New Asia Center created

By By Clayton Norlen

By Clayton Norlen

With the creation of a new Asia Center, the U will become the first institution in America’s mountain west to feature a center that focuses solely on Asian studies.

The Asia Center, an interdisciplinary program housed in the College of Humanities, will bring together students, professors from many different departments and backgrounds and members of the wider Salt Lake community. The center will focus on all areas having to do with Asia — culturally or geographically — offering an array of research interests.

The U Board of Trustees must review plans for the center before it can officially open.

“We wish to make our students fully educated global citizens,” said Robert Newman, dean of the Humanities College. “Therefore a knowledge of one of the most influential sectors, Asia, becomes a necessity for attaining a marketable education.”

The Asia Center will recruit existing faculty participating in Asia-based research or with ties to Asia to participate in the program. The center also has plans to host frequent lectures and seminars covering current issues involving Asia.

The Asia Center will work alongside the Hinckley Institute of Politics to create additional internship programs in Asian countries. These programs will attempt to place students among multinational corporations, government ministries and other organizations.

The center will work in tandem with Asian universities and the U’s study abroad offices to increase the number of U students studying in Asia.

According to Gov. John Huntsman Jr.’s 2007 economic summary of Utah, Utah’s largest export markets are Western Europe, Canada and East Asia. Exports to Asia make up nearly one-third of Utah’s total exports.

“The establishment of a Center for Asian Studies is long overdue here,” said Janet Theiss, who will be director of the Asia Center. “There is a need for advanced education on languages and cultures in Asia, and this center can fill that need.”

The Asia Center will also work with the Confucius Institute, an organization that is focused on educating the Salt Lake community on Chinese culture. The institute also offers intensive Chinese courses to the public, including language classes for children or travelers and courses in Chinese business etiquette and terms.

Starting Spring Semester, graduate students may apply for an interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Asian Studies. The degree requires students to base their studies on a certain region of Asia and from there students can specialize their study.

For more information on programming and degrees offered by the Asia Center, contact Janet Theiss at [email protected]

[email protected]