Mellon Foundation grants CAHSS $750K to establish Global Asias Initiative 

Published: Apr 3, 2024

A group of university professionals gather in a gold painted hallway. Global Asias Mellon Foundation
(l-r) Ana Oscoz, vice provost for faculty affairs, Kimberly Moffitt, dean of CAHSS, Matt Baker, professor of geography and environmental systems, and Preminda Jacob, associate dean and associate professor of visual arts. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

Kimberly Moffitt, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Socials Sciences, and co-pi Tamara Bhalla, associate professor of American studies and director of the Asian American studies minor, have been awarded a $750,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to establish the Global Asias Initiative. The initiative will support the rethinking of Asian American issues on campus in a global, diasporic, and collaborative framework through community-engaged, public-facing scholarship and teaching.

An adult with long brown hair wearing a navy dress stands outside in front of a building. Global Asias Mellon Foundation
Tamara Bhalla (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

“The impact and influence of the Asian diaspora in this region makes it clear that our world has more to offer in providing valuable opportunities for our students, while also creating additional partnerships with the greater Baltimore community,” says Moffitt.

UMBC’s existing Asian studies program and Asian American studies minor will grow into a more expansive Global Asias program that better serves and represents UMBC’s Asian American community, interested students, and beyond. This includes launching an undergraduate community-based research fellowship in Global Asias and the conversation series “Reframing Global Asias,” which invites prominent leaders, scholars, and community members in the field to present and discuss key issues, possibilities, challenges, and new research.

“Together,” says Bhalla, “we will create a forum for engaging in difficult yet productive intellectual conversations in Asian American studies, Asian diaspora studies, and Asian studies.” 

Faculty across UMBC are collaborating to bring the Global Asia Initiative to fruition along with community partners:
  • Meredith Oyen, associate professor of history and director of the Asian studies program
  • Shin Yon Kim, Asian studies lecturer
  • Fan Yang, associate professor of media and communication studies
  • Emily Yoon, assistant professor of English
  • Noor Zaidi, assistant professor of history
  • Christopher Tong, associate professor of modern languages, linguistics, and intercultural communication
  • Theo Gonzalves, former American studies chair and professor, curator of Asian-Pacific American history at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
  • Robbin Lee ’13, visual arts and media and communications studies, director of partnerships and mobilization at UpSurge Baltimore

Learn more about Global Asias and sign up for the Opening Workshop on April 5, 2024, 11:00 – 4:30 p.m. Learn more about UMBC’s Asian studies program.

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