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UH Manoa professor assumes national leadership for the Association of Asian Studies

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Office of the Dean, (808) 956-8922
School of Hawaiian Asian and Pacific Studies
Posted: Mar 31, 2005

Barbara Watson Andaya, Director of the UH Manoa Center for Southeast Asian Studies, has begun a term as National President for the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) at the Association‘s annual meeting in Chicago this week.

The AAS is the largest society of its kind in the world, bringing together a wide variety of academics and professionals to facilitate contact and exchange of information to increase understanding of East, South, and Southeast Asia. The organization‘s membership includes scholars, business people, diplomats, journalists, and interested lay persons.

Andaya is the first woman Southeast Asianist" to head the sixty-year-old organization. She has been at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa as a teacher and scholar since 1994 and has served as director at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies since 2003. The Center is one of three area study programs in the School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies designated as National Resource Centers by the U.S. Department of Education.

While at the conference, Andaya will chair a roundtable discussion by scholars and specialists from around the world on the response and recovery following the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami devastation.

"We are concerned that the tragedy in South Asia may become ʻyesterday‘s news‘," Andaya said, "and that the long-term need of the victims will no longer attract world attention. There is an enormous need for interested groups like the Association for Asian Studies to be involved in recovery efforts," she added, "especially in rebuilding schools and universities which, apart from physical structures, lost so many students and faculty."

The new AAS president received her BA at the University of Sydney, a master‘s at UH Manoa, and a doctorate from Cornell University. Her most recent book is a History of Malaysia, published by the UH Press in 2001.