Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art Names Isha Ambani On Its Board Of Trustees

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art welcomed Isha Ambani, Carolyn Brehm and Peter Kimmelman as new members of its board of trustees. The Smithsonian’s Board of Regents approved their appointment for four-year terms each, effective September 23, 2021. The 17-member Board of Regents, consisting of the Chief Justice of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, three members of the United States Senate, three members of the United States House of Representatives, and nine citizens, is responsible for the administration of the Smithsonian.

Isha Ambani is a Director of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (Jio), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, headquartered in Mumbai, that owns businesses across India engaged in energy, petrochemicals, textiles, retail and digital services. Recently, Isha Ambani was one of the lead negotiators in multiple transactions that led to over $20bn in global equity capital flowing into Jio Platforms Ltd., including a $5.7bn deal with Facebook. She was also the force behind the launch of fashion portal Ajio.com and oversees the ecommerce venture JioMart that aims to bring the power of ecommerce to small and medium businesses. She has degrees from Yale University and Stanford University and worked as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company in New York.

In addition to these new appointments, Antoine van Agtmael’s tenure as chair of the museum’s board of trustees was extended through October 2023. Dr. Vijay Anand was named vice chair of the board and Ambassador Pamela H. Smith was appointed secretary of the board.

The National Museum of Asian Art was the Smithsonian’s first dedicated art museum and the first art museum on the National Mall. Since opening its doors as the Freer Gallery of Art in 1923, it has acquired an international reputation for excellence by virtue of its extraordinary collection and its century long tradition of exhibitions, research, art conservation and conservation science. The new and returning appointees to the board come to the museum as it prepares for its centennial in 2023 — a milestone celebration and a springboard for the museum’s transformative vision for its next century, which will broaden and deepen the museum’s impact and reach, both onsite and online.

“On behalf of my colleagues at the museum and across the Smithsonian, I am delighted to welcome these distinguished new members to our board and to congratulate our officers on their election,” said Chase F. Robinson, the museum’s Dame Jillian Sackler Director. He further added, “All art museums face the challenge of responding to a quickly evolving cultural landscape, such as new expectations on the part of the public and increasing financial pressures. For a museum devoted to the arts and cultures of Asia, particularly in what is often regarded as the Asian century, there are special opportunities and responsibilities. As we mark our centennial in 2023, the vision and passion of these talented new members and officers will accelerate our efforts to make our collections and expertise more accessible and compelling, to expand our collection, and to join others in understanding and celebrating Asian arts and cultures. Our board is larger and more diverse than it’s ever been. I look forward to working with trustees and extend my gratitude for their service.”

On behalf of the board, Van Agtmael said, “As chair of the board of trustees, I am delighted to welcome our new and returning members who bring both expertise and further diversity to our board.”

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