Letter from the Director
As you’ll see in this year in review, the 2022-23 academic year was excellent for our efforts to educate about Asia. In particular, the Liu Institute hosted brilliant speakers at our signature events in the spring.
After a five-year hiatus, we held our Asia Leadership Forum on March 21, 2023, with guest speaker Maria Ressa, a Filipino and American journalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for reporting on abuses of power and fake news in the Philippines. Notre Dame Law Professor Diane Desierto, a Liu Institute faculty fellow and international human rights attorney, moderated the event.
A month later, esteemed Buddhist philosophy scholar Jay Garfield was our first in-person speaker for our Justice and Asia Distinguished Lecture on April 13, 2023. Mike Zhao, a Liu Institute faculty fellow and assistant professor of philosophy, moderated the discussion.
Both speakers delivered important messages on how to consider the problems of our world and how we might respond to them.
Ressa, who is known internationally for standing up to dictators and corruption, cautioned young people about looking for meaning in scrolling through social media and urged them to determine their values early in life to help them discern how they will respond to challenges. “You have to make it clear because we human beings have a wonderful ability to rationalize everything … You have to draw the line first before you can hold the line.”
Garfield urged his audience to pay attention to structural violence and to work to dismantle it as Buddhist doctrine prescribes. “Human rights and the pursuit of justice are an upaya, a skillful means that we can use in our rhetoric and in our action to realize these values of friendship, of care, of impartiality, of sympathetic joy in our political institutions and in the modern means through which we can dismantle and replace structural violence that conditions our collective life.”
Part of the mission of the University of Notre Dame is to “create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.” The Liu Institute was honored to contribute to the University’s mission in such a meaningful way this year, while simultaneously enhancing our community’s exposure to, and understanding of, Asian realities and Asian cultures and traditions.
The past years have seen an unprecedented increase in appointments of Asianists to the Notre Dame faculty. Also, the Liu Institute’s teaching programs in Asian Studies are attracting record numbers of students. We look forward to continuing our expansion, forging ever-closer ties between Asia and Notre Dame, and bringing nuanced and in-depth understanding of Asia to all members of our community.
In Notre Dame,
Director, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and Professor of Chinese Literature
The photo at the top of the page, of the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo, was taken by University photographer Barbara Johnston, who accompanied a Liu Institute-sponsored multidisciplinary research team to Japan in May 2023.
Ishika Sharan receives Liu Institute MGA fellowship
The Liu Institute provides a full-tuition fellowship each year to a first-year and a second-year Master of Global Affairs (MGA) student at the Keough School of Global Affairs whose academic and/or career interests are connected to Asia.
The 2022–23 first-year recipient was Ishika Sharan of India, who is pursuing the MGA’s governance and policy concentration.
Sharan previously worked as a research associate with the Trivedi Centre for Political Data in India, where she led projects that helped build open-source, accessible datasets on public institutions and power holders in India that will help answer questions about representation of power in the country. She holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from Ashoka University, where she was a Young India Fellow. She majored in political science and media studies, and her thesis examined the use of disinformation in news media as a way to legitimize political violence against minority communities in India.
Prior to her graduate studies, Sharan worked with the Akanksha Foundation, teaching students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and helping build sustainable liaisons with community members to ensure continued support and interest in the students’ education.
Four students graduated in 2023 with an Asian Studies supplementary major, minor, or Global Affairs concentration. History major Lingxiao Linda Gao earned the Asian Studies supplementary major. Economics major Conrado Alcantara earned the Asian Studies minor. Political science major Rose Benas and finance major Tommy Han earned the global affairs supplementary major with a Global Asia concentration.
Over 30 undergraduate and graduate students received funding from the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies for research, internships, conference presentations, and language study grants.
My Asian Studies Path
Jandro Alcantara ’23
Economics major, Asian Studies minor
Having grown up in the Philippines, I found it incredibly rewarding to deepen my knowledge of Asian Studies by pursuing a minor through the Liu Institute. My desire to expand my understanding of the region I call home led me to this academic pursuit. My time at Notre Dame has been nothing short of remarkable, allowing me the opportunity to learn from distinguished scholars in the field of Asian Studies and to meet exceptional individuals, such as Filipino activist Maria Ressa. The culmination of my studies— including my capstone project “Martial Arts Cinema: A Reflection of Chinese Ideology” with Professor Xian Wang—has provided me with a rich and nuanced appreciation of the complex history that underpins the Philippines. Looking back, I feel immensely grateful for the experiences I have had at Notre Dame and the invaluable insights I have gained, including those through my Asian Studies minor.
The Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies provides a forum for integrated and multidisciplinary research and teaching on Asia. It supports innovative projects that actively combine teaching, research, and social engagement, creating a unique model of rounded education on Asia. The Institute also promotes general awareness, understanding, and knowledge of Asia through organizing public events and supporting student and faculty scholarship, as well as interaction and exchanges with partners in Asia.
Our vision is to establish a world class, renowned, and multidisciplinary institute that leverages Notre Dame's strengths and that is consistent with the University's overarching mission. As we aspire to fulfill this vision, we acknowledge the contributions of our staff members and advisory board.
Michel Hockx, Professor of Chinese Literature
Christine Cox, Assistant Director for Programs and Strategy
Alexander Hsu, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Jennifer Lechtanski, Graphic Designer
Elisa Podrasky, Administrative Assistant
Katy White, Operations Manager
Liu Institute Advisory Board
Paul Roberts ’71, Chair
Paul Aiello ’86
Tim Andree ’83
Emily Liu Foy ’94
Atchi Nagai ’86 MBA
Edward Shaughnessy ’74
Ashley Zhou ’19