IU's 2015 observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month begins Sunday

  • March 26, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's annual observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month will begin Sunday, March 29, with the presentation of IU's Distinguished Asian American Alumni Award.

Cultural festivals, film screenings and panel discussions are among other highlights for the monthlong series of activities that highlight issues facing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Highlights include film screenings and a Q&A with director Ougie Pak at IU Cinema on April 2 and lectures by Amitav Ghosh, an internationally renowned South Asian novelist and writer. Unless otherwise indicated, events are free and open to the public.

Ghosh, a visiting Patten Lecturer, will speak at the annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month luncheon on April 8. Invitations are required.

Several activities for the month will highlight the role of immigrants in American life 50 years since the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (formerly Asian Pacific American Heritage Month) is celebrated nationally in May to recognize the history and diverse cultures and honor the contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

The IU Asian Culture Center, a unit within the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, celebrates during April to accommodate the academic calendar.

Distinguished Asian American Alumni Award

Receiving the Distinguished Asian American Alumni Award this year is Dr. George Woo, who came to IU to as a graduate student to conduct research on vision science, receiving a Master of Science degree in 1968 and a Ph.D. in 1970 at the School of Optometry.

His interest in studying the field of optometry led him to expand his academic career over the span of 40 years. 

Woo will receive the award during the IU School of Optometry's Borish Symposium at 4 p.m. Sunday, on the third floor of the school's building at 800 E. Atwater Ave. He also will attend a reception with students from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, at the Asian Culture Center, 807 E. 10th St.

He became a professor and administrator at the University of Waterloo, positions he kept until 1987 when he accepted a joint-appointment as head of diagnostic sciences at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He later became director of the China Ophthalmic Education Program and dean of its optometry program between 1997 and 2004, and then again from 2008 to 2011.

Today, he is professor emeritus at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has published more than 170 journal articles.

Presentations by Amitav Ghosh

In addition to speaking at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month luncheon, Ghosh will present two Patten Lectures, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, and on Thursday, April 9. Both events will take place in Presidents Hall of Franklin Hall.

Ghosh is an internationally renowned South Asian novelist and writer. He has received wide acclaim for his books "The Shadow Lines" and "The Circle of Reason," and more recently for "Sea of Poppies" and "River of Smoke," part of "The Ibis Trilogy." His works of fiction and nonfiction are transnational in scope and have engaged with historical and postcolonial themes. He is a novelist, social anthropologist, historian, travel writer and chronicler of ancient and lived histories.

The William T. Patten Foundation, which presents the lectures under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, brings scholars of national and international distinction in the sciences, humanities and arts to the IU Bloomington campus for lectures and other activities.

Film screenings

Director Ougie Pak, a writer and filmmaker whose work has screened in venues including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival, will be present for screenings of three short films, "The Boardwalk," "Panopticon" and "The 100 Percent Perfect Girl," beginning at 7 p.m. at IU Cinema, 1213 E. Seventh St. Pak also is a visiting lecturer in the IU Media School.

Pak has received awards from the National Board of Review and the Korean Ministry of Culture-Film Council and previously worked in the office of Antidote Films, where he aided the development and production of several acclaimed independent movies, including "The Kids Are All Right," "Mysterious Skin" and "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired." The event is free but ticketed.

Also being presented as part of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month film series is "Revenge of the Green Dragons," which begins at 3 p.m. on April 5 at IU Cinema. Martin Scorsese served as executive producer for the film from acclaimed directors Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo. Cost is $3 for students and $6 for the public.

Other events

  • 4 to 5:30 p.m. April 2 : "Experimenting with Freedom: Orangutan Rehabilitation and Decolonization in Sarawak," a lecture by Juno Parreñas in the Persimmon Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Parreñas is an assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Ohio State University.
  • 3:30 to 6 p.m. April 3: Huazhao Festival: A Chinese Celebration of Flowers at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 N. Indiana Ave. The festival of flowers will feature demonstrations of calligraphy, tea preparations, musical performances, and hands-on crafts.
  • 6 to 9 p.m. on April 3: Southeast Asia Night at Willkie Auditorium, 150 N. Rose Ave. This free event celebrates the cultures of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam through cultural performances, information booths and food.
  • 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. April 6: "Student Development Series: Study Abroad 101" at the IU Asian Culture Center, 807 E. 10th St. The presentation will provide basic information students need about studying abroad, including, eligibility requirements, available financial aid and scholarships and how to apply.
  • 9 a.m. April 11: The Asian American Association conference, "Plant the Seeds" in room 015 of the Fine Arts Building, 1201 E 7th St.
  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 15: "Carnival of Care," part of IU's Culture of Care week, in Dunn Meadow.
  • 7 p.m. April 15: “Re-Examining Race & Religion in America: A Presentation on Diverse and Dynamic Latina/o Muslim Groups” in the Dogwood Room of the Indiana Memorial Union.
  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 16: Asian Art Showcase at the IU Asian Culture Center.
  • 12:30 to 2 p.m. April 17: "Mediating Hmong America: Participatory Cultures Beyond the Digital Divide" in Ernie Pyle 220. Lori Kido Lopez, assistant professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will discuss the way that Hmong American media practices reflect a new understanding of how immigrant communities are developing and utilizing culturally specific media technologies in the digital era.
  • 2 to 4 p.m. April 17: School of Public Health Workshop, "Bridging Cultures: Asian American Communities," in Mobley Auditorium of the School of Public Health.
  • 5 to 6 p.m. April 17 (or April 24 depending on weather): "Holifest" in the courtyard of Collins Living-Learning Center. It includes a color fight near the end of the program. Holi, one of the most festive holidays in India, is commonly known as a festival of colors; it is a day to dance, eat delicious food, and throw colored powder to symbolize the coming of spring and the bringing of good harvests.
  • 10 a.m. to noon April 18: Asianfest at the Bloomington Farmers Market, 401 N. Morton St., co-sponsored by the City of Bloomington's Safe and Civil Program and the Bloomington Farmers Market. Diversity within Asian cultures will be on display through cultural performances, art crafts, and activities such as chopstick challenge, calligraphy, henna and more. Cooking demonstrations also will show traditional Asian dishes are prepared. In case of rain, the event will be indoors at the Showers City Hall Atrium.
  • 5 to 9 p.m. April 18: Filipino Night in the student activity room of Briscoe Residence Center, 1225 N. Fee Lane.
  • 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 21: "What's a Green Card? A Brief Overview on the U.S. Immigration Process" at the IU Asian Culture Center.
  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 22: ACC’s Student Recognition Banquet, in the University Club of the Indiana Memorial Union. By invitation only.
  • 3 to 5 p.m. April 28: Book talk and reception featuring Dina Okamoto, IU associate professor of sociology, in the Bridgwaters Lounge of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave. Okamoto will discuss her recent book, "Redefining Race: Asian American Panethnicity and Shifting Ethnic Boundaries."
  • Ongoing through June 7: The exhibit, "Still/Moving: Puppets and Indonesia" at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

The sponsors and participating organizations for 2015 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and its events include the Asian American Studies Program; Asian Pacific American Faculty and Staff Council; the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society; City of Bloomington's Safe and Civil Program; Collins Living-Learning Center; IU Cinema; the IU East Asian Studies Center; IU Fine Arts Department; The Media School at IU; IU School of Public Health and the Office of Overseas Study.

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Media Contacts

George Vlahakis

  • IU Communications
  • Office 812-855-0846
  • Cell 812-345-1500
  • vlahakis@iu.edu
  • IU Inc.

Melanie Castillo-Cullather

  • IU Asian Culture Center
  • Office 812-856-5361
  • acc@indiana.edu