Inductees – Asia

    Johnny K. Wu

    Johnny K. Wu

    A native Clevelander raised in Central America, Johnny K. Wu is an award-winning producer, director and editor for over 25 years.  H earned his MBA from Cleveland State University specializing in marketing and branding.

    Johnny is fluent in Chinese, Spanish and English.  His media/event production company Media Design Imaging was founded in 1998 with a combined of 60+ years of experience, providing video and event producing to non and for profit corporates, small businesses and filmmaking community.

    He is well known and respected within the Asian Pacific American community in Ohio, having served as President of OCAGC (Organization of Chinese Americans in Greater Cleveland).  He is one of three co-founders of the Cleveland Asian Festival which draws 50,000 people to Cleveland’s AsiaTown and has produced the event since inception in 2010.

    Johnny Wu with Mustard at Cleveland Asian Festival

    Johnny is recognized and respected by other ethnic cultural groups as the Producer for the Cleveland Cultural Gardens' One World Day since 2015.

    Johnny Wu promoting One World Day with Kenny Crumpton

    Johnny K. Wu is one of the few pioneers in engaging talents/skills in Cleveland's independent filmmakers' industry. In October 2003, he founded the monthly Cleveland IndieClub to provide a voice for local visual artists to showcase their work and visions, IndieClub was a national movement with meet up at numerous cities, and Cleveland is now the oldest running group.

     As a filmmaker, Wu has 14+ feature films successfully distributed worldwide since 2005. He has given workshops and talk about filmmaking, marketing, branding, producing and distribution at several conventions including Wizard World Cleveland, FanExpo Cleveland, Horror Hotel Film Festival and Convention IndieGathering Film Festival and Convention for over 10 years, also provided lectures at CES and NAB in Las Vegas.

    He has provided insights and consultation in branding and marketing to nonprofits and small businesses as well as a known film/producing figure in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Clubhouse. Wu owns a YouTube channel where he does product reviews and interviews with many prominent producers in the country.  Wu also has done numerous speaking engagements at universities, conventions and festivals on topic related to Asian culture and diversity.

    Johnny K. Wu

    Johnny's recent scifi-action feature Wu Lin The Society, has signed for distribution while still winning awards (over 24). He's latest documentary History of Cleveland's Chinatown is currently screening at many festivals in Cleveland including showing at WKYC and WVIZ, while winning awards including a Telly. Wu currently in post-production of his latest action thriller Bullets, Brothers and Blood, expected to premiere in early 2024. In his spare time, he loves to watch movies, eat different cuisines and sleep.

    Johnny K. Wu currently sits as an executive board member of St. Clair Superior Development Corp, member of the International Task Force for Cleveland Museum of Art, WKYC Community Council Member, City of Cleveland Consumer Affairs Community Board, VP of Communications for OCA Cleveland Chapter, Ambassador and more. He is an inductee into two Martial Arts Halls of Fame, and an inductee of the International Indie Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

    The April 23, 2024 induction event at Windows on the River was a sell out with 500 people in attendance.

    Johnny Wu was inducted by Margaret Wong. Over 50 years ago, award-winning practicing immigration lawyer Margaret Wong started her firm after years of adversity. She was born in Hong Kong and founded Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC, which began with a single desk rented for $25 and is now one of the nation's premier immigration law firms with offices in nine cities. She is an immigrant, a self-starter and a proud businesswoman.

    Here is the video of entire Cleveland International Hall of Fame ceremony. You can jump to about 1:37:11 to watch Johnny Wu being inducted by Margaret Wong.

    Enjoy these images of Johnny Wu from the Cleveland International Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

    Russ Mitcehll introduces Margaret Wong

    Margaret Wong inducting Johnny Wu

    Margaret Wong inducts Johnny Wu

    Margaret Wong and Johnny Wu

    Johnny Wu Hall of Fame acceptance speech

    Anjan Ghose, Dan Monroe, Ying Pu and
    Margaret Wong watching Johnny Wu speak

    Margaret Wong, Johnny Wu and Lisa and Wayne Wong

    Eddie Ni Table

    Li Wah Table

    Johnny Wu Table

    Johnny Wu and friends

    Li Wah Table

    Ethiopian leader Aklilu Demessie
    with Johnny Wu and Bill Franklin

    Johnny Wu friends selfie

    Li Wah/Asia Plaza

    Johnny Wu and Nick Mulbach

    Johnny Wu and Nada Martinovic

    Johnny Wu and Anthony Yen

    Johnny Wu and friends

    Johnny K. Wu in the Hall of Fame

    Congratulations Johnny!


