President Bush Honors Asian Pacific Americans

By Michael Jay Friedman
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - President Bush praised the 14 million Americans claiming ancestry from the Asian Pacific region for demonstrating that "the American dream is within reach for all who study hard and persevere."

The president spoke at a May 12 ceremony marking Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.  Bush also awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Awards to five Asian Americans who exemplify the nation's tradition of service, citizenship and responsibility.


Bush hailed "the commitment to educational excellence" displayed by many Americans of Asian Pacific heritage.  He also commended the group's record of entrepreneurial innovation.  Their achievements have created more jobs and greater opportunities for all Americans, the president said.

Bush announced the renewal of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders.  Established in 2004, the commission advises the president on ways to improve level of Asian American economic participation in the national economy

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 50 percent of Asian Americans age 25 or older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, the highest proportion of any ethnic group in the nation, and a rate nearly double that of all Americans. Some 19 percent of Asian Americans age 25 and above hold an advanced university degree versus 9 percent of the general U.S. population.


The president bestowed the President’s Volunteer Service Award on five Americans:

• Sister Theresa Pham is provincial superior for the Vietnamese Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province in Houston, Texas. The convent housed and fed Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

• Virginia Ganzon-Sturwold tutors third- and fourth-grade students at Francis Scott Key Elementary School in San Francisco through Experience Corps, a nonprofit organization for senior citizens.

• Dotty Eng assists veterans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington. She volunteers through Gold Star Wives of America, a congressionally-chartered organization that serves spouses of the nation's war dead.

• Ravi Sankar tutors needy students in the Orlando, Florida, area for their college entrance exams teaching math at the Chinmaya Mission of Central Florida.

• Salvation Army executive Durai Pandithurai helps Cedar Hill, Texas families prepare their tax returns and create personal financial plans.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono attended the ceremony, as did the two Asian Pacific Americans serving in Bush's Cabinet: Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta.

More information about the President's Volunteer Service Award can be found at the program's Web site.

A transcript of the president's remarks is available on the USINFO Web site.