May 20: Expanding Opportunity for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Webinar with the White House Initiative on AAPIs

by | May 16, 2014 | Webinar Series | 0 comments

For whom:   Private citizens, community leaders, business owners, students, heads of households.

What:   Free webinar / educational

When:  May 20, 2014, 3:00 – 4:15 PM Eastern Time

Ready to register?  click here ->

On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Executive Order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative). The Initiative, chaired by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja, is housed within the U.S. Department of Education.  The Initiative works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs where they remain underserved.

The Executive Order also established the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the Federal Interagency Working Group. In April 2014, President Obama announced his intent to appoint Bill Imada (founder and CEO, IWGRoup and NAAAP Senior Advisor) to the Commission!  Working in conjunction, the Commission and Federal Interagency Working Group are comprised of individuals, executive branch departments, agencies, and offices representing a broad spectrum of fields and programs impacting Asian Americans and Pacific Islander communities.

Find out where the staff and Commissioners will hold community forums this summer (2014)
and learn how you can play a role in voicing your community’s interests.

3:00-3:10   Introductions, Moderator: Cyndy Yu Robinson, NAAAP National Chief Programs Officer
3:10-3:30 – Jason Tengco, Senior Advisor: WHIAAPI overview/community engagement
3:30-3:45 – Chris Harley, Senior Policy Advisor: health/workforce diversity
3:45-4:00 – Akil Vohra (tentative), Senior Advisor: education
4:00-4:15 – Q&A


Our esteemed panelists

Jason Tengco is a Senior Advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). In this capacity, Jason leads community engagement for the Initiative, which entails organizing regional convenings and community briefings, overseeing AAPI youth outreach, and soliciting input from leaders on ways to increase participation in federal programs. Prior to this, Jason served as the Initiative’s liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement from 2012-2013.

Previously, Jason was an Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Fellow in the Office of Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA). His issue areas included AAPI affairs, homeland security, and immigration, and he also served as the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) taskforce staff lead on immigration and appropriations. Prior to his fellowship in Congress, Jason worked for the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), where he helped organize APALA’s largest national convention and created APALA’s Young Leaders Council.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason graduated from UCLA with Honors with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Public Affairs. Throughout his career, Jason has participated in numerous fellowships, including with the New Leaders Council, Center for Progressive Leadership, and Public Policy and International Affairs Program.


Christine Soyong Harley serves as a Senior Policy Advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In this capacity, Chris leads WHIAAPI’s health policy, workforce diversity, Hmong farmer, and healthy salons interagency working groups. Chris has extensive program and policy advocacy experience having worked in the non-profit and state government sectors on issues of health care, immigrant rights, and economic justice for over 10 years. Prior to joining the Initiative, Chris played a leadership role in the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization’s Washington, DC office to implement administrative, legislative and political advocacy strategies to improve the quality of health for medically underserved AA&NHOPI communities. Chris was also previously the Policy and Programs Director for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum overseeing its advocacy efforts and programs. Before entering the national advocacy arena, Chris worked at the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and was oversaw the implementation of many of DHS’ “Open Door” and immigrant integration initiatives for AA&NHOPIs, immigrants, and other low-income and underserved individuals with disabilities.

Chris received her B.A. from Oberlin College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She was named a Future Leader in 2009 by the Overseas Korea Foundation and received a 2011 Unsung Hero award from Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. In 2012-2013, Chris was a Fellow in the Center for American Progress Leadership Institute.


Akil Vohra serves as Senior Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. At the Initiative, Akil supervises the following areas: education, the bullying prevention campaign, AAPI data issues, improving efforts of AAPI representation in federal government, and works directly with the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. Prior to the Initiative, Akil was Counsel at Muslim Advocates where he focused on anti-terrorism financing, strengthening the nonprofit sector, and civil rights and civil liberties issues. Previously, he practiced international trade and customs law in Washington D.C.

He is currently an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow, which is an Edmond de Rothschild Foundation initiative in partnership with the Columbia Business School and the University of Cambridge. Akil has previously served on the board of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington D.C., and the Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers.

He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Irvine, and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School where he received the Michael Dillon Cooley Award for service to the law school community. He has also completed a program in international human rights and immigration at Oxford University (U.K.).