Front Page

Uma Thurman and
dad Robert Thurman

Nermeen Shaikh and
Richard Holbrook

Sant S. Chatwal and wife Landa

Sangay Rinchen and
Sebastian Beckwith

Peter Gelb and
wife Keri-Lynn Wilson

Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury and
wife Nicole

Ambassador Baatar Choisuren and
wife Enkhjargal Bekhochir

Martin Sullivan with David and
Landa Yeung

David Rubenstein

Uma Thurman And Dad
Add Glamor To Dinner

Text and Photos by Tim Boxer

HERE she stood, Uma Thurman, all six feet of her, towering over a throng of titans of the corporate world as the Asia Society concluded a year celebrating its 50th anniversary with a festive dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Chairman Richard C. Holbrooke mentioned that Uma is the daughter of the first American to be made a Tibetan monk. Her father, Richard Thurman, is one of the foremost Buddhist scholars in the country.

The 36-year-old Uma Karuna Thurman, currently filming Accidental Husband in New York, said she was very grateful for her multicultural upbringing which has enriched her life with "a lifelong affection for Asia."

Ambassador Holbrooke announced that the black-tie benefit raised $1.6 million for the Asia Society’s mission to encourage Americans to engage the Asia Pacific world on multiple levels.

That brought applause from an elite audience that included Sant S. Chatwal, president/CEOI of Hampshire Hotels; Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein; Coca-Cola chairman/CEO E. Neville Isdell; Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein; Martin Sullivan, CEO of AIG; David A. Coulter, vice chairman of JP Morgan Chase; David K. Yeung, president/CEO of AIG; Laurence Cheng, chairman/CEO of Capital Z Investment Partners; Bangladesh Ambassador to UN Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury; Mongolia Ambassador to UN Baatar Choisuren; Bhutan consul general Sangay Rinchen, and Sebastian Beckwith in a traditional Bhutanese robe called gho, whose company, In Pursuit of Tea, is planning to grow tea in Bhutan.

Asia Society president Vishakha N. Desai paid tribute to two business moguls and a cultural icon for their support. She presented awards to Lakshmi N. Mittal, chairman/CEO of Arcelor Mittal Steel Company; Charles O. Prince, chairman/CEO of Citigroup Inc.; and the sensational composer/conductor Tan Dun.

In introducing Prince, AIG chairman/CEO Martin J. Sullivan said that emails from the Citigroup honcho always gets his immediate attention. "There’s nothing more sobering for an Englishman than to get email early in the morning from Prince, Charles."

Peter Gelb, who assumed the office of general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in August, noted that historically the Met "has been as impregnable as the Great Wall of China" in presenting new works.

Tan Dun, a native of Hunan, China, who earned an Academy Award for his film score of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was commissioned by the Met to create a new opera titled The First Emperor. Featuring Placido Domingo in the title role, the opera is premiering on December 21.

"I thank Peter Gelb," Dun said, "for turning the Metropolitan Opera into an Asia Society this month."

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