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2022 Washington Leadership Program Session I: The AANHPI Diaspora: Immigration & Intergenerational Experiences

June 8, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This session will focus on the phenomenon of the AANHPI diaspora within the U.S. Topics will include effects of immigration, intergenerational trauma, and how our identity is shaped and informed by these experiences. Key takeaways of the discussion will allow for participants to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the myriad of intergenerational experiences within the AANHPI community, and avenues in which to leverage one’s identity as a tool of empowerment.

Note: All WLP Sessions will be recorded live.


Opening Remarks

Krystal Ka’ai

Krystal Ka‘ai is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In this role, she is responsible for advising the Biden administration on the coordination and implementation of federal programs and initiatives to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. Prior to joining WHIAANHPI, Krystal worked on Capitol Hill for over a decade, including serving as the Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) for eight years. She previously held positions with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the State of Hawai‘i, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. Krystal was born and raised in Hawai‘i and is the first Native Hawaiian to ever lead WHIAANHPI.

Representative Judy Chu 

Judy Chu was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2009.  She represents the 27th Congressional District, which includes Pasadena and the west San Gabriel Valley of southern California. Rep. Chu currently serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and also serves on the House Small Business Committee. In 2009, she became the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in history. 


Shyam R. Gadwal

Shyam R. Gadwal is the Vice-President of Programs at Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Scholars. APIA Scholars is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted to creating opportunities that provide access to higher education and professional success of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) students. Shyam comes to APIA Scholars having spent almost a decade at Teach For America (TFA) on teams leading teacher training and enterprise initiatives. He served on TFA National’s Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Advisory Committee supporting the leadership development of AANHPI staff and teachers. He has consulted and coached leaders around the world at organizations such as Teach For India, Urban Teachers, and Imaginable Futures. In his free time, he enjoys practicing various types of yoga and riding his motorcycle with his childhood best friend.


Dale Asis

Dale Asis has dedicated over 25 years to social justice, philanthropy, and environmental issues. Currently, he is the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), a US nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental justice. Dale also is the founder and President of the Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide, a US-registered public charity dedicated to promoting Filipino diaspora philanthropy worldwide. He also co-founded two coalitions: The Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII) and the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (United Congress). He earned his Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences (MAPSS) degree at the University of Chicago and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also an adjunct professor at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL.




Vanessa Tufaga

Talofa lava and Malo lelei! Vanessa Tufaga (she/her/hers) received her B.A. in Political Science and International Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is honored to say she is a 2021 CAPAL S&I Alumni, who completed an internship with Peace Corps’ Strategic Partnerships & Intergovernmental Affairs office and did her Community Action Project with Papa Ola Lokahi. She helped co-create Nesian Lounge and recently received certifications in Community Organizing, Liberation Theory & Praxis, Cultural Competency and Health Justice from Pacific Islander Community Association Washington (PICA-WA)’s Oceania Leadership Institute (OLI). Currently she holds the position of a Co-Treasurer and Board Member for the Pacific Community of Alaska (PCA) and a Member of the Data & Research Committee for the National Association of Pasifika Organization (NAOPO). Outside of community work, she loves hanging with her family, indulging in Tiktok and cycling on her off time.


Dr. Jesi Lujan Bennett

Dr. Jesi Lujan Bennett is of Chamoru descent with familial ties to Dededo and Barrigada, Guåhan (Guam). She is a faculty member in Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Bennett studied at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and earned a PhD in American Studies and Museum Studies. Her areas of interest include Chamoru visual culture with a particular focus in the relationship between colonialism, militarization, migration, and self-representation within the Mariana Islands and the Chamoru diaspora. Bennett’s research examines the outmigration of Chamorus and the way in which these diasporic communities articulate their indigeneity in new geographic and cultural contexts in light of significant political and social change in Micronesia.

Li Zhou

Li Zhou is a politics reporter at Vox focusing on Congress and the rise of Asian American political power.








June 8, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Categories:
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Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL)