Author: Hummel, Chloe

Operation Babylift: An Adoptee’s Perspectives on the Vietnam War

Operation Babylift Poster

Operation Babylift

Mahli Xuan Mechenbier was adopted from South Vietnam through Operation Babylift after an American missionary nun found her next to a road outside of Saigon. Often categorized as a “humanitarian mission” by the United States government, Operation Babylift—which evacuated over 3,000 children during and after the Fall of Saigon—can also be characterized as controversial as definitions of “refugee,” “adoption,” and “identity” are evaluated and scrutinized. 

Come share the experiences of an adoptee who arrived to the United States on the Lift and participate in a discussion regarding citizenship, ethnicity, and perspective. 

Mahli Xuan Mechenbier

Mahli Xuan Mechenbier teaches Technical Writing, Professional Writing, Introduction to LGBT Literature, and College Writing at Kent State University: Geauga. Mahli graduated with a Master of Arts in English Literature from John Carroll University and a Juris Doctor from The University of Akron. She was the recipient of the College of Arts & Sciences 43rd annual Distinguished Teacher Award in 2012.

Her research interests include asynchronous online tone and communication methods; how academic administrations manage and budget distance learning; the unionization of professors; and the employment conditions and intellectual property rights of contingent faculty members. She enjoys teaching the professional aspects of writing and stresses the importance of word choice, soft skills, and accurate language delivery in her classes. Prof. Mechenbier has been teaching at Kent State University since 2003.

When? March 23rd, 5:00pm

Where? Asian American Cultural Center (Student Union 424)

Upcoming Book Talk: “The Cultivated Forest”

UConn’s History Department and Asian and Asian American Institute present an East Asia Workshop Series Book Talk via Zoom on February 17, 2023 from 3:00-4:00pm EST.

Book Talk Poster

The book, “The Cultivated Forest: People and Woodlands in Asian History,” synthesizes multiple perspectives on Asian forests from early history to the near present.

Join editors and speakers Ian M. Miller (St. John’s University), Bradley Camp Davis (Eastern Connecticut State University), Brian Lander (Brown University), and John S. Lee (Durham University).

Register in advance via the QR code, or click here. 

Film Screening: Chinatown Rising

Film Screening: Chinatown Rising

Film Screening PosterAAASI presents a UConn Honors screening of the Chinatown Rising documentary on March 1, 2023 from 5:30-7:30pm at the Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center. There will be a Q&A with Co-Director Josh Chuck after the screening.

About the film:

Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s, a young San Francisco Chinatown resident armed with a 16mm camera and leftover film scraps from a local TV station, turned his lens onto his community. Totaling more than 20,000 feet of film (10 hours), Harry Chuck’s exquisite unreleased footage has captured a divided community’s struggles for self-determination. Chinatown Rising is a documentary film about the Asian American Movement from the perspective of the young residents on the front lines of their historic neighborhood in transition. Through publicly challenging the conservative views of their elders, their demonstrations and protests of the 1960s-1980s rattled the once quiet streets during the community’s shift in power. Forty-five years later, in intimate interviews these activists recall their roles and experiences in response to the need for social change.

New AAPI Advisory Board


The Asian American Studies Institute is partnered with the State Department of Education to collaboratively build a new set of resources, lessons, and professional development pathways that create confidence and competence in teaching the global, national, and local dimensions of Asian American and Pacific Islander history, culture, and politics. 

We are constituting a K-12 AAPI Advisory Board co-chaired by Gurmeet Singh and AASI Director Jason Chang to work to make our state’s K-12 curriculum more inclusive.

To learn more about the Advisory Board and its members, click here. 

Research Slam

 AASI Research SlamAd for Staff Research Slam

Want to learn more about minoring in Asian & Asian American Studies? Make sure to check out the faculty research slam featuring Jason Oliver Chang, Alexis Dudden, and Jungmin Song.

When? Tuesday, November 15th

Where? SU 424 from 12:45-1:45pm.

Nazrul Committee of Connecticut

Nazrul Committee of Connecticut / Nazrul Endowment Program

Since 2006, the Nazrul Committee of Connecticut has planned, organized, and hosted events guided by the spirit, example, and scholarship of internationally known and globally recognized activist/scholar/poet/philosopher Kazi Nazrul Islam, the first poet laureate of Bangladesh.

From symposia to lectures, from poetry readings to play performances, the Nazrul Committee of Connecticut endeavors to make relevant, visible, and urgent Kazi Nazrul Islam’s work with regard to equality, social justice, peace, and human rights.

In 2011, the Nazrul Committee of Connecticut – in partnership with the UConn Asian American Cultural Center and the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute – embarked on a highly successful fundraising campaign intended to institutionalize its programmatic and scholarly vision with regard to commemorating and contemplating Kazi Nazrul Islam’s legacy. 2012 marked the inaugural year for the Nazrul Endowment Program, which annually funds scholarly lectures, creative arts programs, and other human rights initiatives.

Please visit our website for more detailed information. To support the Nazrul Fund at UConn, please click here.

Guest Lecture: Is Giving Birth Comparable to Writing Books?

Is Giving Birth Comparable to Writing Books? Informational FlyerIs Giving Birth Comparable to Writing Books?

Join Dr. Noelle Leslie dela Cruz’s guest lecture on Thursday, October 13th from 2:00-2:50pm in Austin 108. The lecture will also be livestreamed here.

Noelle Leslie dela Cruz is Full Professor of Philosophy at De La Salle University (Manila). Her recent publications are Philosophy of the Human Person: Giving Meaning to Life (Oxford, 2020) and Sisyphus on the Penrose Stairs: Meta-Reveries (Vagabond Press, 2017). Leslie’s poetry collection won First Prize in Poetry (English) at the 67th Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, the most prestigious national literary award in the Philippines. Her research and teaching areas include existential phenomenology, philosophy of literature, and feminist philosophy.

Helen Zia: Guest Speaker, October 4th

Flyer for October 4th EventTuesday, October 4th

Join writer, activist, and Fulbright Scholar Helen Zia at 6:00pm in the Hartford Infinity Hall.

Zia’s first book, Asian American Dreams, chronicled the emergence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in contemporary America. Her latest book, Last Boat out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chines who Fled Mao’s Revolution, was named an NPR best book of 2019. Zia is also an activist against anti-Asian violence featured in the award winning film Who Killed Vincent Chin?