Reflections on AAPI Heritage Month with Meridian’s AAPI Affinity Group


Meridian believes the United States is stronger and the world is more prosperous when leaders collaborate across countries and cultures. Our core values reflect our principles and beliefs, serving a purpose to guide both the internal culture of our workplace and the external impact of our work and partnerships.


Our global leadership, culture, and diplomacy pillars actively empower international leaders, and our work amplifies diverse voices to create pathways for greater understanding, shared values, and respect for all cultures while transforming our global society to build a more equitable and just world for all.


During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are excited to showcase the rich multicultural voices of our AAPI Affinity Group. This internal, grassroots collective of Meridian employees promotes staff welfare and establishes mutually beneficial relationships between Meridian, its workforce, and the communities Meridian serves.


Raj Dhage, Program Associate, International Visitors Leadership Program 

For young Asian Americans like me, this month is a time to reflect on our identity, appreciate the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents, and stand hand in hand with one another as we begin to sew our patch on the greater American fabric.


Here at Meridian, I am proud to be at the forefront of diverse U.S. diplomacy, engaging the U.S. government, key businesses, NGOs, and community leaders with partners in Asia. Each project we undertake strengthens American ties with our allies across the globe and lays the foundation for teamwork as we combat our world’s most pressing issues. At Meridian, AAPI month isn’t just about contemplation; it’s about action.


Elaina Kim, Program Associate, Collaborative Services

AAPI Heritage Month recognizes the beauty and strength of our Asian and Pacific Islander roots and their harmonization with the American experience. AAPI Heritage Months encourages us to reflect and see various perspectives that form the Asian American identity and experience. Instead of being forced to choose a side, we can say that we choose them all: the pieces altogether create who we Asian Americans are.


Beyond these reflections during this month, I support the values of AAPI Heritage Month through my work in Meridian. I work on the U.S. Department of State’s IVLP Impact Awards, which provides community action grants to IVLP alumni to create change in their countries. Several of my participants are from Asia and the Pacific countries, and it’s incredible to watch alumni share their U.S. experiences with their fellow communities. While not directly impacting Asian Americans, these programs exchange values between the countries and foster long-term acceptance across our myriad identities and cultures.


Jezza Syed, Program Associate, International Visitors Leadership Program 

There is beauty within America, and there is beauty in having a month to recognize the voices, efforts, and drive of the American Asian Pacific Islander community that helped build this nation. Growing up as a Pakistani American and a Muslim American, being a first-generation daughter of immigrant parents, I grew up with two cultures, two identities, and two separate lives, hoping that they can mesh to become one day.


AAPI Heritage Month provides an opportunity to highlight the many contributions of Asian Americans. At Meridian, the AAPI Affinity Group provides the platform needed to showcase the efforts AAPI members contribute toward Meridian’s diplomatic initiatives and goals.

I am proud to be an Asian American. I am proud of my two identities, but what I am most proud of is being a part of a mission that allows me to combine both my roots into one.


Puru Trivedi, Vice President of External and Corporate Affairs

Asian Americans are the highest-earning, best-educated, and fastest-growing immigrant group in America. The contributions of Asian Americans to political, social, civic, business, and artistic endeavors in the U.S. are immense and continue to grow exponentially.