Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog

  • Register for the White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

    Please join us for the White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on May 12, 2015, at The George Washington University in Washington, DC! Register today!

    Held during Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, this Summit will be an unprecedented and historic all-day convening of senior federal officials and leaders from across the country. The day will include conversations with federal officials and AAPI leaders, artistic presentations by distinguished AAPI artists, and interactive sessions on diverse issues including economic growth, education, healthcare, civil rights, and immigration. The Summit will celebrate President Obama’s leadership, showcase Administration policies and programs that have supported the AAPI community and others over the past six years, and outline efforts for the next two years and decades to come.

    As a participant, you will have the opportunity to Connect, Share, and Mobilize:

    1. Connect. Interact with federal and community leaders from across the country working on diverse issues to advance the AAPI community.

    2. Share. Discuss your own experiences, stories, and priorities with leaders and other participants.

    3. Mobilize. Gain tools to mobilize your communities to expand opportunity for AAPIs everywhere.

    Your participation in the Summit will be vital as we continue our work together to improve the quality of life for AAPIs. 

    The Summit is free of charge and open to the public.

    Questions? Email Click here for more information on the Summit.

  • Recap: 2015 National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout

    Watch on YouTube

    On February 25, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders held its second National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community Google+ Hangout. I was joined by Aditi Hardikar, Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement; Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center; and Billy Dec, member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.

    During the Hangout, Konrad shared the AAPI Heritage Month theme, #APAEverywhere, and we also highlighted the White House Summit on AAPIs on May 12 and our new Federal Agency Accomplishments Report.

  • Calling All Students: Apply for the Summer 2015 White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Internship Program


    As America’s population becomes increasingly diverse, it is important to have this diversity reflected in the federal workforce. Although Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) comprise 6 percent of the U.S. population, they make up only 3 percent of the Senior Executive Service (SES), the highest ranks of federal government.

    As part of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ work to strengthen federal workforce diversity, we want to highlight federal internship opportunities. We hope to usher more students into public service to ensure diverse voices are represented in the federal government, and the needs of the AAPI community are reflected in its’ programs and policies.

    At the Initiative, we are currently seeking full-time summer student interns in Washington, D.C., and Seattle, WA. The Initiative is responsible for the implementation of the President's Executive Order 13515, which includes coordinating executive branch efforts to improve the quality of life of underserved AAPIs through increased participation in federal programs. 

  • Celebrating Lunar New Year at the White House

    Yesterday evening, we hosted the first-ever Lunar New Year celebration at the White House. Members of Asian American and Pacific Islander community from across the country joined together to ring in the first day of the Lunar New Year with keynotes from Administration officials, a discussion with diverse AAPI leaders, and three lively cultural performances. President Obama also sent his greetings by video message.

    Traditional Chinese Lion Dance, performed by the Wong People Association

    Traditional Chinese Lion Dance, performed by the Wong People Association.

  • President Obama Sends Warm Wishes for the Lunar New Year

    Today, the White House released a video message from President Obama welcoming the Lunar New Year:

    Watch on YouTube

    Echoing the President’s message, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs send our best wishes to all those celebrating the Lunar New Year.

  • Engaging in Robust Dialogue on Diverse Issues Affecting Utah's AAPI Communities

    AAPI Utah

    Jake Fitisemanu, Jr. from the Utah Department of Health introduces federal representatives to Utah's AAPI community during an Affordable Care Act enrollment event, January 30, 2015. (Photo by Paul Chang)

    With rich diversity, history, and the strength of unity, Utah’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community came together on January 31, 2015 for a series of roundtable discussions with federal representatives on health, immigration, small business opportunities, education, and civil rights.

    With topics as diverse as the community itself, the issues raised by more than 90 community leaders offered immense insight to Utah’s AAPI community needs and the grassroots strategies that will be needed to address them. Therefore it should not be incumbent upon the community to look for the right government agencies to address these issues. The White House Initiative on AAPIs (WHIAAPI)’ Regional Interagency Working Group (RIWG) was formed for this very purpose. The RIWG, comprised of federal officials located across the country, is committed to engaging local communities and connecting them to federal resources, with the goal of creating “no wrong doors” approaches to government services.

    Robust discussions led by community leaders at the roundtables gave the topics breadth and depth. RIWG members listened and discussed the various resources available within their agencies. Community members at each table presented their perspectives on issues, such as language access for government services, bullying, health services, business and economic development, access to educational opportunities, disaggregated data, and immigration. Based on these conversations, RIWG members will coordinate strategic follow-ups to address the needs.

    AAPI Salt Lake City

    Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders engage in active dialogue with federal representatives on the issues affecting the community in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 31, 2015. (Picture by Paul Chang)

    Preceding the roundtable discussions, on January 30, 2015, WHIAAPI convened an Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment event in Salt Lake City’s Sorenson Unity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Utah Department of Health, National Togan American Society, and Take Care Utah provided extensive outreach to nearly 100 members from the AAPI communities on signing up for affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Navigators and certified application counselors gave seminars and were on hand to help facilitate on-site enrollment.

    The enrollment event was something for the whole family. It drew families from all walks of life from the richly diverse communities of Salt Lake City. It was a place where the community from every background could sit down, share a meal, and talk with federal representatives about general and mental health issues and the options available for them. While the adults listened to the informational sessions on the Affordable Care Act and Utah’s Health Insurance Marketplace, children enjoyed a movie. This event reemphasized that having quality affordable health coverage affects the entire family.


    Paul Chang is a Regional Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.