The 1990 Institute’s mission today is to To champion fair and equal treatment for Asian Americans and a constructive US-China relationship through leadership, education, collaboration, and philanthropy.


all founders _1990bHistory

The 1990 Institute was founded in 1990 by C.B. Sung, Hang-Sheng Cheng, William Lee,  Roz Koo and and a group of prominent American business, academia, and community leaders.  They were all deeply interested helping the people of China modernize and address its social & economic challenges through productive dialogue — but wanted to avoid getting in the politics of either China or the United States.

Founding Chairman C.B. Sung, the founder and Chairman of Unison Group, was renowned for brokering nearly 40 Sino-foreign joint ventures in China. Dr. Hang-Sheng Cheng, served as the Director of the Center for Pacific Basin Studies at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.  Roz Koo was the founding President of Self-Help for the Elderly, and Billy Lee was a prominent architect who developed numerous cultural exchange programs.

There four incredible founders had the foresight, perseverance, relationships, and leadership to establish 1990 Institute during a period when people-to-people interactions were sorely needed to supplement and assist government-to-government discussions.  They galvanized the support of university presidents across the U.S., including Donald Kennedy of Stanford, Stephen Muller of Johns Hopkins, Harold Shapiro of Princeton, and Chang-lin Tien of UC Berkeley.

Presidents collage 2016-01-16_12-05-19

During these early years, the1990 Institute also received advice and support from prominent U.S-China figures, including:

    • Robert Scalpino, the National Committee of U.S.-China Relations’ first chairman;
    • Philip C. Habib, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (under President Reagan)
    • Tung-Yen Lin, the renowned bridge builder
    • Robert Parry, President & CEO Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
    • Linda Tsao Yang, former U.S.  Ambassador, Asian Development Bank

Over the next 30 years, the Founders and subsequent Board members, officers, staff, and volunteers joined together to implement many interesting, informative, and impactful programs in both China and the United States. Today, Roz Koo and Billy Lee remain as Emeritus Directors. They are joined by a distinguished group of Honorary Board Chairs including:

  • Dr. Robert T. Parry, President, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
  • Dr. Harold T. Shapiro, President Emeritus, Princeton University
  • Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III, Former U.S. Senator (D. Illinois)
  • Ambassador Linda Tsao Yang, Former U.S. Ambassador, Asian Development Bank