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2004 Community Service Award Finalists

Nghiep Le

Sharp Health Plan

Originally from Vietnam, Nghiep Le immigrated to the United States in 1975 and opened up his own small business a few years later. He is currently a community relations representative at Sharp Health Plan and the president of the Vietnamese Federation of San Diego.

Upon arrival to the United States, Nghiep quickly became involved in community activities. He was a member of the mayor's Small Business Advisory Board and the City Heights Development Corporation.

Holding a strong commitment to Asian American businesses in the San Diego area, Nghiep was the president of the Indo Chinese Chamber of Commerce and of the Delegates Board for the Vietnamese Federation.

Nghiep is a member of several community and public organizations, including the Asian Business Association, City Heights Business Improvement District, and the Asian Pacific Islanders Alliance. He also serves on the Advisory Board to the District Attorney's office and the Asian Advisory Board to the San Diego chief of police.

George Lin

San Diego Asian Film Foundation

George Lin, a recent transplant from Washington, D.C., is currently the Associate Festival Director for the San Diego Asian Film Foundation and a board member of the San Diego Alliance for Asian Pacific Islander Americans.

George's formal education consists of a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree from George Washington University.

Before moving to San Diego, he was formerly employed as a forensic scientist for the Department of Defense. However, his interests lie in APIA issues, community activism, and the public arts administration ... something he discovered when he became the founding executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit media arts organization Asian Pacific American Film Inc., which organizes the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival.

Although he has only been living in San Diego for less than one and a half years, he has become heavily involved in the San Diego APIA community. This is his second year as the associate festival director where he helps to plan, organize, and coordinate community outreach for the San Diego Asian Film Festival which screens over 150 films and attracts over 10,000 people every year.

As a volunteer and board member for the San Diego Alliance for APIAs, he has spearheaded several community forums including "Gang Violence Forum: Understanding and Preventing Violence in Your Neighborhood" at the University of San Diego and the "Candidate's Forum" at San Diego State University in October of 2004.

Among other duties, he also helped to coordinate the performance showcase for the Alliance's APIA Heritage Festival in Balboa Park and regularly assists with the planning of Alliance's bi-monthly Community Breakfasts.

Andy Low

Asian American Repertory Theatre

Andy Lowe is the producing artistic director and the last remaining original company member of the Asian American Repertory Theatre.

He has been very active in his community involvement, in addition to working as playwright, director, producer, actor and sometimes lighting and scenic designer.

Having co-founded the organization in 1995, Andy has served as producing artistic director since 1997 where he has overseen and produced over 30 full stage productions creating opportunities for countless Asian American actors, designers, technicians and playwrights.

Choosing plays that represent Asian Americans in ways usually not found in Hollywood or other mainstream media, Andy has always strived to challenge the perpetual foreigner/model minority stereotype through his chosen plays.

He has taught acting classes to youth and to aspiring APIA actors, and currently continues this tradition of nurturing a voice for the APIA community with the recent addition of a new monthly program which allows theatre enthusiasts and artist alike the opportunity to experience new plays from unknown Asian American playwrights.

Outside of AART, Andy has served as the director of entertainment for the San Diego Alliance APIA Heritage Month Festival, where he has overseen and coordinated as many as forty different performances in two days, over two stages, ranging from classical dance and traditional music, to modern pop cultural movements in the APIA community.

He has served as a board member for the San Diego Chapter of the Organization of Chinese American's PASACAT Asian Pacific Arts Company, and Art & Soul: Teens Beyond Racism. Currently he is collaborating with Tim Dang of L.A's East West Players on a national committee which will be hosting the first ever National Asian American Theatre Conference to be held in Los Angeles next summer.

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