Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

About the Pennsylvania Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
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About the Pennsylvania Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

Established by Executive Order 2015-10, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs is dedicated to ensuring that state government is accessible and accountable to the diverse Asian Pacific American communities in Pennsylvania.

The commission is composed of up to thirty volunteer members appointed by the governor for a term of two years.

News


Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to Host Town Hall (PDF)
Governor Wolf Names Seven New Members to Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
Governor Wolf Names Five New Members to Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
Wolf Administration Unveils Report on Asian American and Pacific Islander Contributions to Pennsylvania Economy (PDF)
Governor Wolf, First Lady, Commissions Pen Joint Letter to Congress in Support of DREAMers
Philly.com: Op-ed: My relatives survived Hiroshima. I know the damage that Trump’s nuclear rhetoric will cause.
Governor Wolf, Advisory Commissions Stand United Against Hate
Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Joins Korean American Elected Officials in Calling on President Trump to Build Peace in the Korean Peninsula (PDF)
Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and Representative Jared Solomon to Host Town Hall (PDF)
Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to Host Education Town Hall (PDF)
Why Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Matters
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2017
Governor’s Advisory Commissions Stand Against Hate
Executive Director Tiffany Chang Lawson’s Dumpling Recipe for the Lunar New Year
Celebrating Diwali and Tihar in Pennsylvania
Recognizing October as Filipino American History Month
Filipino American History Month, 2016
India Day 2016: Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Cultural Diversity
BLOG: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage in Pennsylvania
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2016
Governor Wolf Names New Members to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

Commissioners

Tiffany Chang Lawson – Executive Director
Bibhuti Aryal – Commission Chair | Schools that Teach Sub-Committee
Thomas S. Lee, Esq. – Vice Chair & Chair | Government that Works Sub-Committee
Rob Buscher – Chair | AAPI Arts Collective Sub-Committee
Dr. Fariha I. Khan – Chair | Civil Rights Task Force
Brad Baldia
Dr. A. Suresh Canagarajah
Dr. Shuhua Fan
Anuj Gupta
Naimah Hares
Amy J. Hever
Pearl Kim, Esq.
Dr. Helene K. Lee
Sancha Man Rai
Hani White
Carol Wong
Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esq.
Wen Qin Zhang

Tiffany Chang Lawson

Tiffany Chang Lawson is a life-long Pennsylvania resident. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA but moved to Hershey, PA when she was eight years old to attend the Milton Hershey School (MHS).

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During Tiffany’s sophomore year at MHS she was selected to become a Rotary Youth Exchange Student and was sponsored by the Hershey Rotary Club during her junior year to study in the Republic of Hungary for an entire academic year. After graduating from MHS Tiffany pursued her undergraduate studies at Dickinson College located in Carlisle, PA. During her time at Dickinson College, Tiffany created a self-developed major entitled Global Feminisms and spent a year in Beijing, China studying at the prestigious Peking University where she pursued advanced Chinese language and cultural studies. Tiffany graduated from Dickinson College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in a Self-Developed Major of Global Feminisms and a minor in Chinese Language.
In 2013, Tiffany transitioned into a career in Government when she was appointed as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. In this position, Tiffany provides strategic development for the Commission which is comprised of 29 Commissioners that have been appointed by Governor Wolf from across Pennsylvania. The Commission is the state’s advocate agency for the diverse Asian Pacific American communities across the Commonwealth and Tiffany travels across Pennsylvania to meet with community based organizations, local, state and federal agencies as well as other stakeholders.

 

Bibhuti AryalBibhuti-Aryal

A Pittsburgher since age 9, Aryal finished an undergraduate degree in two years, graduating magna cum laude from Robert Morris University, before earning his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

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He now is a technology and business consultant at Pittsburgh’s SDLC Partners, and in his free time he is a founding member of the Pittmandu soccer team, the epitome of western Pennsylvania’s blend of cultures. He is the CEO at the Rukimini foundation, which he started to honor his grandmother, an organization dedicated to reaching out to girls in Nepal and giving them an education.

 

Thomas S. Lee, Esq.Thomas-Lee

Thomas S. Lee is a Pennsylvania lawyer in the practice areas of banking and finance. He was appointed to the Commission in November 2015 and was selected to serve as a Vice-Chair of the Commission.

