On September 27, 2003 the Grace Heritage presented the very first annual US-Asean Film, Video and Photography Festival at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington D.C.
The evening’s gala dinner was quite successful. There were over 400 guests in attendance and among the VIPs were Ambassador Soemadi Brotodiningrat from Indonesia, Ambassador Chan Heng-Chee from Singapore and Ambassador Nguyen Tam Chien from Vietnam.
Mil Arcega from NBC News4 Today and also co-anchor of the Weekend Edition was the MC for the evening. The dinner was also enlivened by cultural dance performances from Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
USINDO was an endorsing organization for the event and assisted in the planning and distributing invitations to Society members in the US. The Grace Heritage is a new face in the non-profit organization community in Washington DC. It was founded by two young Indonesians, Karina Sudyatmiko, a freelance photographer and Jasmine Wibisono, a correspondent for a leading Indonesian newspaper, Suara Pembaruan. They realized that there was a need for an organization in the United States that promotes specifically the cultures of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries. “We want to improve the image of ASEAN countries, which have been tarnished recently by the Bali bomb blast, as well as the announcement that Thailand is yet another country in the region to be infiltrated by a terrorist network,” Karina said in a January interview with the Indonesian leading English daily, The Jakarta Post. “We want to actively participate in restoring the region’s cultural wealth through the festival. Only when we continue to promote its culture through the creative lens of young and talented individuals that the world will treasure Southeast Asia in this difficult time.”
In addition the organization’s objective is also to provide a venue for individuals of Southeast Asian descent to showcase their talents in film and photography and to encourage people of all nationalities to explore Southeast Asian cultures and heritage.
More information on the organization is available on their website: www.thegraceheritage.org