From the Director

Catherine Yeh, Director of the Center for the Study of Asia

Catherine Yeh, Director of the Center for the Study of Asia

Welcome to the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia! The importance of Asia as an economic force has been widely acknowledged in the last few decades. Asia as a cultural force, however, still needs to be understood; its rich culture and cultural vitality are not only true for its past but are also alive and act as a driving force in Asian society today. To help promote understanding of Asian people and Asia as a cultural sphere, we have worked since our foundation in July 2008 to serve our community of scholars and students with a rich program of on-campus events, and have offered to BU faculty our support for collaborative research ventures within and outside the university. The center is now part of a wider greater Boston community with strong ties to other local universities, the wider Boston community, nonprofit organizations and private entities working on Asia, as well as Asian government agencies.

To highlight Asia as a cultural force and to focus on crucial issues that animate Asia today, each year the center chooses a theme and develops a chain of events around it throughout the academic year. This year the theme is “ASIAN WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE.” The theme reflects the rise of Asian women in the last few decades in politics, economic life, and in the field of arts and cultural production. Well-known and high profile Asian women such as Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, an opposition politician who won the Nobel peace prize in 1991, Park Geun-hye, the President of South Korea, Yingluck Shinawatra, the Prime Minister of Thailand between 2011 and 2014, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the Managing Director of the World Bank Group, or Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, all are making an impact on international politics as well as financial and humanitarian organizations throughout the world. However, there are also many other women in Asia who might not be as well known, but who also play leading roles in advancing their nation and their people’s well-being and contribute daily to world affairs. This year, we will try to highlight both their achievement as well as those of the more famous and powerful women of Asia. In particular women we will focus on Asian women active in the cultural area or in policy-making positions with strong impact on the development of art and culture.

We hope BUCSA theme for this year will bring together faculty as well as students and student organizations to work together to promote and create new projects that highlight “ASIAN WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE.” We will continue to engage on multiple fronts in terms of serving our community and develop outreach programs, and count on the support of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, as well as the collaboration with the International Center for East Asian Archeology and Cultural History, the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, the Center for the Study of Europe, the Pardee Center, the Center for the Humanities, other centers and institutes, and all schools and colleges at Boston University. I invite you to learn more about BUCSA and about the study of Asia at Boston University by turning to our webpage and subscribing to our Weekly Newsletter. We hope you will take advantage of our classes and events to join our vibrant community! Keep in touch!


Catherine Vance Yeh