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Matei Niculae, head chief at the Marshall Center Dining Facility, show volunteers how to cook Asian and Pacific Islander food during the Marshall Center Equal Opportunity Diversity Observances Committee’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Observance May 11 at the Pete Burke Community Center on Artillery Kaserne. For more photos of this event, visit the Marshall Center Photo Gallery. (Marshall Center photo by Christine June)

By Christine June
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (May 11, 2018) – The Marshall Center’s Equal Opportunity Diversity Observances Committee hosted the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Observance May 11 at the Pete Burke Community Center on Artillery Kaserne.

The event was done as a cooking show with Matei Niculae, head chief at the Marshall Center Dining Facility, encouraging volunteers and guests to learn how to cook Asian and Pacific Islander food.

They cooked Filipino pancit, tofu fried rice and sweet and sour shrimp with vegetables. Other items on the menu were South Pacific wiki waki woo juice, kona spiced coffee and Hawaiian fruit salad with banana dressing.

U.S. Army Capt. Donald Verpoorten, Marshall Center’s facilities engineer, was the master of ceremonies for the event. Verpoorten is of Korean descent.

This event was for members of the Marshall Center, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria – Garmisch Community, and NATO School, and Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, and their family members.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a celebration of the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. It celebrates the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages, and unique experiences represented among more than 56 ethnic groups (speaking more than 100 languages) from Asia and the Pacific Islands who live in the United States.

In 1977, several members of congress introduced a bill to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Week. One of those members was U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, from Hawaii – one of the Marshall Center’s sister Department of Defense Regional Center is named after him: Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

Since 1992, May has been designated to recognize the personal achievements and valuable contributions to the American story by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad completion on May 10, 1869.  The majority of the workers who laid the tracks of that nation -unifying railway were Chinese immigrants.

The 2018 theme is “Unite Our Vision by Working Together.” This year’s theme builds on last year’s diversity theme and focuses on unity and inclusion. Last year’s theme was “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.”