Why should we study Asia? People have asked me this question explicitly or in a roundabout way for decades, and I always appreciate the opportunity to talk about it.
First, consider the numbers. Asia, however defined, holds about 60 percent of the world’s population. But even beyond numbers, knowledge and understanding of Asia are foundational to becoming a global citizen—whether engaging through business, politics, religion, art, social justice, or any other field.
Our focus expands beyond Asia to include its diaspora, especially Asian Americans as the U.S. becomes more multiethnic, multinational, and multiracial.
Father Hesburgh understood this importance as evidenced through his efforts to connect with Asia, including his first trip to China in 1979. He wrote in his travel diary: “Anything related to a fourth of humanity must be important, however much it may differ from one’s own version and vision of what the world and mankind are and might be.”
In 2010 the Liu family of Gardena, California, expanded Hesburgh’s vision by establishing the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs. The Institute offers a supplementary major and minor and supports 90 faculty fellows from all of Notre Dame’s colleges and schools whose research ranges from anthropology to architecture to political science to philosophy.
The Liu Institute’s programming is as relevant as it is diverse and engaging, and we are excited to share our work with ThinkND, both through our content library and Approaching Asia, a new series based on the Liu Institute’s foundational course of the same name taught by East Asian Languages and Cultures Professor Lionel Jensen.
Thank you for learning with us!
Director, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies