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AAA Conference Draws Hundreds

By Vasugi V. Ganeshananthan, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

The Asian American Association sponsored its largest event of the year this weekend, the 10th Annual Harvard Asian American Intercollegiate Conference.

Over 200 students participated in the conference, according to conference co-director Emily Y. Yang '01-'00. About half hailed from Harvard, while others traveled from universities all over North America to attend the three-day event.

Conference guests, named "Heroine/Hero 2000" honorees, included author Lan Samantha Chang; J.D. Hokoyama, president and executive director of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics; Susan Mollway, a Harvard Law School graduate who is the first Asian Pacific American female judge to serve in federal district court; Professor Gary Okihiro, director of the Asian American Studies Program at Cornell University; Benjamin Sun, president and CEO of Community Connect Inc., a New York-based company that runs AsianAvenue.com and film director Renee Tajima-Pena '80.

Okihiro, who is also the visiting director of the Asian-American Studies department at Columbia, emphasized the need for greater attention to ethnic studies in a speech Saturday afternoon.

"There is a hunger--a painfully sharp hunger--for Asian-American studies in students east of California," he said.

Students in the audience asked Okihiro for strategies to promote such departments on their campuses. Okihiro cited a strike at Columbia and a sit-in at Princeton, both of which resulted in Latino and Asian-American Studies departments or positions.

He also advised students to involve faculty members in their efforts.

"At Harvard, I know they hire adjunct people to teach an occasional course. And that's okay. That's not great...There is

no commitment by the institution forpermanence," Okihiro said. "American historyshouldn't just be about white folk. That's bull."

Later in the day, in the Science Center'slecture hall E, Mollway spoke about thefrustrations of undergoing a lengthy three-stepprocess twice before attaining her judgeship.

Mollway also recalled attending a function forfederal judges. When she asked a security guardfor directions to the event, the guard assumedthat her husband was the judge and gave him thedirections instead.

"Someday it will be normal for people of allraces and creeds to be all profession," Mollwaysaid. "And that is the excitement I'm lookingforward to, because you're going to do that."

Yang thanked Mollway "for being such a rolemodel for all of us."

Yang, who co-directed the conference withSeng-dao Yang '01, said the conference ransmoothly with one exception--a number of roomshosting conference events were double-booked witha debate tournament.

"The debate tournament had just taken over alot of the room on campus. There seemed to be alot of problems with whom University Hall hadassigned the rooms to," Emily Yang said. "Both ofus had confirmation slips."

Yang said she was happy, however, withaudience-speaker interaction, which she said hadincreased from last year. In previous years, Yangexplained, speakers would fly in, give theirspeeches and leave.

"[This year's speakers] were very interactivewith the students and open with the students," shesaid. "They didn't hesitate to talk to themoutside their speeches...I think the delegatesreally enjoyed that."

Sean S. Cheng '02, conference leadership chair,attended one of the Saturday workshops, asushi-making seminar co-sponsored byHarvard-Radcliffe Japan Society.

"I'd never done that before," Cheng said. "I'ma big sushi fan too.

no commitment by the institution forpermanence," Okihiro said. "American historyshouldn't just be about white folk. That's bull."

Later in the day, in the Science Center'slecture hall E, Mollway spoke about thefrustrations of undergoing a lengthy three-stepprocess twice before attaining her judgeship.

Mollway also recalled attending a function forfederal judges. When she asked a security guardfor directions to the event, the guard assumedthat her husband was the judge and gave him thedirections instead.

"Someday it will be normal for people of allraces and creeds to be all profession," Mollwaysaid. "And that is the excitement I'm lookingforward to, because you're going to do that."

Yang thanked Mollway "for being such a rolemodel for all of us."

Yang, who co-directed the conference withSeng-dao Yang '01, said the conference ransmoothly with one exception--a number of roomshosting conference events were double-booked witha debate tournament.

"The debate tournament had just taken over alot of the room on campus. There seemed to be alot of problems with whom University Hall hadassigned the rooms to," Emily Yang said. "Both ofus had confirmation slips."

Yang said she was happy, however, withaudience-speaker interaction, which she said hadincreased from last year. In previous years, Yangexplained, speakers would fly in, give theirspeeches and leave.

"[This year's speakers] were very interactivewith the students and open with the students," shesaid. "They didn't hesitate to talk to themoutside their speeches...I think the delegatesreally enjoyed that."

Sean S. Cheng '02, conference leadership chair,attended one of the Saturday workshops, asushi-making seminar co-sponsored byHarvard-Radcliffe Japan Society.

"I'd never done that before," Cheng said. "I'ma big sushi fan too.

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