November 17, 2023

Volume 3, Issue 23 

Dear Friends,

During this season of gratitude, we thank you for your enduring support. As we approach Giving Tuesday on November 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, we are asking for your help to continue supporting teachers and students. With mandates to teach ethnic studies and often without firsthand knowledge of cultural nuances and complex histories, we have a monumental opportunity to help educators by making available educational materials, like our Teachers Workshops, which we create and curate specifically for teachers. Please make your tax-deductible donation here. Your donation will be matched and no amount is too small. Thank you!

Prior to the bilateral summit between the U.S. President and China’s President on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco this past week, the 1990 Institute signed an open letter to President Biden and President Xi encouraging the continuation of diplomacy and cooperation between Washington and Beijing. The letter, organized by a Washington-based think tank, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, was signed by 34 groups. The 1990 Institute believes that collaboration and cooperation between the U.S. and China is key to reducing anti-Asian American racism, increasing research and economic opportunities for the U.S., and improving climate and tech solutions that benefit the global community.

See Spotlight below for details and more information on what’s new at the 1990 Institute. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe.

We hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends over the Thanksgiving break!


Leading up to Giving Tuesday on November 28 is the perfect time to show your support for educators and the next generation of students. Join Board member Lisa Hsu and make your tax-deductible donation here. Thank you!


How can the festival of lights bring us together with hope and belonging?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

As we wind up the Diwali season and head towards Thanksgiving, I have been thinking a lot about Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore, a children’s picture book about a girl who misses her grandmother in India and is anxious to celebrate her first Diwali in her new Canadian home. But how do you celebrate a warm outdoor holiday when a massive ice storm hits and the power goes out? 

Her mother calmly lights the oil lamps in the darkness and her new friends find their way to her. 

When I lived in Kathmandu, I loved lighting the trail of diya oil lamps that wound through my house, making garlands of marigolds, swinging on homemade country swings suspended from giant bamboo poles, and going about the city in the evenings to see the many light displays that people created in the streets and around neighborhood temples. 

Diwali (also called Divali, Deepawali, Tihar, Bandi Chhor Divas, and The Festival of Lights) is a harvest festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, America, Canada, and more. Like Thanksgiving, it is a time for feasting, family, fireworks, giving thanks, and celebrating the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness. 

“Diwali is a joyous holiday honoring the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil, and a reminder that hope will overcome despair,” Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28) said. “On this bright occasion, may we come together to celebrate our community that is aglow with diversity and strength.”

Hope, even with all the things going on in the world, and a call to action. 

“I want to wish a Happy Diwali to all the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others celebrating this festival of thanks and reflection on the triumph of light over darkness, and of good over evil,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) said. “May the light of the Diya lamps shine within us all as a source of healing and renewal, and remind us of what we can be as a people and a nation.” 

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in San Francisco, meeting across boundaries and working to get both countries back on a “normal course.” Board members from the 1990 Institute were there too, participating in events and volunteering at APEC, offering light and help for both countries to find a path towards a continuing and constructive relationship.



(Left to right) 1990 Institute Corporate Secretary Sandra Pan, Chair Grace Yu, Board member Lisa Hsu, and intern Ziyan Miller attended the APEC dinner honoring Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, in San Francisco on November 15, 2023. See Spotlight below for more APEC news.


Curated News

What to know about Diwali, the Festival of Lights| CNN  More than a billion Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists around the world are celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.

Biden pushes for stable U.S. relationship with China during summit with Xi | PBS NewsHour  President Biden met face-to-face with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. They announced agreements on military communication and a crackdown on the Chinese chemicals used to make fentanyl, but the goal was less about breakthroughs and more about stabilizing a troubled relationship. Here is what President Xi had to say after the meeting, and here is what President Biden had to say afterwards. 

Farmers, academics, advocates urge Biden, Xi to calm US-China tensions | The Hill  In an open letter, which the 1990 Institute co-signed, professional groups call for Biden and Xi to commit to “the sustained reduction of dangerous frictions in bilateral relations, and to energetic Sino-American cooperation on issues central to the preservation of the planet, peace, and prosperity.”

Politicians' anti-China language prompted anti-Asian violence, battleground voters say in new poll | NBC News  The results show that voters “see through the scapegoating,” said EunSook Lee, director of the National AAPI Power Fund, which conducted the poll.

