Get Involved

We encourage all students to become involved with the Weatherhead East Asian Institute by attending events and staying up to date with Institute programming or by more formally becoming involved with student organizations and the Undergraduate Initiative.

Graduate School Organizations

A number of independent student groups focused on East Asia are active in generating programming for the Columbia University community. The groups most closely affiliated with the Institute are:

The Asia Pacific Affairs Council or APAC is a student-run organization open to anyone in the Columbia community who is interested in East Asia, including students, faculty, and visiting scholars. APAC’s goal is to serve that community by holding events, distributing information and news (via the APAC Journal), and serving as a focal point for Asia-related activities and services, such as lecture and film series, job and internship information sessions, as well as social and educational events.

Click here to learn more about APAC and view past editions of the APAC Journal!

The Greater China Initiative (GCI) in Columbia University aims to promote interaction and connection between students who are interested in the economy, politics, business, and media of the Greater China region. It also aims to serve as a resource center for students who are planning to work, live, travel or learn more about the region. It taps mainly into the resources and network available within the School of International and Public Affairs and Columbia University which hails from all parts of Greater China.

The Japan Study Student Association is open to all who are interested in Japan ‘s politics, economy, culture and language. The goals of the group are: (1) to establish mutually-beneficial friendships between Japanese students and those from other countries by hosting seminars and social events; (2) to supply students who seek job opportunities in Japan with information for recruiting and internships; (3) to help students in their study of the Japanese language through regular language tables; and (4) to increase the level of interest and awareness of Japan. Events are held in English and Japanese and are open to the Columbia University community.

Korea Focus serves the SIPA student body by enhancing the level of student relations and understanding of Korea-related issues. The group organizes film nights, lecture series, language tables, internship panels, and various social events.

The Southeast Asia Student Initiative (SEASI) is a student-run organization that serves as a forum for interaction among members of the SIPA and greater Columbia community who share an interest in the Southeast Asian region. We are committed to promoting awareness, understanding and dialogue on the region’s culture, politics and economics through activities such as brown bag discussions, internship panels, movie screenings and lecture series. SEASI also promotes the expansion of Southeast Asia-related resources and course offerings, and works with university administrators to enact these additions. Follow us on Facebook


As a new student-initiated group, Taiwan Focus aims to foster understanding and awareness of this island country, and to encourage dialogue and research on Taiwan-related issues in Columbia University community. Taiwan Focus also serves as a platform to provide resources for those who are interested in studying and/or traveling in Taiwan. We organize and promote events including movie night, brown bag talk, seminar, cultural event, and art exhibition on- and off-campus, on various topics such as Taiwan’s society, culture, politics, economy, and history.

Xingzhihui is a graduate-student driven group that promotes the study of Chinese history and literature by organizing speakers, seminars, and professional development workshops for graduate students across disciplines within the Columbia community.

Benkyokai (or “study group”) at Columbia University brings together graduate students in anthropology, art history, economics, history, literature, political science, and religion interested in Japan-related studies to foster cross-disciplinary thinking and collaboration. Each monthly session serves the specific needs of current participants. All are welcome.

The Korean Studies Group (Paeumt’ŏ) is a graduate student group that meets biweekly to discuss major trends in English and Korean-language academic scholarship. It also encourages student presentations of upcoming conference papers or journal submissions, providing an unintimidating space for feedback and criticism. In the past it has offered film screenings and guest speakers, but the primary goal for this semester is to promote awareness of recent developments in North American and South Korean scholarship across various time periods and disciplines. The majority of the members are from EALAC, but we also have students from History, Political Science, Comparative Literature, Art History, and Anthropology departments.

Rikpé Khorlo (Khorlo for short) is the Columbia University Modern Tibetan Studies graduate student group.  We meet several times a semester to support each other in our studies and discuss common intellectual interests across disciplines in Tibetan Studies.  Khorlo activities range from discussing an article to sharing our own research or practical advice, to keeping each other up-to-date on resources, courses, and internships.  We are also pleased to host talks by visiting professors and experts. Please join us for our next meeting!