Asia in Action

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The Weatherhead East Asian Institute’s (WEAI) Asia in Action initiative is a dynamic showcase of scholarly work, artistic endeavors, and political action related to East and Southeast Asia that do not fall neatly into an academic paradigm. Asia in Action highlights the work and experiences of groundbreaking professionals, including writers, designers, artists, and activists working in East and Southeast Asia, and explores topics that are pressing and timely in our rapidly changing world. Through events programming, support for interdisciplinary research, and  collaborative projects, we hope the initiative will strengthen our ties to the community and shine a spotlight on individuals and groups whose work might have traditionally been overlooked by academia, but whose narratives of action can enrich our understanding of Asia.

Lan Cao
Unmasking the Vietnamese-American Identity and Embracing the Contradictions Within

On October 6, 2023, author, law professor, and Vietnam War refugee Lan Cao visited the Weatherhead East Asian Institute to speak with WEAI Asia in Action Producing Fellow Naja Pham Lockwood about her “rise from the fall” of South Vietnam. 

Migrant worker rights in Singapore
Migrant Workers Rights in Singapore: Advocacy, Legal Frameworks and Prospects for Change

In a webinar held on December 7, 2022, entitled "Migrant Workers Rights in Singapore: Advocacy, Legal Frameworks and Prospects for Change," Debbie Fordyce, president of Transient Workers Council Too, laid out the structural regime and history of how migrants come to work in Singapore. Also speaking at the event, Laavanya Kathiravelu, Associate Professor at Nanyang Technological University, focused on the impact of COVID-19 and the everyday lives of migrant men as well as Singaporeans’ views on migrant workers.

Chinese food
Teaching Asian-American History Through the Lens of Chinese Food

In a virtual event hosted by WEAI on May 3, 2022 a panel of historians discussed the intersection of Asian American history and Chinese food.

Vu Thao, Dorothy Ko, John Phan, Valerie Steele and Hazel Clarke discuss Modernity, Women, and Sustainable Fashion in Contemporary Vietnam
Sustainability and Social Issues on Display in KILOMET109 Designer Showcase

In a panel discussion on "Women, Modernity, and Sustainable Fashion in Contemporary Vietnam," fashion designer Vu Thao, FIT's museum director Valerie Steele, and Professors Dorothy Ko, Hazel Clarke, and John Phan addressed the intersection of fashion with sustainability, social justice, and economic change.

Xiaolu Guo and Qin Gao
Writer Xiaolu Guo Uncovers the Hybrid Identity Behind Her Work

WEAI Writer-in-Residence Xiaolu Guo explored the concept of hybrid identities in a dialogue with Professor Qin Gao, touching on the experience of femalehood in China, the creative process, and the role of artists in society. 

Xiaoxing Xi
Panel Discusses Impacts of Surveillance on Sino-US Scientific Collaboration

In an interdisciplinary discussion on December 2 titled “Open Science: Sino-US Collaboration in an Age of Surveillance,” panelists drew from personal experience and professional expertise, from the fields of science, law, and journalism, to consider the implications of the US government's counter-espionage policies for academia.

Asia in Action Scholars

Tony Bui
Tony Bui

Asia in Action Artist in Residence and film director

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