The Flying Tiger Historical Organization (FTHO) announces the appointment of actress Kerry Berry Brogan as its Goodwill Ambassador. Brogan is an American actress based in Beijing who plays western female characters in Chinese TV dramas and films. She is also well known for her work in promoting Sino-American cultural understanding.
The appointment comes as FTHO expands efforts to gain support for the Flying Tiger Heritage Park currently under construction and scheduled to open in Guilin, China in the Spring 2012. The Park is a joint development project between the Lingui County government Guangxi Province and the FTHO. The Park commemorates the contributions of all American aviation veterans called Flying Tigers who fought against the Japanese military in China Burma and India during World War ll.
The Flying Tiger Heritage Park is being built on a 123-acre site on the former Yang Tang airfield. The park includes the original command cave used by General Claire Chennault between 1941 and 1945 as his Operations Center. A large museum, memorial plaza and a Walk of Heroes are also being built in the Park. Symbolically, the memorial aims to bring long-lasting awareness to the story of the Flying Tiger legacy and everything they did to bind an enduring friendship between the Chinese and American people.
Brogan was made aware of the FTHO and its mission to build the park by FTHO Director Michael Bianco earlier this year while she was shooting a Chinese TV mini-series based on the story of the Flying Tigers. In “The Great Rescue”, the name of the series which aired last month prime-time on CCTV-1, she played the daughter of an American Consul General stationed in Yunnan during the WWII era. Brogan admits she has been a fan of the Flying Tigers since the start of her career in China over eight years ago, “Sometimes when I’m on set and there is a communication breakdown of some sort or I know trying to meet eye-to-eye may be a lost cause, I remember the Flying Tigers and the impossible tasks they faced, as well as the Chinese who risked their lives to bring them to safety time and time again. I think of all the courage they had and it encourages me to move forward in my work with more clairvoyance and patience.”
Since becoming aware of the FTHO project she has taken measures to rally support amongst colleagues and various businesses and associations in both the United States and in China for the project. Although an official ceremony in recognition of the appointment will be held on the opening of the memorial Park next year, Major General James Whitehead, Chairman of the FTHO Board of Directors, issued a statement thanking Brogan for her acceptance of the appointment and welcoming her to the ranks of the FTHO.
In doing so he said: “We are excited to have Kerry Brogan in this role promoting the mission we have to build the FTHO museum, memorial plaza and Walk of Heroes as well as restore General Chennault’s Operating Command Cave. We thank you for your efforts in the past and look forward to your continuing support in the future for the FTHO mission.”
Brogan first came to China at the age of 16 for four months as part of a cultural exchange program between Newton South High School and the Beijing Jingshan Academy. While earning a degree in Asian Studies from New York’s Bard College she also pursued advanced performance studies at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. Soon after graduation, the young American actress relocated to Beijing and has since appeared in no fewer than fifty Chinese feature films and television programs, undertaking most of the significant female roles available to non-Chinese performers and rising to be one of the top actresses in China.
Over the course of her career, she has played both comedic and dramatic parts, portraying a broad range of characters: spies, secret agents, students, scientists, revolutionaries, princesses, girls-next-door and femmes-fatal. She has also played renowned historical figures journalist Helen Foster Snow in the film One Heart and committed communist Agnes Smedley in the historical drama The 1937 Coup of Xi’an. Needless to say, her acting adventures in China have not only taken her on a journey through the major periods of Chinese history and to nearly every geographic region of China, but have also matched her up with some of the country’s most influential present-day A-list actors and award winning directors.
The FTHO appointment is not the first time Brogan’s role in front of the camera as an actress has gained her recognition for her off-screen role as a goodwill ambassador in promoting Sino-American friendship. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a cover article in the Boston Globe praised Kerry for her work as a “Sino-American cultural ambassador”. In 2009 she was invited to Athens, Greece to receive the Goddess Artemis Award from the Euro-American Women’s Council on behalf of the Greece Ministry of Culture. Also in 2009 in a Lincoln Center, New York ceremony sponsored by the U.S.-China Foundation commemorating 30 years of Sino-US diplomatic relations, Brogan was the youngest recipient of the Sino-American Friendship Award, receiving recognition of her work in promoting East-West cultural understanding. The award was presented to her by Edward Cox, son-in-law of former President Nixon. Cox remarked “I cannot think of anyone better to symbolize the friendship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China than you.” This year Brogan serves as the “International Green Ambassador” for the 2011 International Horticultural Exposition, which is presently on-going in Xi’An.
The FTHO Board of Directors anticipates Brogan, in her role as a Goodwill Ambassador, to help in promoting the legacy of the Flying Tigers amongst the Chinese youth through her work in the entertainment industry as well as through various outlets of promotion via the internet. Brogan will also participate in a series of high-profile events in the United States to raise awareness about the Flying Tigers and to advocate greater support for the FTHO mission to build an outstanding memorial park.
Brogan expressed her enthusiasm about becoming a part of the FTHO mission : “This is my first goodwill appointment in any organization. It is truly an honor because I am a huge fan of the Flying Tigers and it is a cause I am willing to work for. I know my generation has come a long way in terms of contributing to a positive and healthy development of U.S.-China relations, but I also know we still have a lot of work to do. In the face of so many present-day challenges, it is important to turn to periods of strength in U.S.- China relations to draw lessons for how to face obstacles in the future. So, I want to do everything I can to help the legacy of the Flying Tigers live on for future generations in America and China.”
Welcome aboard Kerry and best wishes for continued success in your acting career and especially in your new role as Flying Tiger Goodwill Ambassador.