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   Letter from the Chair of AAHEC

Dear Friends:

We are living in a time of crisis; a time that challenges us to make difficult decisions; a time that forces us to search for the fundamental principles on which we identify ourselves as new members of our free society.

For more than ten years, AAHEC has focused its energy on building a bridge between academia and the Asian American community. Towards that end, it has organized many workshops, symposia, and conferences that were broadly attended by faculty, students and community representatives. From the start, we realized that a full understanding of the Asian American community could not be accomplished in isolation. It required an understanding of Asia, America and their trade relationships. The establishment of an Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) at CUNY has therefore been a goal of AAHEC for the past decade. Through the concerted efforts of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, and the support of Trustees Satish Babbar and Wellington Chen, this dream has moved much closer to reality.

The horrendous disaster in New York, in addition to its enormous toll on human lives, unfortunately, has also created havoc in the CUNY budget, which adversely affected the financial support for the proposed institute. At this critical juncture when Asian American issues face another setback, it is easy for us to feel disappointed and discouraged. But this is a time of crisis; a time that tests our resolve to overcome all obstacles; a time that calls for selfless sacrifices. Like our hero at the World Trade Center, Zhe Zeng, who rushed to the rubbles to save his fellow citizens, we too, will stand up and face the challenge. We will redouble our efforts to reach the goal, because the proposed institute is important not only for Asian Americans, but for Asia and America as well.

Though not as much as we would like, AAHEC has made progress. The formal establishment of the institute at CUNY will allow us to begin the arduous process of fundraising. Your support has warmed our hearts, and filled us with courage. As we start on our long journey, we know that we can count on you. We are not alone. We shall overcome.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Tam, Ph.D.
Acting Chair

   AAHEC & Its Mission

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The Asian American Higher Education Council (AAHEC) was established in 1989 by a group of committed students, faculty members and administrators at the City University of New York. Its mission is to raise awareness of and provide solutions to Asian American issues in higher education. Towards this end, AAHEC has accomplished the following:

  • Conducted numerous regional and national conferences, on topics ranging from the social and economic needs of Asian American communities to leadership training for Asian Americans in higher education
  • Publication of newsletters and journals, which have included articles on policy issues concerning Asian Americans in higher education and coverage of talks and seminars by scholars on Asian and Asian American topics.
  • Championed the rights of Asian American faculty, staff & students, including the establishment of Asian American Studies courses at Hunter & Baruch Colleges.
  • Held numerous benefit events attended by over 600 participants to raise funds for scholarships, seminars & conferences
Presently, AAHEC is actively involved in a number of activities including:
  • Establishing the Asian and Asian American Research Institute (AAARI) at Queens College of the City University of New York. For more information on AAARI, click here
  • Planning for the 7th Annual Benefit Dinner, to be held on November 9, 2001. Proceeds from the Benefit Dinner will go towards funding the research institute (AAARI). For more information on the Benefit Dinner, click here
  • Organizing the Distinguished Speakers Forum
  • Outreach to students, faculty & administrators who are interested in Asian American issues in higher education. This includes the establishment of an active web site for AAHEC.


AAHEC members & supporters at AAARI reception (May 20th, 2001)

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Back Row (left to right): Chun Soo Pyun, Uday Naval, Ravi Kulkarni, Ngee Pong Chang, K.D. Irani, Hon. Wellington Chen, Hon. Satish Babbar, Thomas Tam.

Front Row (left to right): Betty Lee Sung, Tran Thi Nguyen, President Frances Horowitz, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, Margaret Chin, Sherry Hsu, Ishani Choudhuri.

Image credit: Tony Clarke

Over the years, AAHEC has been recognized and endorsed by many public figures in higher education and in the State of New York. Read what has been said about the Asian American Higher Education Council:

"It is gratifying to see an organization that is devoted to providing access to higher education and improving the quality of life."
-Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mayor of the City of New York, 4/28/94

"The Council's work on behalf of Asian American students has resulted in enhanced employment and educational opportunities, and your effort to promote equal access and academic excellence is a benefit for all New Yorkers."
-H. Carl McCall, State Comptroller of New York, 4/7/94

"…[O]rganizations like the Asian American Higher Education Council…provide positive role models and opportunities for development."
-Claire Shulman, President of the Borough of Queens, 4/8/94

"…The Asian American Higher Education Council plays an important role in the Asian community by acting as an advocate and spokesperson for the Asian community in the field of higher education…"
-Peter F. Vallone, Speaker, The Council of the City of New York

"May the Asian American Higher Education Council continue to serve our City for many, many years to come. Your outstanding work inspires us all."
-Alan G. Hevesi, Comptroller of the City of New York, 4/28/94

"…AAHEC has addressed the needs of Asian American students, especially in the areas of English as a second language, counseling, and Asian American perspectives on curriculum."
-Mario M. Cuomo, Former Governor of New York, 4/8/94

"The Asian American Higher Education Council plays an important role in the Asian community by acting as an advocate and spokesperson for the Asian community in the field of higher education. Higher education issues continue to be of growing importance especially when considering the increasing enrollment of Asian Americans in our City University."
-David N. Dinkins, Former Mayor of the City of New York, 4/22/93