The 2002 Distinguished Achievement Award is awarded to Professor Anna Pao Sohmen and Ms Cissy Pao for long-term contributions and achievements in dance. In presenting Distinguished Achievement Awards to Professor Sohmen and Ms Pao, the Hong Kong Dance Alliance honors their untiring efforts on behalf of dance and their vision in helping to establish professional dance as a cornerstone of Hong Kong culture.
Anna Pao Sohmen's steadfast allegiance to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts is manifest in her founding of the Society for the Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA) and her Chairmanship of the Council for the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. SAPA scholarships have allowed countless Hong Kong and overseas students to study dance at the Academy. As Council Chairman she has enabled the Academy to grow into an internationally recognized, prize-winning institution, with the School of Dance one of its most accomplished components. Cissy Pao's commitment to the Hong Kong Ballet is evident in her continuous hard work on its behalf. In her role as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Hong Kong Ballet, Cissy Pao has been an indispensable leader whose dedication has given shape to the artistic achievement of the company. As the organizer of successive and highly successful Ballet Balls, she has helped provide the means for the company to realize these achievements.
Professor Sohmen and Ms Pao's engagement in dance goes beyond their leadership roles in two of Hong Kong's great cultural institutions. Both are accomplished businesswomen and advocates of culture, particularly in the dance area. In their dedication to dance, both love to dance. Anna Pao Sohmen and Cissy Pao are exemplars for all Hong Kong dancers to emulate; they are worthy of our greatest esteem and our sincerest gratitude.