Acorn International Sells Majority Stake in HJX Business

Acorn International reaches an agreement to sell majority stake in HJX business.

Acorn International, Inc. recently announced that they’ve reached an agreement to sell a majority stake in its HJX business which engages in direct sales of Ozing branded electronic learning devices. The agreement includes the formation of a joint venture. The third-party investor and operator responsible for purchasing the majority stake will consequently control and operate the joint venture.  

Acorn International’s Executive Chairman Mr. Robert Roche noted, “The agreement with HJX represents a positive move for Acorn as we realign our strategy and focus our attention on the markets that will drive profitable growth.”

The joint venture is expected to be operational in the coming months helping to liquidate a large stock of HJX inventory and transition select expenses on a pro rata basis to the joint venture.  Acorn has decided to move forward with the partial divestiture of HJX in an attempt to relinquish its daily management. This will increase Acorn’s focus on its already profitable businesses and brands, and will also increase the profitable growth of new business ventures.

“This joint venture marks one of our final key steps in turning around and restructuring the business away from loss-making legacy businesses to focus more closely on our brands and business areas that support our mandate for profitable growth,” Mr. Jacob Fisch, Acorn’s President concluded.

CNAS 2017 Annual Conference: Navigating the Divide

The Center for New American Security hosted its Annual Conference.

On June 28th, 2017, the Center for New American Security (CNAS) held it’s Annual Conference. Individuals gathered at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. to tune into several different National Security industry leaders delivering sessions on security-related topics. This year, the annual conference’s theme was “Navigating the Divide.” Among the hundreds of different conference goers, recently appointed CNAS Board of Director member Robert Roche, attended with his son.

To begin the day’s debates, CNAS Co-Founder and CEO Michèle Flournoy delivered welcoming remarks. She was followed by 40 different individuals who delivered their sessions in both individual and group presentations. Their discussions ranged in topic from “The Future of the West and the Transatlantic Cooperation” to “National Security in a Distracted World.” The annual conference is one of the many ways CNAS looks to further its goal of informing and preparing the national security leaders of today and tomorrow.

The goal of CNAS in holding events such as the Annual Conference is to elevate the overall U.S. national security debate by engaging policymakers, experts and the public. They will continue to facilitate national security conversations by uncovering innovative, fact-based research, ideas, and analyses in an attempt to continue to influence the national security discussion.

CNAS has thoughtfully integrated itself into the network of the United States’ policymaking community. CNAS utilizes its unique research agenda to impact the decisions leaders make in National Security to further advance U.S. interests and strategy.  By performing unprecedented research and analyses, they have attracted industry thought leaders to head their research programs, deepening their ability to shape the nation’s security.

Acorn International Reaches Settlement Agreement

Acorn International announced that it has reached a settlement agreement relating to a claim filed against three former Board of Directors members.

Acorn International announced today that it entered a Settlement Agreement on July 28, 2017, relating to a December 2016 claim filed against three former members of the company’s Board of Directors. The claim was filed on December 1, 2016, in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands in response to alleged breaches of fiduciary duties, misconduct and/or mismanagement by the former directors.

The initial filing involved a previously disclosed dispute between two groups of company shareholders. This dispute resulted in the improper removal of Robert Roche as Executive Chairman of Acorn International by members of the company’s previous Board of Directors. The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands ruled that the former directors had breached their fiduciary duties to Acorn International by removing Mr. Roche as Executive Chairman, and were liable to the company for any loss and damage caused as a consequence of these actions.

In accordance with the Settlement Agreement, all parties involved agreed to drop any claims, counterclaims or other proceedings related to the previous disputes. Acorn International’s audit committee reviewed and approved the Settlement Agreement. It was later approved by the company’s current Board of Directors.

Acorn’s President, Jacob Fisch called the agreement a “highly symbolic” moment for the company.

“In addition to being a good deal for our company, this is a highly symbolic moment for Acorn where, after years of difficulty, we are now able to truly put the troubles of our past behind us and be 100% forward-looking as we grow our business into the future, ” Fisch stated in a press release.

Robert Roche, Executive Chairman of Acorn International, stated: “We are pleased with this outcome and are excited that we can now focus our efforts on enhancing and growing the business.”

APSA Scholars Experience Chinese Language and Culture in 2017 China Scholars Program

American Students participate in 2017 China Scholars Program with APSA.

Earlier this month, American students arrived in Beijing to begin the four week long 2017 China Scholars Program with Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA). The 2017 APSA China Scholars arrived at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications where they will stay throughout the program and be paired with university students acting as Chinese language mentors. Throughout the program, the APSA Scholars will be immersed in Chinese language and culture and will take part in a variety of educational, professional and recreational activities.

Americans Promoting Study abroad was founded in 2008 to address the growing need for Americans who are able to engage globally. The organization provides scholarships and for American high school students to study abroad, and gain the knowledge and experience necessary to engage globally in their educational and professional careers. The China Scholars program is APSA’s flagship program and provides students in grades 9-11 an opportunity to study abroad, develop a deep understanding of Chinese culture and gain experience and knowledge about their future career goals. APSA China Scholars take part in a month long immersive program in which they attend workshops, meet with career leaders in various fields, take part in service learning projects and explore sites within their city.

Within the first week of the 2017 program, APSA Scholars took part in a Tai Chi workshop, enjoyed traditional Chinese cuisine and attended their first company visit. During the company visit, Scholars learned about crowdfunding and worked in small groups with Chinese students to develop a business idea and pitch to potential investors.

