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2014: Year in Review for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

In 2014, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) celebrated its 15th anniversary and five years under President Barack Obama. Here are our top moments.

In 2014, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) celebrated its 15th anniversary and five years under President Barack Obama. It has been a year of many milestones, from helping millions of Americans gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, to giving new hope to immigrant families with the President’s executive actions on immigration. WHIAAPI’s created new opportunities and resources for community-based organizations, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI)-owned businesses, and researchers and policymakers. We’ve connected with communities across the country, in all ten federal regions, including Guam and Hawaii.

WHIAAPI is honored to share with you a number of memorable moments in 2014. Please check out some of our photo and video highlights from the year and tweet your favorites using the hashtag #WHIAAPI.

WHIAAPI's Year in Review

WHIAAPI hosts a Google Hangout in Chinese on the Health Insurance Marketplace as part of its in-language Google Hangout series on the Affordable Care Act, January 23, 2014.

President Obama extends best wishes for the 2014 Lunar New Year, the Year of the Horse. 

President Obama congratulates Japanese American World War II veterans on their Congressional Gold Medal, February 18, 2014.

President Obama announces “My Brother's Keeper,” an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color, February 27, 2014.

WHIAAPI Executive Director Kiran Ahuja facilitates an armchair dialogue with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in front of an audience of over 1,000 students at the 2014 East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference, February 21, 2014. An important part of that discussion is the important role that AANAPISIs play in serving low-income, high need AAPI students. See below for a video on why AANAPISIs are critical to educating students around the country.

Federal officials and community leaders convene in Chicago, Illinois, during a Regional Interagency Working Group Region 5 roundtable to discuss successes and challenges facing AAPIs with the Affordable Care Act, February 11, 2014.

Working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and community-based organizations, we helped AAPIs #GetCovered during AAPI Enrollment Week of Action.

Nearly 200 leaders gather for a White House Briefing for Filipino American Leaders, March 14, 2014.

Federal officials and community leaders convene for the first AAPI Community Roundtable in Atlanta, Georgia, March 18, 2014.

Students at the Ka Waihona o ka Na’auao Public Charter School perform a traditional hula for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during his visit in Nanakuli, Hawaii, where he learned about Native Hawaiian immersion education programs, March 31, 2014.



Dozens of federal officials and Pacific Islander leaders convene for WHIAAPI’s Guam Regional Summit to identify unique challenges Pacific Islanders are facing, April 4, 2014. To ensure follow-up on the recommendations from the Summit, WHIAAPI creates a Pacific Island Task Force, September 12, 2014.



WHIAAPI hosts its first regional roundtable in Los Angeles, California, convening nearly 100 advocates. Sefa Aina, then-Vice Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, introduces WHIAAPI to attendees, April 8, 2014.



Julie Chu, four-time Olympic Medalist of the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey Team, and Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, participate in a women’s armchair conversation at the White House, April 21, 2014.



Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Opening Ceremony, at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., May 6, 2014.



At the AAPI Heritage Month Opening Ceremony, U.S. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan ceremonially swears in 14 new and two returning members of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, May 6, 2014.



For their courage and sacrifice, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez inducts the Chinese Railroad Workers into the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor, May 9, 2014.



Secretary of Education Arne Duncan meets with community leaders from across the country to discuss educational challenges among AAPI students, May 5, 2014. This meeting is part of a series of roundtables hosted by WHIAAPI to foster dialogue between Cabinet Secretaries and community leaders.



Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of WHIAAPI, and Alejandra Castillo, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), sign a Memorandum of Understanding to partner on programs serving AAPI-owned businesses, May 29, 2014.



Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, President Barack Obama delivers remarks as First Lady Michelle Obama, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark Updegrove, listen at right at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014.



WHIAAPI announces a new Grants and Resources website dedicated to providing tools and resources to inform AAPI community-based organizations about federal opportunities, June 30, 2014. As part of WHIAAPI’s capacity building efforts, WHIAAPI launches a series of technical assistance trainings across the country, starting in Hawaii, September 2014.



Participants engage in a Deferred Acton for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) presentation in Houston, Texas, July 25, 2014. WHIAAPI also holds DACA roundtables in Chicago, Illinois, and Fairfax, Virginia.



More than 100 young AAPI leaders gather for the White House AAPI Youth Forum with the East Coast Asian American Student Union. July 17, 2014. At the Youth Forum, WHIAAPI launches the E3! Ambassadors program for young leaders to educate, engage, and empower their communities.



In partnership with, WHIAAPI launches, the most comprehensive hub of government data on AAPIs, September 30, 2014.


Twenty-four federal staff members were selected from 180 applicants to comprise the 2014-2015 cohort of the FAPAC Challenge Teams, a leadership development experience in finding solutions for WHIAAPI’s cross-cutting issue areas.



U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks at the Diwali Celebration at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., October 23, 2014. 



As part of the WHIAAPI Young Leaders Dialogue on Education Google Hangout, students at Johns Hopkins University pose with their photo campaign about the importance of education, October 30, 2014.


WHIAAPI launches the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force, November 18, 2014. Hines Ward, retired NFL wide receiver and former member of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, shares his story on bullying.

Business leaders convene at the White House to discuss best practices and resources to advance the AAPI business community, November 14, 2014. As part of WHIAAPI’s commitment to helping grow AAPI businesses, WHIAAPI launches a website dedicated to connecting AAPI businesses to federal resources, December 11, 2014.



Participants gather at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., for the “Low-wage and Immigrant Women’s Work: Opportunities and Challenges for Improving Salon and Domestic Work in the U.S.” Philanthropic Briefing, November 13, 2014.



Speaking at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, where he laid out his principles for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform nearly two years ago, President Obama delivers remarks on the new steps he is taking within his executive authority on immigration, November 21, 2014.



More than 100 members of WHIAAPI’s network – the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, the Regional Interagency Working Group, E3! Ambassadors, and staff – convene in Seattle, Washington, for a National Gathering, December 4, 2014.



Thank you for sharing with us a memorable 2014, and we look forward to working with you to continue advancing the AAPI community in 2015.


Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.