    Sudarshan Sathe

    Sudarshan Sathe

    Sudarshan ( su- dar- shun) Sathe ( Saa-the) earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, with first division honors, from the world famous IIT engineering school in India. He arrived in the U.S at a young age of 22 to join University of Akron's master’s in chemical engineering program.

    At the same Alma mater, he earned an MBA in International Business. After doing a series of jobs in the chemical and metals industry, and upon acquiring U S Citizenship in 1990, Mr. Sathe founded a company called NewConcepts, influenced by an adage of Akio Morata of Sony corporation that marketing is not simply shipping what you have made, but rather knowing what to make.

    He developed products and processes that he has earned patents for and are used in the Steel industry today. New Concepts is also a supplier of various metals and raw materials to the Steel Industry, counting nearly every Steel Mill in North America among its customers.

    He is a member of numerous professional and civic organizations and has supported many causes having to do with amelioration of hunger, and with education of the underprivileged children, especially girls' education.

    Sudarshan's philanthropic activities extend to Ekal, the One Teacher Schools, Akshaya Patra the inexhaustible food bowl- lunch program in schools- 100,000 Meal goal of Richfield Mayor Mike Wheeler, to end world hunger and Medical Yatra, among others. He has been on the board of Project Love, Values-in-Action that aims to end bullying in schools.

    He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Federation of India's community associations, FICA, the pan-Indian American organization in Northeast Ohio.

    To this day, he remains a keen student of India's History and philosophy and applies the age-old philosophical principles in business practice. The simplest of them being," What you do with what you have, will determine what will materialize in your life". He also follows not just the golden rule but the platinum rule, that says, Treat others as they wish to be treated.

    He believes in the values of Indian culture and legacy that continue to enrich the world, be it Yoga, language, mathematics, or primacy of the mind. Because after all the battles and conquests, after all the technology and modern conveniences have been acquired, one last battle remains: and that is achieving a moment of pure inner peace.

    Sudarshan is a Clevelander through and through where he lives with his wife Swati. They have two adult sons, Tejas and Ojas.

    Sudarshan was inducted by Baiju Shah

    Watch the video (below) of Baiju Shah's induction speech and then Sudarshan Sathe's acceptance speech.

    Sudarshan Sathe

    Sudarshan Sathe

    Baiju Shah with Sudarshan Sathe


    Berj Shakarian

    Berj A. Shakarian, Architect

    Berj A. Shakarian, Architect
    Berj A. Shakarian, Architect

    As a young man, Berj A. Shakarian arrived in the United States in 1961. He came with his parents from an Armenian community in Bucharest, Romania. Berj completed his high school education at the former West High School in Cleveland, and earned a scholarship to the Adelbert College of Western Reserve School of Architecture (currently Case Western Reserve University).

    Following graduation, Berj worked as a designer in the City of Cleveland's Division of Design and Construction. In 1975 he opened his own architectural office, and was offered a commission to do the Restoration of Lakeside Court House. In turn, that opportunity flourished into his appointment as Cuyahoga County Architect, a position that he held from 1978 until he retired in 2010 - and having completed more that $1 billion of construction over that time.

    However, retirement never really happened to Berj. He accepted a position at John Carroll University as Architect/Project Manager, and he contributed mightily to that school, from which three of his for children graduated. His award-winning restoration of Pacelli Hall and his superb design of the St. Ignatius Plaza are testament to his work there.

    Even today, as his son told us, "My father, Berj stands out the most, because his vision goes beyond the Armenian community. As an architect, he has proudly served both the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County for several decades, especially with his restoration work on Playhouse Square, the Cuyahoga County Courthouse, and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Public Square.

    He has worked with many prominent Clevelanders over the years, including mayors Carl B. Stokes and George V. Voinovich (especially when Voinovich was one of the county commissioners). Moreover, he has designed churches for other ethnic communities, for example, St. Nicholas Byzantine Croatian Church on Superior.

    He not only designed the Armenian Cultural Garden, but he also served on the board of the CCGF, and he is now designing the Centennial Plaza. He is not only a man committed to highlighting Cleveland as an international city, but he also has a deep knowledge and sensitivity to Cleveland history, and specifically to the history of the Cultural Gardens and the vision of Leo Weidenthal."

