Asian American Dreams A Virtual Discussion with Helen Zia
Hello Everyone!

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, all Princeton and Harvard alumni and their guests are invited to attend a virtual discussion with Helen Zia ’73 ( Helen Zia ‘73, famed author and activist, will discuss and take questions on her book “Asian American Dreams” and Asian Americans’ historical and current influence on American society. She will be joined by Joyce Zhang *15 who will moderate the conversation and field questions from the audience.

Thursday, May 7th 2020
4:00- 5:30 pm PST
A secure Zoom video link with meeting ID will be sent to your email address a day prior to the event.

“Helen Zia is one of our nation’s most original thinkers, and her book serves not only as an invaluable record of a movement but also as a moving and often funny personal memoir. Asian American Dreams marries social history to literature; it caused me to reflect upon the past, and ask questions about the future.“ David Henry Hwang, Playwright

“This groundbreaking book is about the transformation of Asian Americans from a few small, disconnected, and largely invisible ethnic groups into a self-identified racial group that is influencing every aspect of American society. It explores the junctures that shocked Asian Americans into motion and shaped a new consciousness, including the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, by two white autoworkers who believed he was Japanese; the apartheid-like working conditions of Filipinos in the Alaska canneries; the boycott of Korean American greengrocers in Brooklyn; the Los Angeles riots; and the casting of non-Asians in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. The book also examines the rampant stereotypes of Asian Americans.”

“Asian American Dreams” was originally published in 2000 and hardcover, paperback, or digital versions can be purchased on

If you have questions please contact co-organizers: Chris Loh ’86, Stephanie Bachas-Daunert ’10,, Rob Wolk '91 at, or Joyce Yan Zhang *15

Sponsored by the Asian American Alumni Association of Princeton (A4P), Princeton Club of Northern California (PCNC), Princeton Association of NYC (PANYC), and the Harvard Asian Alumni Alliance (H4A).


More about Helen:
In 2000, her first book was published: Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. She also authored the story of Wen Ho Lee in My Country Versus Me, about the Los Alamos scientist who was falsely accused of being a spy for China in the “worst case since the Rosenbergs.” She was Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine and a founding board co-chair of the Women’s Media Center. She has been active in many non-profit organizations, including Equality Now, AAJA, and KQED. Her ground-breaking articles, essays and reviews have appeared in many publications, books and anthologies, receiving numerous awards.

The daughter of immigrants from China, Helen has been outspoken on issues ranging from human rights and peace to women’s rights and countering hate violence and homophobia. She is featured in the Academy Award nominated documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin? and was profiled in Bill Moyers’ PBS series, Becoming American: The Chinese Experience. In 2008 Helen was a Torchbearer in San Francisco for the Beijing Olympics amid great controversy; in 2010, she was a witness in the federal marriage equality case decided by the US Supreme Court.

Helen received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Law School of the City University of New York for bringing important matters of law and civil rights into public view. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Princeton University’s first coeducational class. She attended medical school but quit after completing two years, then went to work as a construction laborer, an autoworker, and a community organizer, after which she discovered her life’s work as a writer.

Helen’s latest book is Last Boat out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution. It launched on January 22, 2019 and traces the lives of emigrants and refugees from another cataclysmic time in history that has striking parallels to the difficulties facing migrants today.

More about Joyce:
Joyce is the CEO and Co-Founder of Alariss Global, a social enterprise connecting global leaders to high-impact opportunities in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. She was previously the first employee and VP of Sales for Human Interest, a Silicon Valley-based financial services technology company. Prior to that, she worked for the President of Microsoft Asia-Pacific in Singapore and as a regional manager for Groupon China (JV with Tencent). In the public sector, Zhang worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the Global Financial Crisis and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation in Nairobi, Kenya. She holds an undergraduate degree in Government and Economics from Harvard University, MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, and MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Asian American Dreams
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