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

Published: Apr 3, 2024

A panel of professors talking with a projector screen behind them
(l-r) Fan Yang, Tamara Bhalla, Emily Yoon, Noor Zaidi, and Meredith Oyen discuss their work and the fields of Asian and Asian American studies at the Global Asias Initiative launch workshop. (Abnet Shiferaw)

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.

“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.

Two college students stand by a table while talking to a professor who is sitting down at the Global Asias launch
(l-r) Emily Yoon and students at the Global Asias Initiative launch workshop.
(Abnet Shiferaw)

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.” 

A group of seven adults stand side by side for a picture inside in a hallway with windows in the background
Global Asias Advisory Board, AY2023-2024. (l-r) Tamara Bhalla, Noor Zaidi, Meredith Oyen, Fan Yang, Theo Gonzalvez, Emily Yoon, and Priya Bhayana, project manager for the Global Asias Initiative. (Abnet Shiferaw)
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 the Global Asias Iniatiave and Asian studies program.

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