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Tom is an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Membership as a Fellow is limited to one percent of lawyers admitted to practice in the United States, its territories and lawyers in jurisdictions outside the United States. The American Bar Foundation is affiliated with the American Bar Association and was founded in 1955.

 

Rob BuscherRob-Buscher

Rob Buscher, Festival Director of Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, is a film and media specialist who has worked in many aspects of film including production, administration and distribution.

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Due in part to his multi-racial Japanese American heritage, Rob’s expertise is Japanese and East Asian Cinema although he has worked as a professional film programmer in a wide variety of genres. Some of his career highlights include co-founding Zipangu Fest – the UK’s premier Japanese Film Festival, co-hosting and programming Philadelphia Japan Arts Matsuri Tohoku Earthquake charity film festival and creating the Japanese Cinema Studies curriculum at Arcadia University. 

Rob is an active member of Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia and serves on the National Strategic Planning Committee of Japanese American Citizens League and Philadelphia Chapter Board. 

Rob also works as a freelance marketing consultant on film projects and other creative endeavors.

 

Dr. Fariha I. KhanDr-Fariha-Khan

Fariha Khan is the Associate Director of the Asian American Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania where she also teaches courses on South Asians in the U.S, Asian American Communities, as well as Muslim Identity in America. She received a Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Her current research focuses on South Asian American Muslims and the Bangladeshi American community. Actively involved in the Philadelphia community, Dr. Khan is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Pan Asian American Community House at Penn and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Folklore Project. She is also a member of the Board for Intercultural Journeys, is a Trustee of the Friends’ Central School, and was appointed in 2015 to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

 

Anuj GuptaAnuj-Gupta

Mr. Anuj Gupta served as Chief Financial Officer of CCL International Limited. Mr. Gupta is employed at Duet Group.

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He joined the group in March 2008. He is the Founder, Member of Investment Committee, and Chief Executive Officer, South Asian Real Estate Fund at Duet Private Equity Limited. He is a Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer at Duet India. Mr. Gupta has also served as a Director of the Desein Group, since 2002, in India. His real estate expertise has been gained from executing real estate and power projects pan India. He has also successfully built and exited businesses operating in business process outsourcing, IT services and aviation services. Mr. Gupta is a member of the Young President Organization. Mr. Gupta graduated with a B.Com. degree from the University of Delhi in 1984 and attended the Harvard President Seminar in 2009.

 

Brad BaldiaBrad-Baldia

Brad Baldia attended The Hill School, a private school in Pottstown, PA. Brad received his BA in English and Biology from Bucknell University and a masters degree in Public Health from Temple University.

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In 1995, Brad served as a White House Intern in the Office of Presidential Personnel. He currently serves as President of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of PA & Southern NJ. Brad works extensively with Asian community organizations on a local and national level, such as the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs and the National Association of Asian American Professionals. Brad is Founding President of the Philadelphia Chapter, was elected in 2006 as Executive Vice President of NAAAP National and served as National President & CEO from 2008-2012.

He serves on various boards including the Multicultural Affairs Congress (Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau), Power Shift and National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) PA. Brad is a member of the FBI Philadelphia Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee. Previously, he served as faculty for the Center for Progressive Leadership – Pennsylvania. Most recently, Brad was appointed to the board of the Library of Congress Asian Division Friends Society, a DOJ Arab/Muslim/Sikh/Asian Working Group and the board of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia.

Mr. Baldia has received numerous awards for his efforts, including the “Unsung Heroes Award” by Keystone Mercy Health Plan and “National Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award” by the National Conference on Community and Justice. In 2002, he was recognized as one of the “Top 30 Most Influential Asians in America Under the Age of 30”. In 2007, Brad was one of fifty individuals citywide that was nominated for the “Spirit of Philadelphia” award by Greater Philadelphia Cares. In July, 2008, Mr. Baldia was named one of Philadelphia’s 101 Top Connectors by LEADERSHIP Philadelphia.

 

Dr. A. Suresh CanagarajahSuresh-Canagarajah

Dr. Suresh Canagarajah was born on the island of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean; he came from a family of teachers.