    Berj has been married for almost 49 year to his wife, Carol, whom he met on the Rapid Transit while commuting to school. They have four grown children, each of whom they are very proud.

    As you know, Covid-19 forced the always sold out induction ceremonies to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 so some of the Class was inducted virtually. Berj Shakarian was inducted at the Centennial Plaza he designed by Paul Burik and Dr. Wael Khoury from the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation.

    Dedication of the Armenian Cultural Garden

    Berj Shakarian in front of the medalion in the Centennial Peace Plaza he designed

    The video below includes Paul Burik and Dr. Wael Khoury's remarks as well as berj Shakarian's story and acceptance speech.

    Berj was virtually inducted by Paul Burik and Dr. Wael Khoury

    Berj Shakarian Inducted on June 7, 2022

    On the evening of June 7, 2022 Berj finally was honored in person and was inducted by 2019 CIHF inductee Paul Burik who is a delegate for the Czech Cultural Garden and past president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation. Paul is currently also serving as President of Sokol Cleveland and the historic Bohemian National Hall.

    Watch the video of Berj Shakarian being inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame by Paul Burik.

    Paul Burik inducting Berj Shakarian

    Paul Burik and Berj Shakarian

    Berj Shakarian and Paul Burik with award

    Berj Shakarian acceptance speech

    Berj Shakarian with some family members

    Congratulations Berj!


    May Chen

    May J. Chen

    May Chen
    May Chen

    May J. Chen, is co-founder and executive director emeritus of Asian Services in Action, Inc., whose mission is to empower and advocate for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders(AAPIs); and to provide AAPIs access to quality, culturally, and linguistically appropriate information and services, has changed the lives of thousands in the Asian American Pacific Islander community, and others, through her advocacy for parity in social, health, and educational services as well as community advancement; and

    Mrs. Chen, a native of Hong Kong, China, has spent her professional life creating opportunities out of obstacles, educating mainstream providers and funders and mobilizing Asian Pacific Islander communities building their capacity in Akron and the Greater Cleveland area, developing and implementing projects for Asian American Pacific Islander communities to improve quality of life; she launched Asian Services In Action’s best practice award Asian American Youth Against Tobacco Training Manual to Shanghai, China and she has served as a volunteer on 25 advisory committees, Boards of Trustees and Panel members and has developed and implemented 23 community based programs . Her most recent project is Jin Huo Community Senior Center for Asian immigrant and other limited English speaking elders in Summit County in partnership with Asian Services In Action, Inc..

    A licensed professional clinical counselor and licensed independent marriage and family therapist, Mrs. Chen, who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Vanderbilt University and her Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from The University of Akron in 1988, has been recognized for her outstanding service with numerous honors, including the 2000 Woman of the Year Award from the Cleveland Chinese Woman’s Association, the 2001 Summit County YWCA 100 Women for Community Contribution Award, named as one of five Women of the Year in 2002 by the Summit County YWCA, 2003 Ohio Commission on Minority Health Chairman Award; 2004 Asian Pacific Partnership Empowerment and Leadership Summit Organizational Leadership Award; 2008 Civic Ventures Encore Purpose Prize Fellow; 2013 Alumni Honor Award and 2020 Elizabeth Buchtel Award from University of Akron, City of Akron Resolution 267 honoring May J. Chen community service to Akron, Ohio and 2020 Daughter of American Revolution for Americanism Medal given to naturalized citizen demonstrating outstanding characteristics of integrity, trustworthiness and patriotism.

    As you know, Covid-19 forced the always sold out induction ceremonies to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 so some of the Class was inducted virtually. May Chen was inducted in the office of her longtime friend Margaret Wong who was an inductee in the inaugural class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame in 2010.

    Margaret Wong hands May Chen her award
    Margaret Wong hands May Chen her award

    Michael Byun, her successor as CEO of ASIA Inc., sent his congratulations from Seattle and then May Chen gave her inspiring acceptance speech as seen in the video below.

    May Chen Inducted on June 7, 2022

    On the evening of June 7, 2022 May was finally honored in person and was again inducted by Margaret Wong.

    Watch the video of May Chen being inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame by Margaret Wong.


    Margaret Wong inducting May Chen

    May Chen receives CIHF award from Margaret Wong

    May Chen acceptance speech

    Congratulations May!


    Ramesh Shah

    Ramesh Shah

    Ramesh Shah

    Ramesh Shah’s humanitarian work in health and education illustrates what happens when someone is passionate and ever-focused on lifting others up.

