Asian Studies Conference Coming to UCO 2019

The University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Arts will be hosting an Asian Studies Conference and Festival on April 5, 2019, in the College of Business to share the past, present and future of Asia in the context of globalization and multiculturalism.

The idea of the conference came from Anh Dinh, an international student from Vietnam majoring in English education. She said the purpose of the event is to connect the UCO community with the academic and festive aspects of Asian studies.

Dinh is the the conference coordinator, and makes logistic arrangements, seeks support from faculty members and promotes the event. She is working with co-coordinator Thanh Huynh, another international student and senior English education major.

“I feel there is a lack of resources available to both domestic and international students, even though they have a lot of interest in this area,” Dinh said. “Also, the event is a perfect chance to promote the Asian studies minor offered by the College of Liberal Arts.”

The conference is being supported and sponsored by STLR. According to Anh, the College of Liberal Arts is also providing support, including panels from professors and students from the English, political science, history and humanities departments.

During the planning period, they are also reaching out to student bodies, such as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the International Student Council and the Budo Society. They also hope to receive sponsorship from outside organizations such as the Western Pacific Institute and the Korean community in Oklahoma City.

Planning for the conference started in the spring 2018 semester. The conference was originally planned to be in September, but was delayed so that they could be more prepared.

“Through this event, I would like to introduce the dynamics of Asian cultures, science and economy to the UCO community,” Dinh said. “One particular ambition of mine is to leave this conference as a legacy in a form of a bi-annual event to broaden Asian studies students’ network.”

The keynote speaker will be Peter D. Hershock, director of the Asian Studies Development Program and an education specialist at the East-West Center in Honolulu. Hershock is involved in the Undergraduate International Foreign Language Studies grant, which also involves Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen from UCO’s Department of History.

Currently, the conference is calling for papers from students interested in voicing their opinions, which they could present during the conference.

The deadline for the abstract is Jan. 31 and the committee, which consists of three senior faculty members, will select the ones that best fit the theme of the conference. The committee will announce the ones chosen and arrange the individual papers into panels of three, based on a shared idea.

Topics are all dependent on what areas the submitted proposals cover. As of now, the coordinators are expecting panels on history, political science and literature.

Possible discussion topics include agriculture, business and finance, geography and history, food, literature, languages, philosophy, politics, popular culture, religion, arts, sciences, traditional medicine and more.

Zoie Hing, president of the Asian American Student Association, said she is pleased to find out that other people outside from the student organization are just as eager to educate the public on various aspects of Asian culture.

“I love that students are also able to be part of the conference by submitting papers to share their own ideas and develop new points of view on topics that may have not been discussed before,” Hing said.

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