A Word from the Director, Spring 2020


Dear Friends and Members.

Our Center had a very busy Fall 2019, and Spring Semester promises to be even busier. We are now well into Year 2 of our federal Title VI funding that helps us support a wide range of activities that promote the study and knowledge of East Asia. One particularly proud statistic I can report to you; the Center has provided 28 scholarships to students to study Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages since we regained funding for the important FLAS program in our new Title VI grant. That grant has also enabled the Center to support several ongoing and new outreach initiatives, such as the annual “Institute for Curriculum and Campus Internationalization” that brings faculty to IU in early summer to learn how to internationalize their curricula and campuses. We also provided support to a mathematics faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College to build a new mathematics course that assesses carbon footprint and poverty levels in several Asian countries. We have also hosted several visiting speakers to give talks in our regular Friday noon Colloquium. These ranged from “Inter-Korean Relations” to “Artistic Imagination in Postwar and Postmillenial Japanese Picturebooks” to “Neurocognitive and Computational Approaches to Second Language Learning.” The Center also continues to support a unique exchange between K-12 art teachers in Indiana and Hiroshima, Japan. Last summer Associate Director Theresa Kang and Outreach Director Anthony Ross led a two week study tour of South Korea for K-12 teachers funded by the Freeman Foundation’s “National Consortium for Teaching Asia” grant to the Center. We also started a new collaboration with colleagues at the University of Indianapolis to host the annual China Town Hall event.

We have another busy Colloquium and Special Events schedule already well underway, and we would love to have you join us as you are able. One special event worth noting will be a roundtable on Islamic Economies across Eurasia on March 27 (this event brings in three speakers who represent East Asia, Central Asia, Russia). We are also getting ready for our annual celebration of Korean culture that we sponsor in April.

Looking ahead to Fall and the start of the 2020-21 academic year, the biggest event for our Center will be hosting the annual Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs here in mid-October. This conference circulates in the Midwest, but this will be the first time in over 20 years that IU has hosted it! Please plan to join us if you are able. We are also already in the throes of inviting an exciting lineup of guest speakers for Fall, so stay tuned for that news as well.

I also invite you to support the Center financially. We do a lot on a fairly thin budget, and it is frustrating for me as the Director to have to say “no” to many worthwhile endeavors because we just don’t have the budget. If you are able to help us, rest assured that we work hard to ensure our funding is used as efficiently and effectively as possible. It is really quite surprising to me to see just how many activities and people our rather modest budget supports each year. Finally, if you are in Bloomington, please stop by the Center and say Hi.