Meet our 2023 speakers
All our speakers are proud Taiwanese Americans! We have had community builders and activists, filmmakers, and musicians. Through each individual story, we hope to inspire all our participants.
Ed Lin, a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards and is an all-around standup kinda guy.
His books include Waylaid, and a mystery trilogy set in New York’s Chinatown in the ‘70s: This Is a Bust, Snakes Can’t Run and One Red Bastard. Ghost Month, published by Soho Crime, is a Taipei-based mystery. Incensed, 99 Ways to Die, and Death Doesn’t Forget continue that series. David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College, his first YA novel, was published by Kaya Press in October 2020. Lin lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and son.
Thomas hails from Starkville, Mississippi, and at the age of 12, he found an affinity for music, crediting Late Registration as the album that changed it all. A passion for discovering new artists led to a first taste of the industry- promoting concerts at his alma mater University of Illinois and interning with artist management labels in NYC.
In 2011, Thomas discovered the then unknown A$AP Rocky and helped expand his online presence in the midst of the industry's digital uprising. The successful partnership helped Thomas realize many artists needed similar development solutions and as a result Empire Taste was born. Through his creative agency, the ET team offers design, marketing, and experiential services for artists and brands.
In addition, Thomas currently works in brand partnerships at BET, applying his experience to find marketing solutions for brands like Apple, Spotify, and Lexus.
A trip to Taiwan in 2019 brought family roots into focus, sparking a seed to introduce his family’s five-generation history in tea to New York under the Dae brand. Together with his brother Ben, tea has been a vessel to connect with fellow creators and the community as they share their family story one cup at a time.
Check out our previous guest speakers
Dr. Raymond Kuo
Dr. Kuo is an expert on international security, international order, and East Asia. He is a Political Scientist with the RAND Corporation and is known for the following books:
Following the Leader: International Order, Alliance Strategies, and Emulation published by Stanford University Press (Aug. 2022) - describing how military alliance strategies generate international order
Contests of Initiative: Confronting China’s Gray Zone Strategy – published by Westphalia Press and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University (Feb 2022), recommends three courses of action for the U.S. to defeat and deter Chinese coercion in the East and South China Seas.
Dr. Kuo's scholarly research has also been published in International Security, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnopolitics, and International Migration.
Michelle Kuo was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan to immigrants from Taiwan. After graduating with a degree in Social Studies and Gender Studies at Harvard College, she joined Teach for America and moved to the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Michelle taught English at an alternative school for kids who were expelled from other schools. Later, she writes a novel, Reading with Patrick, about her experience in the Delta and the relationships she formed.
Eric is a 2nd generation Taiwanese American, who pursued his Ph.D. in Political Economy from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. During the past decade, he has stood up and spoken out against social injustice and corruption in Taiwan.
Eric gained significant attention and news coverage in October 2008 when he stood up and protested against China’s ex-ARATS spokesman Chang Ming-qing, holding up a banner with “independent” spelled “independant.” YouTube Video
Eric made short YouTube clips discussing and critiquing news and politics in Taiwan from a comedic perspective. He is no stranger to controversial opinions and demonstrates an unwavering voice in support of Taiwan’s democracy. He is passionate about trying to get more Taiwanese youth to realize they can make a difference in Taiwan, no matter where they are living in the world.
Peter Lin is a Taiwanese-American trombonist, producer, and educator based in New Jersey/New York City. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised in northern New Jersey, Peter played violin and piano before picking up the trombone at 10 years old. His love for music continued, motivating him to pursue a jazz studies degree at the esteemed music programs of William Paterson University (undergraduate) and Rutgers University (graduate). Since then, he has become an integral part of the music scene, performing and sharing the stage with renowned artists including Slide Hampton, Winard Harper, Charli Persip, Valerie Ponomarev, JD Allen, and Radam Schwartz. He also spent a considerable amount of time studying with his influences, including trombone masters Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Conrad Herwig, Robin Eubanks, Steve Davis, and Frank Lacy. He continues to perform prolifically as both a leader and sideman at established venues such as Blue Note, Dizzy’s, Birdland, Smalls, Fat Cat, Zinc Bar, and Candlelight Lounge.
Lawyer, NATWA chairwoman
Deana Chuang is a second-generation Taiwanese American from Southern California. She currently works as a prosecutor for the City of Pasadena and has dedicated most of her career to public service. Deana currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Domestic Violence Project of the North American Taiwanese Women’s Association (NATWA) and as a volunteer for the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, a shelter for domestic violence survivors. She previously served as Co Coordinator of the NATWA II, Chairwoman of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance, and Board Member of the California State Bar’s Committee on Women in the Law. Deana graduated from Pomona College with degrees in Sociology and Women’s Studies and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Marilyn Fu is a Taiwanese-American writer based in Los Angeles. Her feature screenplay, The Honor List, was released in 2018 by Lionsgate. That same year, she headed the writer’s room on the Will Packer/Roma Downey-produced drama series “The Baxters,” based on the bestselling novels by Karen Kingsbury, for MGM. She wrote and co-produced The Sisterhood of Night (2015) and won an award for the screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival. Her team’s Kickstarter campaign became the second-highest funded narrative project at the time. Marilyn was a research assistant for T: The New York Times Style Magazine and a writer/reporter for LIFE Books; she has been involved in over forty publications for Time, Inc. She was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where she was the first recipient of the William Goldman Screenwriting Fellowship. Marilyn wrote and co-produced a sold-out run of her play “Breather” which premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival (...)