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Bandana Purkayastha 2016 ASA Award and United Nations WHO Initiative

Bandana Purkayastha Receives 2016 American Sociological Association Contribution to the Field Award and United Nations WHO Invitation

The president elect for the Asia & Asian American section of the American Sociological Association, Jianbin Shiao, presented the 2016 Contribution to the Field Award to AAASI’s core faculty Bandana Purkayastha. This award recognizes professors who have worked to build the fields of Asian and/or Asian American Studies within their institutions and the discipline at large.



On hand to show their support for this prestigious honor were UConn alumni, many of them her former advisees and now current professors in the field. Also in attendance were AAASI colleague Manisha Desai and CLAS Associate Dean Davita Glasberg, both of whom are also fellow Sociology faculty at UConn.

In his remarks, Dr Shiao noted that Bandana Purkayastha’s nomination included letters of support from 23 colleagues, including many of her former advisees who now fill tenure-track faculty lines. He pointed out that Purkayastha has been recognized seven times before, for teaching and mentoring awards from her home department, the University of Connecticut, the State of Connecticut, and the ASA. And while Purkayastha is a prolific scholar, whose work appears in 11 books and over 50 peer reviewed articles and chapters on migration, ethnicity, violence and peace, human rights, and women’s marginalization and resistance, he singled out three of her most influential books – (2005) Negotiating Ethnicity: Second Generation South Asian Americans Traverse a Transnational World, (2011) Human Rights in our Backyard: Injustice and Resistance in the U.S. and (2012) As the Leaves Turn Gold: Asian Americans and Aging. The committee for the 2016 ASA Section on Asia and Asian America Contribution to the Field Award also included Dr Prema Kurien.

In June 2016, Bandana Purkayastha’s expertise on women, migration, and human rights and reputation in the field formed the basis for the invitation to a WHO-led initiative entitled “Women on the Move: The Health Contributions and Consequences of Women’s Mobility” from Dr Flavia Bustreo (Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health) and Dr Veronica Magar (Team Leader for Gender, Equity and Human Rights Unit). The primary role of the WHO (World Health Organization) is to direct international health within the United Nations’ system and to lead partners in global health responses. The working group included expert group scholars and policy actors from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America to provide input for the development of a report and recommendations on women, migration, and health — providing key findings, challenges and possibilities for reform.

BANDANA PURKAYASTHA consulting with WHO Team Leader for Gender, Equity and Human Rights VERONICA MAGAR at right

BANDANA PURKAYASTHA consulting with WHO Team Leader for Gender, Equity and Human Rights VERONICA MAGAR at right

Dr Ilona Kickbusch (Director, Global Health Programmme, Geneva Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies) is currently guiding the development of the report, and our very own Dr Purkayastha will form part of a smaller expert group tasked to review the draft report.

Once this report is completed, it will provide guidance to policy makers, programmers and social reformers committed to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda. This WHO report follows up on the G7 Forum for Dialogue with Women, hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in September 2015, and will provide input to further discussions concurrent with the German presidency of G20 in 2017.

The Asian/Asian American Studies Institute is tremendously proud to announce Professor Purkayastha’s ASA Award and this important WHO/United Nations report. Congratulations and thank you!