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He began teaching when he was still in school, which led him to discover his passion for teaching, and to become a professor. He has written a multitude of articles and books, some exploring the issues surrounding non-native English speakers. He has also received many notable awards such as the Feliks Gross Endowment Award for the outstanding junior faculty in the CUNY system, as well as the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship. Dr. Suresh has also been the editor of TESOL Quarterly, a professor at Baruch College, and a staff worker with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in the New York Metro region. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Kelaniya, a Master’s degree in English from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and finally his Ph. D in Applied Linguistics from the University of Texas.

 

Dr. Shuhua FanShuhua-Fan

Dr. Fan has made remarkable contributions to global education at The University of Scranton since her arrival in 2009.

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Her academic credentials reveal her expertise in this area.  She received BA in History, with distinction, from Sichuan Normal University, China and an MA in Modern World History with focus on US-China relations from Jilin University China.  She earned an MA and PhD in Global History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   Before joining the University of Scranton she was Assistant Professor, and Coordinator of the Asian Studies Program at Marshall University. 

Dr. Fan teaches the required survey courses in her department and she has also developed a series of important new courses focusing on Asia.  These include:  Modern East Asia, History of Modern China, Women in Modern China, and History of Modern Japan.  She is currently working on a Study Abroad course linked to her alma mater – Sichuan Normal University.

She has authored two books, the most recent entitled Cultural Engineering: The Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Remaking of the Humanities in China, 1924-1952 was published in 2014.   She is also working on her three other book projects.   She has also published over 15 papers, done 8 translations, and over 20 scholarly presentations.

Dr. Fan provides important service to many projects related to global education.  Two of these include her service on the Steering Committee for Asian Studies Program, and her role as main founder and Principal for the Scranton Chinese School.

 

Naimah HaresNaimah-Hares

Naimah Hares is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she was part of the Undergraduate Advisory Board for the South Asia Studies Department.

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She is currently conducting research on the migratory settlement patterns on the Bangladeshi Community in West Philadelphia.

 

Amy J. HeverAmy-Hever

Amy Hever served as the Senior Advancement Officer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., where she oversaw fundraising and capital campaign efforts for the Asian Pacific American Center.

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Prior to the Smithsonian, Amy Hever was the Executive Director at the acclaimed Schoolhouse Children’s Museum in Boynton Beach, FL, and has worked with such revered organizations as the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Catholic Charities, The Scripps Research Institute, and the American Red Cross. She holds a degree in History and East Asian Studies from Binghamton University. She currently works with the Sixers Youth Foundation as Executive Director.

 

Pearl Kim, Esq.Pearl-Kim

Pearl Kim currently works as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the District Attorney, Delaware County, PA in the Special Victims and Domestic Violence Division.

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As a special victim’s unit prosecutor, Ms. Kim handles Protection from Abuse matters, child physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, and Internet Crimes Against Children cases. In an effort to more effectively reach out to underrepresented communities, she was designated the Asian Outreach Liaison and has been cross deputized as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Montgomery County, PA.

Ms. Kim was appointed to serve on the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking and to report back to the PA Senate any recommendations for changes in state law, policies, and procedures. She secured the first trafficking of person’s conviction under Pennsylvania’s trafficking statute and was a faculty member for the 2012 Institute on the Prosecution of Human Trafficking. She has spoken at several national conferences on issues relating to human trafficking and sexual violence.

In 2012, Ms. Kim was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Board of Directors for the Pearl S. Buck International, and is on the leadership board for the Villanova Law Minority Alumni Society.

Ms. Kim obtained her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law where she was the recipient of the Villanova Achievement Scholarship, and received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. The Legal Intelligencer has recognized Ms. Kim as one of the 2011 Lawyers on the Fast Track, as one of 2011 Diverse Attorneys of the Year, and as one of the 2012 Women of the Year.

 

Dr. Helene K. LeeHelene-Lee

Helene Lee’s areas of interest are in immigration/migration, racial/ethnic identities, globalization and transnationalism.

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Her research focuses on return migration projects back to the ancestral homeland, motivated by the search for “home” and a sense of belonging by members of the diaspora, particularly within the Korean context. She is currently at work on a book manuscript, which explores how the economic, political and social lives of Korean Americans and Korean Chinese migrants are shaped by ideas of ethnic authenticity and hybridity in Seoul, South Korea.

