Prepared Remarks of AEF President Minsuk Han at the 2019 AEF Benefit Dinner on March 7, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 AEF Benefit Dinner.  It is my privilege to give you opening remarks on this special day.  AEF, Asian Pacific American Bar Association Education Fund, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in 1993 by our sister organization, APABA-DC, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area, to engage in charitable and educational activities.  AEF’s mission is to serve the APA community by bringing together law students and attorneys in the area through year-long educational programming and empowering law students committed to public interest through our summer fellowships and grants.

AEF’s endowment was first established in 2001 with a seed amount of $25,000.  The 2001 AEF Board aimed to build a permanent legacy onto which future Board could add, and from which future law students could benefit, that was insulated from the result of any single year’s fundraising efforts. AEF’s endowment has grown steadily since.  By 2007, the endowment was tripled to over $80,000.  By AEF’s 15th anniversary benefit dinner, the endowment nearly doubled to over $150,000.  After today’s benefit dinner, marking the close of 25th academic year since the foundation of AEF, our endowment will grow to approximately $400,000 thanks to your generous donations.

The AEF endowment funds our two fellowship programs (Robert E. Wone Fellowship and AEF Fellowships).  And a continued growth of our endowment will enable future boards to expand grant program or fund a full-time semester-long fellowship at a public interest organization serving the local APA community.

We are thankful for the strong legacy we inherited from the 25 AEF Boards that came before us.  This year, we have established AEF Director Network, connecting more than 100 former directors of AEF, all of whom have been strong leaders of our community.  We are honored that so many of you joined us tonight:  Carol Wong, Benjamin Huh, Lyric Chen, Christopher Ma, Rukku Singla, Candice Wong, Frederick Liu, and A.J. Sutton.  Jessie Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who could not join us tonight due to schedule conflict, also served on the AEF Board from 2005 to 2007.

Since foundation, AEF has granted nearly $300,000 in fellowships and grants.  Our public interest fellows from the last 25 years have gone on to make great achievements.  This year, we have established AEF Fellow Network, connecting more than 70 former AEF fellows.  Many of whom are present here tonight:  Mariju Bofill of State Department, who was 1999 fellow, Candice Wong of Department of Justice, who was 2006 fellow, and Madeline Dang of U.S. Senate Counsel’s Office, who was 2014 fellow.  Some of the last year’s fellows joined us here tonight:  Stacy Ham of Georgetown Law, who summered at Maryland Office of the Public Defender, and Junqi Zhang also of Georgetown Law summered at APALRC, Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center.

I’m particularly pleased that Mariju joined us tonight.  In 1999, when she was a student at American University Washington College of Law, Mariju was awarded AEF’s Norman Y. Mineta Fellowship for her summer work as a coordinator for the APALRC.  After graduation, she joined the State Department and is working as a Foreign Service Officer.  She was awarded the State Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award in 2011 for her leadership in the State Department’s Asian American Foreign Affairs Association.  In 2017, she was recognized by the American Foreign Service Association for her being the first AAPI leader to bring to the Department Secretary’s attention the issue of security preclusions disproportionately affecting AAPI Foreign Service Officers.

AEF’s Robert E. Wone Judicial Clerkship and Internship Conference, which is held every fall, is made possible by so many federal, state, and administrative judges who are willing to take time to encourage minority law students to apply for judicial clerkships.  Thank you for joining us tonight, Judge Handy of District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings, Judge Chuang of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and Magistrate Judge Arthur of Superior Court for the District of Columbia.  I also want to thank Delegate Mark Keam from Virginia House of Delegates and Solicitor General of the District of Columbia Loren AliKhan for joining us.

We have a great program tonight.  We will hear from our keynote speaker Michael Wu, General Counsel of Carters, Inc., about his philosophy and thoughts on giving forward, and we will honor the recipient of 2019 AEF Community Service Award, Jacinta Ma of National Immigration Forum.

Finally, I thank all of our sponsors, especially my firm and gold sponsor, Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick, P.L.L.C. for supporting me and AEF last two years and joining us tonight to celebrate the 2019 AEF Benefiter.  I’d like to thank our gold sponsor, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP for your continued support of AEF.  Our silver sponsors, Edgeworth Economics, L.L.C.; Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.; Fish & Richardson P.C.; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Groom Law Group; Kelley Drye & Warren LLP; Linklaters LLP; Marriott International, Inc.; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Ropes & Gray LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP; Veritext Legal Solutions; and Williams & Connolly LLP.  

The full list of dinner sponsors is included in our program.

We will resume after dinner service.  Please enjoy.  Thank you very much.