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The Asia Foundation Honors Dr. David Ho at First Annual Lotus Leadership Awards Luncheon

New York, June 8, 2011 — Philanthropists, diplomats, and women’s supporters gather in New York City

Today, The Asia Foundation and The Lotus Circle honor Dr. David Ho, founding scientific director and CEO of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, for his contributions to the health and well-being of Chinese women and children. Dr. Ho revolutionized the world’s understanding of HIV/AIDS; his groundbreaking research and advocacy catalyzed landmark treatment and prevention programs in China and has saved countless lives.

The inaugural Lotus Leadership Award will be presented today to Dr. Ho at the first annual Lotus Leadership Awards in New York City. The award will be presented by David D. Arnold, president of The Asia Foundation, and Carol Yost, director of the Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Program. Broadcast journalism veteran and author Lynn Sherr, who has reported on women’s issues and social change for thirty years as an ABC News correspondent, hosts the luncheon.

The Asia Foundation is the premier non-profit, non-governmental organization working to promote reform, development, equality, and prosperity in Asia.

The Lotus Circle, a new community of philanthropists working with The Asia Foundation to empower girls and women across Asia, created the award to recognize individuals who have contributed to the well-being of Asian women and society. To date, Lotus Circle members have supported innovative, on-the-ground girls’ and women’s empowerment programs in Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and they plan to expand their work going forward.

“Dr. Ho’s landmark policy work cleared the way for organizations like ours to speak candidly with young Chinese migrant women workers about their health and their rights,” said David D. Arnold, president of The Asia Foundation. Sixty percent of all migrant workers in southern industrialized China are women. Since the late 1990’s, The Asia Foundation has educated more than 900,000 women in over 1,000 factories in more than 22 cities and districts in the Pearl River Delta about personal health, safety, and their legal rights as factory workers. He added, “In fact, we recognize our own values in Dr. Ho: a willingness to utilize and respect local social and political contexts in order to accomplish constructive, lasting reforms.” Mr. Arnold’s remarks at the luncheon may be read here.

“Millions of women in Asia are still at risk,” said Carol Yost. “Our work gives girls and women opportunities to improve their lives and escape vicious cycles of illiteracy, poverty, and ill health. We know that investing in women creates a dramatic multiplier effect of benefits for their families, communities and societies.”

To increase awareness about the need for women’s empowerment, the staff of In Asia, The Asia Foundation’s highly regarded weekly blog featuring critical insight for professionals in development, government, scholars, and the international media, commissioned original, first-person essays by on-the-ground women’s empowerment specialists across the region.

The Lotus Leadership Awards Luncheon was launched, conceived and organized by Lotus Circle Advisors including luncheon co-chairs Gina Lin Chu, Carol Rattray, Missie Rennie, and Masako Shinn.

Learn more and follow updates on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AsiaFoundation and on Twitter at: @Asia_Foundation. Attendees and interested parties can use the #LotusCircle hashtag.

Watch “The Lotus Circle: Tell Her She Can” and “Partnering for Change: Dr. David Ho,” online films created by The Asia Foundation.

Read more about our women’s empowerment program here. For media inquiries, please visit the Press Room.

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