A Message from the Director

Welcome to the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, a hub for the study of modern and contemporary East, Southeast, and Inner Asia at Columbia University. Since its founding in 1949, WEAI has been a pioneer in East Asian Studies, expanding research in underexplored areas, fostering a collaborative community of experts from across disciplines, and offering unparalleled insight into one of the world’s most dynamic regions.

In these extraordinary times, a shallow comprehension of the facts is simply not enough to address the challenges of today. We witnessed the speed with which COVID-19 traveled around the globe from Wuhan, China, where the first cases were identified. And we watched as, in the ensuing weeks and months, misinformation, groundless theories, and prejudice spread even more aggressively. Ignorance and conjecture can lead to real world consequences. We have seen this most recently through the rash of bias attacks against individuals from Asian diasporic communities. 

As an Institute with over 70 years of experience contributing to and promoting understanding of East Asia and the surrounding region, we bear a responsibility to leverage our unique position and make the resources we have available to as many people as possible. I am proud to welcome you to our new website, which is now more accessible than ever before. I encourage you to explore the resources and digital content available throughout the site and sign up for our mailing list for weekly updates from the Institute.

From questioning assumptions and historical narratives to breaking down the silos that have long defined East Asian Studies, WEAI endeavors to stretch the limits of what an academic institution is and can be. As always, we hope you join us as we venture ahead in new directions.

—Eugenia Lean, Director, Weatherhead East Asian Institute