On May 28, The University of Texas at Austin held a Community Leadership Awards ceremony and reception at the Asian American Resource Center, sponsored by President Bill Powers and Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community Engagement. Awards were presented to the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC) and three individuals: Ramey Ko, Lesley Varghese and Channy Soeur.
Community Partnership Award
Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce
The GAACC drives local economic growth for businesses with ties to Asia and Asian Americans. It gives a platform and a voice to small Asian businesses and connects them with larger businesses. The chamber is also involved with the City of Austin and other multi-ethnic chambers of commerce to promote economic development and diversity. Business transparency, diversity and inclusion, respecting cultural differences and mentoring and education are included in the GAACC’s’ core values.
Community Leadership Circle Award
Ramey Ko is a partner in the law firm of Richard Jung and Associates, an associate municipal judge for the City of Austin, and a lecturer in Asian American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. He is the first Asian American judge in Travis County.
Lesley M. Varghese is executive director and general counsel of the Asian American Resource Center, Inc. (AARC Inc.), a community-based 501(c)3 organization formed in 2006 to support the construction and operation of the Asian American Resource Center facility by the City of Austin. She is also a lecturer in Asian American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.
Channy Soeur has been a leader of the Austin Asian community since the early 1980s and was the original organizer of the Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce. Not only has he contributed his time, energy and financial resources, but he also has shared his astute political wisdom freely within the community. Soeur has mentored many members of the younger generation including Jennifer Kim who became Austin’s first Asian City Council member.
Soeur was crucial in establishing and building the Asian American Resource Center, a project which took 10 years to complete. Without Soeur’s vision, persistence, or generosity, AARC would not be here today.