asian Chamber of Commerce.

For information about past honorees, please visit the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement’s blog.

Learn more about our Community Leadership Awards.