The International House Awards Gala recognizes notable individuals and institutions for their contributions to leadership and intercultural understanding. Since 1924, International House has afforded a unique cross-cultural experience that nurtures core values of Respect, Empathy and Moral Courage in its Residents. To ensure diversity of perspective and experience, International House offers substantial financial assistance to students in need—much of it provided through the proceeds of the Awards Gala.
George Takei, Actor, Author & Activist
George Takei is best known for his portrayal of “Mr. Sulu” in the acclaimed television and film series, Star Trek. An actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power, and New York Times bestselling author, Takei originated the role of “Sam Kimura” and “Ojii-Chan” in the Broadway musical, “Allegiance,” and is the subject of To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career.
Takei’s acting career has spanned five decades, with more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Actors’ Equity Association, and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
With the outbreak of World War II, Los Angeles, California-born Takei and his family were placed behind the barbed-wire enclosures of United States internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans. He spent most of his childhood at Camp Rohwer in the swamps of Arkansas and at wind-swept Camp Tule Lake in northern California. At the end of the war, Takei’s family returned to their native Los Angeles.
Inspired by this difficult chapter of American history, Takei developed the Broadway musical “Allegiance,” an epic story of love, family and heroism, in which he starred alongside Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. The show’s record-breaking world premiere, at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2012, won multiple awards, and was followed by a Broadway run in 2015-2016.
Now a community activist, Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation’s foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political organization. Takei is Chairman Emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum‘s Board of Trustees; a member of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation Board of Directors; and served on the Board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton. In recognition of his contribution to the Japan-United States relationship, in 2004, Takei was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, by His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.
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