Chun Wah Chan Known as CW, was born in southern China, but grew up in Hong Kong. He finished college in Hong Kong and came to the U of C in the early 1970s to take up social work. For a number of years he served as the Director of Psychiatric Social Work for the Cook County Hospital. In 1978 he and his close friend Bernie Wong founded the Chinese American Service League to help Chinese immigrants find their way in the street of Chicago.
He speaks three versions of Chinese: Mandarin, Cantonese and Chew Jow, (phonetic) a dialect spoken by many Chinese from Southeast Asia. Because of his language capability, he has been able to cross the different lines of the Chinese community here in the U.S. By a trick of fate, as he tells me, CW moved from social work to business and when his father was tragically killed in a car accident, CW took over the family business. He became the president of the Pioneer Aquaculture Inc. a producer and distributor of freshwater fish. But, perhaps more importantly, he became a political liaison, between Chicago's Chinatown business and city government.
His many years of professional experience in the field of social work made him an extremely valuable leader in the business community in Chinatown. He has held many leadership positions and in fact, was the longest serving President of the Chinatown Chamber in Chicago. He has done much to bring the Chinese business community into America's mainstream CW was quoted as saying, "If you go to Chinatown, do not think of it as a visit to China Because Chinatown is part of the American community, a classic Chicago neighborhood."
AILF is proud to honor Mr. C.W. Chan for his tremendous efforts on behalf of his community and country.