The Center for Asian Studies is both a place and a concept. Our physical location – adjacent to the Center for Translation Studies – could not be more symbolically appropriate. Like translators, we provide opportunities to encounter and gain a deep, nuanced understanding of other cultures. Our mission reflects the eloquent observation of the journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski that “the cultures of others are a mirror in which we can examine ourselves in order to understand ourselves better.” Whatever our cultural background or perspective, the study of Asia sets us all on a path to perceive our common humanity more clearly.
Although the physical office has been quiet for the past six pandemic-troubled months, the Center has not been quiescent. To help refine our vision and goals, we established a Faculty Advisory Board and an International Advisory Council. To increase our value to the community, we expanded the non-credit language classes that we offer to include Japanese and Hindi. To increase awareness and interest in Asian Studies among all students, we introduced into the curriculum, in partnership with the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College, a new undergraduate seminar on “Issues in Asian Studies.”
The Center for Asian Studies is dedicated to more than just building bridges across cultural divides. We want to create at UTD an environment where students (in the sense that we all are life-long students) from many cultures can exchange knowledge, ideas and understanding across the spectrum of human achievement. We aspire to supporting projects that integrate the sciences, humanities, engineering, the arts, commerce and more. Concepts, unlike offices, are always open.
Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, Founding Director