    Over the past 20 years, he has organized teams of physicians and volunteers for medical missions in underdeveloped countries around the world. His project is known as Medical YATRA (Pilgrimage).- AIPNO. These trips have served people in need in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador, Guyana, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and India. The goal of each trip has been to address suffering by increasing access to medical care, education, and equipment. Ramesh has raised funds for countless life-changing surgeries and prosthetic limbs for people who would otherwise not be able to access them. He has also raised funds for mobile medical vans for work in rural areas, machines that make sanitary pads, water treatment plants, and playground equipment for children in schools. All of this work is a joint effort with his wife, Dr. Jaya Shah, a pediatrician who was herself inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame in 2012.

    In addition, Ramesh has been a dedicated volunteer with groups that teach entrepreneurship and professional skills to kids in the Cleveland area. Most notably in the area of youth development, he has been a volunteer teacher through Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland over the past four decades. In the past three years alone, he has worked in nearly 80 classrooms in Cuyahoga and Lake Counties, sharing fundamental lessons and global perspectives about entrepreneurship and business with students.  With the entrepreneurship program, E CITY, Ramesh coaches students on business plans and has served as a judge for pitch competitions. Finally, with Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Ramesh guides students living in economically distressed areas in Northeast Ohio towards developing a professional resume they can use to seek work. He draws energy from his students, frequently telling them, “You are my pumping station. You pump energy, vitality and hope into my life.”

    Ramesh has been a proud member of the Cleveland Rotary for more than ten years, and is deeply appreciative or their support of his initiatives through their global grants. Lot of sustainable projects done in India is because of Rotary Cubs and Rotary International. He has also directly addressed hunger through hours of volunteer work making, packing, and serving food in food pantries around the world.  He is an active member of Federation of India Community associations, Gujarati Samaj, and an honorary member of Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio.

    All of this compassion is rooted in perspective gained through the tremendous change he has experienced in his lifetime. Born in a small village in Gujarat, India he lost his father and mother at the age of seven. He took a loan to come to the United States to take advantage of the unique work opportunities here, and immediately put his entrepreneurial energy into work in a variety of real estate and mortgage industries. Deeply grateful for the tremendous increase in standard of living that he has enjoyed, he is always thinking about what he can do to share and help others make the same leaps.

    As you know, Covid-19 forced the always sold out induction ceremonies to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 so some of the Class was inducted virtually. Ramesh Shah was inducted by Federation of India Community Associations Board Chairman Sudarshan Sathe and welcomed to the Hall by Inaugural CIHF inductee Paramjit Singh.

    Sudarshan Sathe, Ramesh Shah, Jaya Shah, Paramjit Singh and Baiju Shah in front of the Gandhi statue in the India Cultural Garden
    Sudarshan Sathe, Ramesh Shah, Jaya Shah, Paramjit Singh and Baiju Shah in front of the Gandhi statue in the India Cultural Garden

    Sudarshan Sathe hands Ramesh Shah his award
    Sudarshan Sathe hands Ramesh Shah his award

    Dr Jaya Shah, Ramesh Shah and son Baiju Shah
    Dr Jaya Shah, Ramesh Shah and son Baiju Shah

     At the virtual induction, Ramesh Shah told his fascinating story. Watch the video below of the induction and Ramesh Shah giving his acceptance speech – all under the watchful eye of Mahtama Gandhi.

    Ramesh was inducted by Sudarshan Sathe and Paramjit Singh

    Ramesh Shah Inducted on June 7, 2022

    On the evening of June 7, 2022 Ramesh finally was honored in person and was inducted by Sudarshan Sathe.

    With his induction Ramesh and his wife Dr. Jaya Shah became the only married couple to both be inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame.

    Watch the video of Ramesh Shah being inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame by Sudarshan Sathe

    Sudarshan Sathe inducting Ramesh Shah
    Sudarshan Sathe inducting Ramesh Shah

    Ramesh Shah receives CIHF award from Sudarshan Sathe

    Ramesh Shah giving his acceptance speech

    Ramesh Shah showing the scissors he used to cut hair

    Ramesh and Jaya Shah

    Ramesh Shah and friends

    Dan Hanson with Ramesh and Jaya Shah and son Baiju Shah

    Anjan Ghose with Jaya and Ramesh Shah

    Dr. Gita Gidwani, Sujata Burgess and Kathy Ghose

    Congratulations Ramesh!


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