APSA works with partners around the world to develop and deliver a meaningful study abroad experience to students, and build the tools students will need to become active participants in the global economy. Follow along with the 2017 China Scholars as they document their experiences and program highlights on the APSA Instagram account.

Cara Summer Social to Raise Funds For The Cara Program

Cara Chicago’s Associate Board presented the 5th annual Cara Summer Social, all proceeds raised benefit Cara’s work to alleviate poverty in Chicago.

Cara Chicago’s Associate Board is presenting the Cara Summer Social on Wednesday, August 9th at Loews Chicago Hotel. This year’s event marks Cara’s 5th Annual Summer Social and all proceeds raised will benefit Cara’s work to alleviate poverty in Chicago.

The theme of this year’s event is “A Taste of Gourmet. A Toast to Motivations” and will feature chef stations from some of Chicago’s most popular gourmet restaurants. Attendees will enjoy dishes prepared by chefs from Lobo Ray, Marchesa, Emilio’s Tapas Sol Y Nieve, The Dawson, Nonnina & Piccolo Sogno, Marchesa and Olive Mediterranean Grill. The event theme is also a reference to Cara’s tradition of “Motivations”.  Motivations are daily circles in which Cara participants and community members are welcomed to gather and share personal stories of strength and perseverance. Motivations include group song and feature focus questions such as Who inspired you this week and how?”,  to which participants are encouraged to share any answers or thoughts from their experiences.

These Motivations are just one of the ways Cara helps empower those living in poverty transform their lives. Cara works with individuals facing homelessness, unemployment and poverty, some of whom have criminal records that provide additional barriers to securing employment and reliable housing. The mission of Cara is to help individuals break this cycle of poverty by providing job and skills training and working with program participants throughout the job placement process and beyond.

With more than 600,000 Chicago residents living in poverty and more than 6,000 living on the streets, services like those offered by Cara provide much-needed tools for some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. Graduates of Cara’s programs who find employment have an average annual retention rate of 70%, much higher than the nationwide average of 49% noted a feature in See Change Magazine. With programs like Motivations and events that celebrate and empower participants, Cara is dedicated to staying in touch with individuals even after they have graduated from Cara’s programs and found permanent employment. Events like Cara’s Summer Social help spread awareness of Cara’s mission and help Cara continue to provide quality programs to Chicago residents most in need.
For more information and tickets options for Cara’s Summer Social, visit the event page.

US-China Strong Partners With WeChat App to Support Cross-Cultural Connections

The US-China Strong announced their new partnership with mobile app WeChat to deepen engagement between American and Chinese Citizens.

This April, the US-China Strong Foundation announced a new partnership with WeChat, a mobile instant messaging app, to expand engagement between American and Chinese citizens. Through the partnership, US-China Strong has an exclusive WeChat Official Account that will provide resources to Americans learning Chinese language and culture, and encourage greater interaction between American and Chinese users. The cooperation with WeChat will help further US-China Strong’s mission to strengthen relations between the two countries through education and personal connections.

The US-China Strong WeChat Official Account features language learning tools, games, scholarship information and other resources that will help American students connect with Chinese classmates and friends. With nearly 900 million active monthly users, WeChat is a leading social communication service. Eugene Huang, the acting CEO of US-China Strong, expressed the value of the partnership in enhancing US-China relations.

“While the bilateral relationship impacts a range of critical global issues – security, trade and the economy, climate change and more – its foundation ultimately rests on people-to-people ties,” Huang stated in a press release. “We’re thrilled to work with WeChat and look forward to seeing more young Americans on our WeChat Official Account as they interact with their Chinese peers to gain a better understanding of the Chinese culture, language, business and history.”

US-China Strong and WeChat announced their cooperation at the “Bridging the Cultural Gap” conference at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The conference focused on US-China relations and featured panel discussions and speakers from business, academia and non-profit sectors.

Robert Roche joins Board of Directors of The Center for New American Security (CNAS)

The Center for New American Security announced that Robert Roche has joined the organization’s Board of Directors.

The Center for New American Security (CNAS) announced this week that Robert W. Roche, President of Roche Enterprises, has joined the organization’s Board of Directors. In his new role, Roche will join the other Board members in providing oversight as well as strategic direction for CNAS.

The Center for New American Security is a bipartisan nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.  The organization was founded in 2007, and conducts research and analysis on U.S. national security and defense policies. CNAS also provides policy recommendations to inform the decisions of the U.S. government, private sector leaders and the public. The organization engages policy experts, policymakers and the American public to elevate the national security debate and inform current and future national security leaders.

Robert Roche was selected to join the CNAS Board of Directors due to his extensive business experience and civic leadership in the U.S. and Asia. Roche has founded, invested in and helped lead businesses in U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region for more than 30 years. He has also been active in the American Chambers of Commerce of both Japan and China and represented the U.S. as a member of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy from 2010-2014.

“We are excited to have Robert join our Board,” Kurt Campbell, CNAS co-founder and Board of Directors Chair stated in a press release. “Having lived in Asia for over three decades and by working diligently on both sides of the Pacific, he provides CNAS both an on-the-ground perspective and a businessman’s point of view.”

In his new role as a CNAS Board Member, Robert Roche recently published an op-ed in Newsmax arguing that economic and business ties in Asia are critical to U.S.-Asia relations.

Michèle Flournoy, Chief Executive Officer of CNAS, also stated in the press release “Robert’s experience as a global business leader will provide invaluable expertise to the CNAS Board of Directors. His insights and engagement will help CNAS have even greater impact in Asia – his particular focus – which has never been more important to U.S. interests.”