The Asia Center is dedicated to the support of Asian Diaspora Studies (including Asian American Studies), which includes collaborative outreach to both Harvard University and local communities. The Center also provides financial support to students and faculty whose research focuses on Asian diasporas both in the U.S. and globally. As one of the only Asia-related international centers at Harvard University without an affiliation to a specific region of Asia, the Asia Center aspires to expand its support of research, lectures, conferences, and other events with a focus on Asian diasporas.
The study of Asian diasporas is essential to understanding the experience and impact of Asian communities and Asia both historically and culturally. A sampling of recent graduate and undergraduate student Asian diaspora-related research projects supported by the Asia Center includes Vietnamese Catholic Refugee Community Building in Massachusetts, 1975-2000; Overseas Filipina Domestic Workers and the Rituals of Making a Filipino Space in the Diaspora; Southeast Asian American Buddhist Communities in Lowell, MA: An Evolving Landscape; and Moving to the Margins: Tracing the Tricontinental Popular in Indonesian-Cuban Cultural Exchange.
The Asia Center also supports many Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) student organization lectures, social events, academic conferences, and performances, including Harvard University’s first Asian American musical, The East Side. This support connects Asian and AAPI-identifying students across all of Harvard University, including its professional schools, for scholarly collaboration and community-building.
Through its programming and outreach, the Asia Center endeavors to address the troubling persistence of anti-Asian racism as it exists in the U.S. and throughout the world. Through collaborations with other Asia-related Harvard University international centers; the Harvard University Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights; student organizations such as the Harvard University Task Force for Asian American Progressive Advocacy and Studies; and the AAPI COVID-19 Project (a collective research project bringing together faculty, graduate researchers, and undergraduate research assistants at seven academic institutions in the United States) the Asia Center has helped to create programming that focuses on combatting racism while also providing a space for artists and scholars to work in safety.