Students in SJS’s Chinese Mandarin program were invited to attend the Huffington Award Luncheon sponsored by the Asia Society Texas Center at the Hilton Americas on Jan. 31.
This year’s Roy M. Huffington Award was awarded to Huntsman, former U.S. Ambassador to China and Singapore, former Governor of Utah and a former candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. The award recognizes recipients for their exceptional contributions to international understanding and is the highest honor awarded by the Asia Society Texas Center.
After the awards ceremony, the program preceded into a talk show like setting.
Huntsman with reference to the simultaneous Lady Gaga concert at the Toyota Center and Governor Perry’s board meeting held a floor above, “I never imagined that I would be speaking at a convention where Lady Gaga is right across the street and Governor Rick Perry is just upstairs.”
Huntsman’s speech touched upon his views of challenges and opportunities in China.
“We need to get involved in China’s culture and language,” Huntsman said. “We need to figure out how to bridge the gap between the short term tactical American thinkers and the long term Chinese thinkers.”
Besides discussing Chinese and U.S. relations, also Huntsman described his campaign in the recent 2012 Republican presidential nominations.
“The campaign was an interesting journey,” Governor Huntsman said. “Debates feel like a game show because everyone always memorizes their lines. I got so bored during one of those debates that I gave one of the answers in Chinese.”
A select group of high schools including SJS engaged in a private discussion with Governor Huntsman. He started off by talking about his political career and hoped to inspire anyone interested in pursuing a career in politics.
“I first became interested in politics when I ran for junior class president and won. Then I lost my senior elections. Losing in high school hurts more than losing in the actual presidential elections because your friends are watching you,” Huntsman said. “In my life, I’ve tried many different things, such as being a failed rock musician, but my life is dedicated to serving the community for the American interest through politics.”
29 students fought for the opportunity to have Governor Huntsman answer their questions on his career in politics, U.S. relations between China and Japan and the environment.
“If you look at our situation now, we look like we’re still in the prehistoric era because we burn stuff,” Huntsman said.
Huntsman advocated the use of natural gas and said he was the only governor who drove a natural gas powered car.
Senior Caroline Spears said, “I was really satisfied considering how Huntsman had to go really far to the right in the Republican primaries and disavowed almost all his views on environment such as global warming.”