What's behind the rise in undocumented Indian immigrants crossing U.S. borders on foot | NBC News  Over the past year, there were almost 97,000 encounters with Indian migrants in the U.S. It marks nearly a fivefold increase from the same period from 2019 to 2020, when there were almost 20,000.

For Muslim Americans, a spike in hate incidents feels reminiscent of post 9/11 Islamophobia | NBC News  The Council on American-Islamic Relations received 774 reports of bias incidents and requests for help across the U.S. from October 7 to 24, a 182% jump from the average 16-day period in 2022.

China's matchmaking mums have a powerful ally: The Party | BBC  Bureaucrats have been mobilized to incentivize young people to get married and for couples to stay married and have children.

California Counts | USC US-China Institute  California plays an outsized role in the multidimensional U.S.-China relationship.

Oklahoma governor says China is buying up the state’s farmland. The data he cites points to other countries | Investigate Midwest  The growth in foreign-owned land in Oklahoma has little to do with Chinese companies, according to records from the United States Department of Agriculture. Instead, it’s almost entirely from companies in Canada and Europe that bought or leased land to build wind and solar farms.

Mental health in Mandarin Chinese: a starter kit for dialogue | LA Times  The intersection of mental health and language is personal. Bilingual therapists say translating English mental health terms into Mandarin is challenging. Mandarin-speaking mental health professionals, academics, translators and community members provide words that often lead to cross-cultural misunderstandings as well as language useful to help open up dialogue.

How 'Quiz Lady' uses comedy to illustrate immigrant traumas | NBC News  The comedy, starring Awkwafina and Sandra Oh, allows Asian Americans and those from immigrant communities the rare opportunity to laugh at their traumas.


We’re spotlighting the important work of journalists on New Asian American Voices in conjunction with our recent Teachers Workshop called “Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines.” Look for the link to the recording of the November 15 event in our next issue.



  • SUPPORT THE 1990 INSTITUTE FOR GIVING TUESDAY – We are now in a very precarious and critical time in history. What can we do to create “preventative medicine for humanity”? Focus on education, which fosters understanding, breaks down stereotypes, and builds bridges. We’ve heard from many participants that there is a strong need for Teachers Workshops from the 1990 Institute. In today’s global community, trusted, fact-based resources are extremely important and the 1990 Institute has been providing hands-on workshops for teachers with speakers from top universities and renowned organizations for over a decade. Please donate what you can so we can continue creating and providing much needed resources for educators. Thank you.
  • 1990 INSTITUTE LEADERSHIP ATTENDED 2023 APEC EVENTS IN SAN FRANCISCO – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an economic forum with 21 member economies. The APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, with the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for Al,” convened world leaders in San Francisco on November 11 to 17. Several key members of our leadership team attended events, including our Chair, both Vice Chairs, and Secretary, in addition to Executive Committee and Board members. These events included the November 15 reception with China’s president Xi Jinping co-hosted by the U.S.-China Business Council and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations; the APEC CEO Summit; a meeting with fellows from the nonprofit Global Women Asia; a program from the nonprofit GlobalSF; a Women, Peace, and Security meeting; and side events related to climate.
  • LEARN ABOUT ASIAN AMERICAN JOURNALISTS ON NEW ASIAN AMERICAN VOICES – We are featuring trailblazing journalists this month on New Asian American Voices and highlighting how journalism sheds light on complex topics. Both Connie Chung and Ken Kashiwahara were among the first Asian Americans to appear on national news broadcasts. And journalist Michelle Li went on to co-found the Very Asian Foundation after receiving a racist message from a viewer objecting to her mention of dumplings on air. Learn more about these changemakers and others by visiting New Asian American Voices, and keep an eye out for the recording of our November 15 Teachers Workshop. We had a great turnout for “Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines” which covered a thought-provoking topic – the complexities of news reporting in the context of U.S.-China relations and the moral standards and principles that journalists follow in their reporting.
  • 1990 INSTITUTE ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBER SUSAN SHIRK WINS A LITERARY AWARD  – Congratulations to Susan Shirk for winning a 2023 Arthur Ross Book Award given by the Council on Foreign Relations. Susan, one of our esteemed Advisory Council members, is the Chair of the 21st Century China Center and a research professor at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. Her book, “Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise," was recognized for an “outstanding contribution to the understanding of foreign policy or international relations.” Learn about our Advisory Council here.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


1990 Institute
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