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2024 AAPI Advancement Award Recipient

We are super excited to announce AAPAAN’s 2024 AAPI Advancement Award recipient: Professor Yoon Hwa Choi!

Yoon Hwa Choi headshotYoon Hwa Choi is currently Senior Lecturer of Korean and Director of Korean Language Program at UVA. She has taught both entry- and advanced-level Korean courses and, as any students who took her classes before would know, she makes Korean fun and easy to learn. She is beloved by her students for being “super approachable” for extra help (office hours, speaking practice, etc.), and they praised her dedication to the field and her willingness to meet students’ expectations and interests.

As an active member of UVA’s AAPI community, she has spent the past 10 years developing the Korean language program and contributing towards the understanding and appreciation of Korean culture and Korean-American relations at the University. Among her many accomplishments, which have earned her praises from alumni in both Korea and the U.S., are the development of a guest lecture series and two language partner programs, engaging students to create a Korean community beyond the classroom, serving as a faculty representative for the Korean floor at Shea House, initiating the Korean Language Corner, and organizing reunions in Korea every summer for students.

The award honors faculty at the University of Virginia for their contributions to the AAPI community, and the recipient is chosen by alumni through an online nomination and voting process. We will honor Professor Choi at the AAPAAN Celebration and Rotunda Dinner event on April 11, 7-10 p.m. ET.
Additionally, two distinguished UVA faculty members – Professors Xiaoyuan Liu and Mieko Kawai – will each give a TED-talk-style talk on some of the unique challenges/opportunities currently facing our community. Learn more about our distinguished faculty and the lectures they’ll be sharing lectures below.

Perpetual Strangers: An Observation of the Long US-China Relationship

Xiaoyuan Liu headshotXiaoyuan Liu is David Dean 21st Century Professor of Asian Studies and Professor of History. His research interests include China’s ethnic-frontier affairs in international politics, Chinese-American relations in the 20th century, and East Asian international history. He is the author of several books including Frontier Passages: Ethnopolitics and the Rise of Chinese Communism, 1921–1945 (2004) and Reins of Liberation: An Entangled History of Mongolian Independence, Chinese Territoriality, and Great Power Hegemony, 1911–1950 (2006).

His latest book is To the End of Revolution: The Chinese Communist Party and Tibet, 1949-1959, in which he draws on unprecedented access to the archives of the Chinese Communist Party to offer a groundbreaking account of Beijing’s evolving Tibet policy during the critical first decade of the People’s Republic.

Collaborative Learning: A Journey with Students, for Students

Mieko Kawai headshotMieko Kawai is Distinguished Lecturer of Japanese and Director of the Japanese Language Program at UVA. Her areas of specialization include Japanese Linguistics and Pedagogy, Curriculum and Instruction, and Articulation and Advocacy in Japanese Language Education.

Committed to nurturing intellectually curious learners in an authentic, collaborative environment, she empowers students by engaging them in the design of their own learning process, fostering an inclusive community of active peer contributors. On a broader scale, she has contributed to the field in many ways, notably as co-organizer for J-GAP from 2011 to 2015, which significantly enhanced networking and dialogue among K-16 Japanese language educators across the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. She has also served nationally on the AATJ Board as co-director of the AATJ Spring Conference in 2021-2022. Kawai’s extensive teaching portfolio includes positions at the University of Maryland, University of Arizona, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University, as well as summer courses at Middlebury College Japanese Language School, Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, and Harvard University.