 

Hani WhiteHani-White

Hani White is an Economic Development professional with more than 10 years’ experience in Asset Building, Business Development, and Nonprofit Management.

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She has expertise in Immigrant and Refugee populations. She is currently serving as the Deputy Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for the City of Philadelphia.

 

Carol WongCarol Wong

Carol Wong is the director/owner of the Chinatown Learning Center in Philadelphia, a bilingual preschool and school age program that she started over 23 years ago.

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She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Penn State University and a Master’s Degree from West Chester University. Carol enjoys working with children and youth to help them reach their potential. Teaching, mentoring, and volunteering have been important to her and very rewarding. Carol is a very active board member in organizations such as:
the Philadelphia SUNS (youth athletic & lion dancing group), PCDC (Phila. Chinatown Dev. Corp.), Asian American Women’s Coalition, On Lok Senior Citizen housing, Nat’l Assoc. for Asian American Professionals (NAAAP_Philly), Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Phila., and several educational advisory boards. She is the proud mother of 2 daughters and spends her free time with family and friends and enjoys traveling. Carol is looking forward to working with her fellow Commissioners to help others in PA.

 

Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esq.Kay-Kyungsun

Kay Kyungsun Yu leads the Litigation and Employment & Labor Groups of Ahmad Zaffarese LLC.

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Her practice focuses on complex civil litigation, employment matters, including ERISA claims, general commercial actions, and representation of public employers in Act 111 interest arbitration. Understanding that people are at their best when they feel empowered, valued, and connected, Kay helps employers navigate civil rights, employment discrimination, and constitutional law to foster positive workplace relationships to efficiently resolve conflict and increase productivity. She has represented clients in matters involving Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act, and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance.
Kay has also represented companies in single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff litigation, as well as class actions, involving traditional pension plans, cash balance plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, and various welfare plans including long-term disability, short-term disability, life insurance, health, and severance plans. Her experience includes representing insurers and service providers in litigation involving claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law claims involving individual disability income policies. Kay has counseled clients on such issues as fiduciary obligations, interpretation of plan terms, standards of review, standing, preemption, misrepresentation, contingent workers, discrimination / interference with benefit rights under ERISA § 510, and COBRA continuation health coverage.
Prior to joining Ahmad Zaffarese LLC, Mayor Michael A. Nutter appointed Kay to serve as the Chairperson of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the local agency charged with authority to enforce the City’s civil rights and anti-discrimination laws. Under her leadership, the PCHR convened 11 public hearings in 2010 to hear from the community on issues relating to intergroup tensions and violence in the City’s public schools. “Widening the Circle of Our Concern: Public Perceptions of the School District of Philadelphia’s Response to Intergroup Conflicts,” the report that presented the findings and recommendations from the public hearings, was published in March 2011. During the same period of time, partnering with the Mayor’s Office and City Council, Kay worked to overhaul, update and restate the City’s civil rights law. While the Fair Practices Ordinance had been amended in a piecemeal fashion from time to time since it was enacted in 1963, it had not been reworked in this fashion in nearly 60 years. Kay served as the Chair of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations from March 2009 until January 2013.
Before her service with the Commission, Kay was a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP from 2004 to 2009, and an attorney at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP from 1999 to 2004.
An avid marathoner, Kay has completed 30 marathons including 10 Boston Marathons, 6 ultra-marathons, and 5 IronMan-distance triathlons.

 

Wen Qin ZhangWen Qin Zhang

Wen’s interest in community engagement, government and policy led to his appointment by Governor Tom Wolf to serve as a commissioner on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

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His expertise in planning and developing allows him to promote business, cultural, and social initiatives in the Asian American communities in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Currently, Wen serves as the President of the Philadelphia Fujian Hoyu Chinese American Association and the Pennsylvania Fujian Economic and Cultural Exchange Association where he works to expand and promote Chinese culture. In June of 2007, Governor Edward G. Rendell appointed Wen as a member of the Pennsylvania Travel and Tourism Partnership.

 

Contact Us

For more information about the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, please contact:

Tiffany Chang Lawson, Executive Director
508 E Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
717.787.5825