Dr. Jenny Banh was excited to share about her upcoming event titled Asia in Fresno – A Symposium on Campus & Community Partnerships. It will be taking place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 8:30AM to 5:00PM in North Gym 118.

This event is sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, and History, the API Faculty & Staff Association, the Henry Madden Library, the Central Valley Asian Women Association, and the Cross Cultural and Gender Center.

Dr. Bahn shared that the purpose of this event is to facilitate a dialogue on campus where Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander communities can learn about shared experiences, campus initiatives, and partnerships in order to learn new ways to work together.

“Fred Vermont came up with the idea of having this symposium about all of the Asian communities here in Fresno. It’s very important because the community is underserved. We have such a large Asian community here and there should be more information about this large community. It’s never been done before.”

Dr. Bahn also stated that the event initially started out as a fairly small project but grew beyond the committee’s expectations in a short amount of time.

“I don’t know how many people he emailed, probably a lot, but only 4 or 5 actually said they were interested. Originally, I thought it would be some small two-hour event but it eventually got bigger and bigger to where it is now an all-day event with probably over 20 presenters. All of these different groups came together and they all had ideas which added to it growing bigger.”

She explained that the first part of the event will be a showcase of successful collaborations within different Asian communities in the past. It will incorporate a short presentation from each of the speakers but it is unique in that it will encourage active participation from the audience in continuing the conversations. Dr. Bahn also shared that their keynote speaker of the event will be Dr. Franklin Ng.

“He has been here for over 40 years. He obviously knows everything about the Asian communities here and he’s researched and written many books. For someone to speak about 40 years of research about the Asians in Fresno, I just think that that’s very good. I think it’s going to be very important.”

The second half of the event will feature future collaborations. Dr. Bahn explained that this portion will be similar to ‘speed dating’ where various groups and individuals can come with their specific needs in which they engage in quick, yet intentional, conversations where those issues can be addressed by others who may already have the experience and knowledge.

“At first we were thinking about just presenting information on Asian communities in Fresno but then it ultimately morphed into doing collaborations. We thought, ‘How about we help each other?’ At the end, we’re going to have a resource guide where they can directly email each other. They can interface with each other but they also can ask each other for help.”

Dr. Bahn also wanted to stress the importance for students, especially Asian students on campus, to attend this event. She shared how vital it was for students to not only gain factual knowledge so that they could better serve the Asian communities here in Fresno, but also how important it is for students to see community leaders who share the same physical characteristics and cultural experiences as them.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for students. You have all of these Asian leaders in Fresno here at this event. You have real network and employment opportunities. It gives students an idea of what they might want to be. It’s historical knowledge but for students it’s also about seeing Asian leaders who look just like you. It’s self-esteem and leadership training.”

Asia in Fresno- A Symposium on Campus & Community Partnerships will be an all-day event in which students, faculty, and community members are welcome to attend. The event is free and both breakfast and lunch will be served for attendees. Those interested are encouraged to attend at any time throughout the day of the event.