Asian and Pacific Islands Studies Programs Receive More Than $3.7 Million in National Grants

School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies recognized among the best universities in the country for excellence in Asian and Pacific studies with National Re

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Julie Fujimoto, (808) 956-9197
Assistant to the Dean
Posted: Aug 1, 2003

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies (SHAPS) was recently notified by Hawaiʻi Congressman Neil Abercrombie‘s office that the school‘s East Asia Council—comprised of the Centers for Japanese, Chinese and Korean Studies—as well as the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Center for Pacific Islands Studies have been awarded National Resource Centers status by the U.S. Department of Education. With this acknowledgement comes more than $3.7 million to the university through highly competitive and prestigious grants awarded over a three-year period.

Every three years, the National Resource Centers program provides grants to strengthen nationally-recognized centers of excellence in foreign language and area or international studies, and for fellowship assistance to meritorious graduate students undergoing foreign language and area/international studies training. With the recognition comes the expectation that these programs will serve as national resources for training future specialists in these high-demand fields of international study.

"Having one National Resource Center at your university is considered a sign of international standing. Being awarded three NRCs places us in the top tier of international programs in the country, as peer universities receiving this recognition include UCLA, Berkeley, USC, Harvard, Yale and Michigan—a virtual ʻwho‘s who‘ of American universities," said SHAPS Interim Dean Edgar Porter. "It shows the strength of our faculty and students is second to none in the study of the Asia-Pacific region."

The grants awarded are for $1,431,000 to the East Asia Council, $1,366,785 to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and $939,000 to the Center for Pacific Islands Studies. A national leader in Pacific Islands studies, the UH Mānoa Center for Pacific Islands Studies is the only National Resource Center of its kind in the country. The East Asia Council is one of only 16 programs in the country to be recognized and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies is one of seven to be recognized. These UH Mānoa programs are recognized amongst the ranks of such world-class institutions as Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Stanford and UCLA.

According to reviewer comments of the centers‘ grant proposals, "The University of Hawaiʻi is obviously in a unique position geographically…and has capitalized on its unique resources. Especially impressive are its language…and foreign exchange programs."

"Receiving these awards is indication that Washington, D.C., and the government believe that our centers are eminently qualified to train the future experts in these high-demand fields," said Center for Japanese Studies Director Sharon Minichiello. "Not only do our students learn about the history, culture and economics of these regions, but they receive the very finest language training that an institute can supply."

Approximately 25 students will receive full-year tuition scholarships and stipends to support intensive language and area studies, and many will enroll in Asia Pacific universities during this period. Also, new and innovative courses will be developed and offered, some through Internet technology. Community outreach programs, focusing on K—12 students and teachers, will be enhanced through teacher conferences, development of instructional materials and lesson plans for teachers, the construction of Asia/Pacific web sites, and the sponsorship of film festivals and other arts initiatives. Additionally, faculty will have the resources to engage in cutting edge research, contributing to UH Mānoa‘s standing as a leading institution in Asia Pacific studies.

"The University of Hawaiʻi places special emphasis on Asia Pacific studies and this recognition received by SHAPS affirms the university‘s expertise in Asia Pacific studies," said Center for Pacific Islands Studies Director David Hanlon.

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