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DHA Honored Asian American Pacific Islander Culture and Contributions

Image of By celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage last month the DHA community recognized the Americans of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander heritage, a vastly diverse group of individuals who have served as some of our nation's greatest leaders. . The DHA hosted an observance of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month called “advancing leaders through collaboration,” featuring guest speaker Mr. Steve Lee.

"To have a different culture is an advantage because it helps us introduce what we have to others to help us all become better Americans," said Steve Lee, President of the Korean American of Association of Greater Washington Area.

Lee joined the Defense Heath Agency for its observance of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month to share his insight on what makes successful collaboration and how collaboration helps to produce strong leaders. The event's theme was Advancing Leaders through Collaboration.

Cultural Awareness: The Key to Successful Collaboration

In his remarks, Lee highlighted the importance of cultural awareness and cultural pride.

"It's a proud thing to have a unique culture with a 500-year-old heritage and to make that a part of the American culture that we will be living in," proclaimed Lee.

Along with an awareness of and pride in our own culture, Lee emphasized the need to have an awareness of and appreciation for the different cultures that are all around us. He said that became particularly important to him when he immigrated to the United States from Korea at a young age.

"To come from the other side of the world to be part of the American culture where we all help to make the great America is a very good thing." To have our culture, friends, and community to work together helps to better adjust to culture here. Our goal is to become better American Koreans."

When we strive to our cultural awareness is when we begin to learn the art of successful collaboration. Our culture, Lee asserted, helps us to develop strong collaboration skills. Those skills include: listening actively, being aware of personal biases, and speaking out against unjust discrimination.

Developing good collaboration skills can prepare us to take on leadership roles, he added.

Leading through Service

When asked about his definition of strong leadership, Lee asserted that anyone who endeavors to lead must first have a heart for serving others.

"I think leadership is more than just being in charge of a corporation or even an entire country. A true leader works to serve the needs of the entire group, asserting and defending their needs, interests, and values."

A leader knows how to work with each member of the group to identify common goals, resolve disagreements and conflicts, and guide the group's efforts toward completion of its missions, he stated. “At the core of a leader is a successful collaborator.”

“When we have strong leaders, the group experiences greater unit cohesion, problem-solving, and ultimately, mission completion,” Lee continued.

Among our nation's greatest leaders, Lee said, are those who in a spirit of service collaborated with Americans from a variety of cultural backgrounds to help strengthen our country. Many of those leaders have been Americans from Asian and/or Pacific Islander cultures.

Building a Nation that Welcomes All

By celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage last month the DHA community recognized the Americans of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander heritage, a vastly diverse group of individuals who have served as some of our nation's greatest leaders.

"They have dedicated their lives to service, working with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds to create a nation where all are welcome," concluded Lee.

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Last Updated: June 03, 2022

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