On May 18, 2023, Portland Japanese Garden and Japan Institute CEO Steve Bloom was the recipient of the Oregon Consular Corps (OCC) Ambassador Award. The OCC is an organization comprised of career and honorary consular officials who have represented foreign nations and jurisdictions in the Pacific Northwest. Each year the OCC, alongside Nike, the Port of Portland, City of Portland, and State of Oregon hosts their Celebrate Trade event, an annual gala that helps fundraise their Scholarship Fund as well as honors organizations and individuals for their contributions to the region’s economic vitality and quality of life. Speakers at the event included Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Portland Japanese Garden Board of Trustees Member Barton Eberwein.
Bloom, who has been CEO of Portland Japanese Garden since 2005, has transformed not only the landscape of Portland but the international field of Japanese gardens and the global conversation around the art and importance of cultural diplomacy. Bloom’s visionary approach promotes the belief that at the intersection of the built, natural, intellectual, and creative environments, humanity can achieve better mutual understanding.
“It’s a real honor to be receiving this Ambassador’s Award from the Oregon Consular Corps,” Bloom shared. “It’s a great joy to be able to bring people together in this setting of just glorious beauty, for people-to-people diplomacy. The OCC mission, in terms of helping young people understand international trade and international relations is really critical, especially to the work that we do. To go out and see the world, to understand different points of view, will help to shape a global world for the future.” To hear all of Bloom’s remarks, watch the video below.
This marks another notable accomplishment by Steve Bloom during his nearly two decades of leadership of Portland Japanese Garden. In 2015, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded Bloom the Foreign Minister’s Commendation in honor of his outstanding achievements in the promotion of friendship between Japan and the United States. He was also a recipient of the “2017 Portland Award,” for his contributions to Portland’s visitor industry. Bloom was also bestowed an Honorary Membership by the Garden Society of Japan in recognition of outstanding achievements in the promotion of Japanese Gardens worldwide. In 2022, he was given Kaneko Kentaro Award by the America-Japan Society in recognition of his longstanding contributions to grassroots exchanges between Japan and the United States.