Studying the Global in the Local: Asian American Communities in Multicultural Queens


Asian/American Center's first Summer Institute (SI), held at Queens College campus from July 25-31, 2010, was a resounding success. The SI was an opportunity to bring together youth of diverse Asian and other backgrounds, from New York and other states, for an intensive week-long program focused on studying various aspects of local Asian American community experiences and their global dimensions.  During this week, the young participants attended a host of presentations, went on guided field tours to local neighborhoods with significant Asian American concentrations, and visited several community-based organizations.  More than anything else, they all stayed at the Summit, the new dorm at Queens College, interacting and bonding with each other during this entire time.

The pilot event was part of A/AC's initiative to establish a much-needed Asian American Pacific Islander Community Studies (AAPICS) curricular program at Queens College. Building upon A/AC's community-oriented mission, the new AAPICS program is implementing an interdisciplinary curriculum aimed at Queens College's multicultural students who come from global cultures and live in culturally diverse urban settings of Queens and the New York City.  Through the impact of continuous immigration for the past half-century, post-1965 Queens has become a string of neighborhoods where immigrants from all parts of the globe have gathered and established cultural traditions and social communities.   It is not uncommon to find persons from a wide range of races, ethnicities, religions, and languages living and working with each other. 

Asian American residents of Queens are a complex, diverse popluation: they not only include a great variety of cultures but also communities that constantly change due to ongoing immigration, intercultural relations with neighbors of other backgrounds who could be either immigrants or long-established American groups, strong communications with home-country and other global networks, and U.S. polices at home and abroad.  The younger generation of Americans growing up here, whether they are U.S. or foreign-born, face the unique challenge of shaping their identities and live amidst culturally diverse settings in the post-Civil Rights era.

More information about this SI is contained in a collection of reflection papers by students who participated in the Summer Institute of 2010.  This volume titled "At Home in the World: Young People Reflect on Asian American Communities," (Asian/American Center, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, NY, 2010) is available from the offices of Asian/American Center, Queens College.

(Click here for the 2011 program brochure in adobe .pdf format)

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