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AALC (event) and AALC (organization)
Asian American Leadership Conference is an event of MESA, Ministry of English Speaking Asians.
Asian American Leadership Center is an organization. According to its website, it is a “faith-based ministry organization that serves as both a ministry consulting and missionary-sending organization.”
AsianAmericanChristian.org is a ministry of the Asian American Leadership Center.
They have the same acronym because they were conceived at roughly the same time.
The AALC (organization) was incorporated on January 2, 2004.
The first AALC (event) was hosted by MESA, March 29-31, 2004.
Both organization and events were many months in the making.
It is a coincidence that they have the same acronym.
Though both were centered in California and there was relational overlap, the nearly simultaneous emergence of AALC—the event and the organization—emphasizes not only how rare and new it was to gather Asian American Christian leaders (and how “Christian” was a given in these circles), but more importantly, illustrates the ground swelling of desire to gather and empower Asian American Christian leaders nationwide in the early to mid-2000s. This coincidence in names emphasizes their significance.
For more, see this website’s ongoing efforts to collect our history.
From an September 2, 2015 email from Winsome Wu, AALC (organization)
“The AALC was started in 2004 by various Asian American ministry leaders and was an entirely separate endeavor independent from MESA’s Asian American leadership conference.”
From a Fall 2015 Interview with Louis Lee, MESA’s AALC (conference)
You know the organization Asian American Leadership Center? All this time, I’ve thought that AALC, the organization, and your conference were one and the same, and then recently something made me ask Winsome Wu (AALC, the organization’s Executive Director). Winsome says they are separate.
Both AALC, the MESA conference and AALC, the organization happened the same year. Winsome told me that yours was likely first.
And he is correct, and it was somewhat annoying when we found out he was using the same acronym “AALC.” So when people did Google searches, they would get confused.
But both AALCs partnered together in 2013?
Winsome, with his AALC (organization) was nice enough to facilitate the last AALC (conference) in 2013, with Ken Kong who was the assistant guy in MESA as the driving force behind the 2013 AALC. I was going to facilitate that third national leadership conference, but I just couldn’t do it. I was having this ministry burnout because I’ve never had a Sabbatical. So, I took an emergency Sabbatical.
So, I will now always put an asterisk next to AALC and explain that one is MESA’s conference and one is an organization that sends out other smaller Asian American ministries, like AsianAmericanChristian.org.
Yeah, our AALC is an event, and Winsome’s AALC is an actual organization.
Why is Asian American Leadership Conference called that? Why is the word “Christian” not in it?
I think because our networks were so focused on Evangelical Christians that we just felt it was not necessary to include “Christian” even though we know there are secular Asian American leaders. But there was no confusion for our clientele; they understood it was a Christian conference.
[Louis Lee’s words have been condensed, edited and subtitled with permission.]
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