As President Obama delivers his last State of the Union address Tuesday, three Asian-American leaders will be watching in the box with First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
A White House press release on Tuesday said that these guests “personify President Obama’s time in office and most importantly, they represent who we are as Americans: inclusive and compassionate, innovative and courageous.”
The Asian Americans in the first lady’s box this year represent technology, veterans, and Asian-American advocacy.
Cynthia K. Dias is a Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam War and suffered from post-traumatic stress and homelessness before finding a home at Veterans Village, a non-profit in Las Vegas that aids homeless veterans.
Also joining the first lady's box is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Naveed Shah, an Army veteran who served for four years and was deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Shah immigrated to the United States as a child from Saudi Arabia and was inspired to serve the U.S. after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Other guests at Tuesday's State of the Union will include Adnan Khan, a business leader and former president of the Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPAA), who will be attending as a guest of Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
“The State of the Union is an opportunity to showcase what is best about the country and lay out what must be improved. To me, one of the most obvious answers to both is our treatment of immigrants and minorities," Chu said in a press release Monday.
Following his final State of the Union address, Obama will sit down with an interview with three YouTube stars, including lifestyle vlogger Ingrid Nilsen. Nilsen, who is of Thai and Norwegian descent, is an advocate for LGBT and Asian-American issues and will be continuing the White House’s partnership with YouTube that began at last year’s State of the Union address.