Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies

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Photo: Glen Chua

Cutting across disciplines and area studies

The Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies provides an intellectual meeting ground for critical and self-reflexive conversations that cut across conventional academic disciplines and traditional area studies.

The program sponsors activities that bring the Asia-Pacific into global conversations about the most pressing issues we face in the contemporary world, while at the same time reflecting on the significance of the past for us today.

While the “Asia-Pacific” signifies a geographical region of the world, we recognize that it is ultimately an imaginary space whose boundaries are subject to negotiation and which may shift according to the issues we encounter. In a rough sense, however, we promote knowledge of Asia and its geographically contiguous Pacific region, while also addressing the presence of Asia and Asian populations in North America and throughout the world.


Our activities are aimed to strengthen undergraduate and graduate education, to contribute to excellence in scholarship, to support student initiatives and leadership development, and to advance knowledge of the Asia-Pacific in the wider community. Prospective students can visit the pages for the Contemporary Asian Studies undergraduate program and Collaborative Master's Specialization in East and Southeast Asia to learn more about these programs which we support.

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Photo: Amanda Ann-Min Wong

The Program runs public academic events under the series below, as well as special events throughout the year in collaboration with the Asian Institute. 

  • The Dr. David Chu Distinguished Visitor Series invites one or two Distinguished Visitors per year. These are speakers of rare stature in Asia-Pacific Studies, whose work transgresses the boundaries of conventional area studies and disciplinary formations, and who have had an international impact far beyond their area specializations. 
  • The Reimagining the Asia-Pacific Series presents speakers whose cutting-edge research exceeds the boundaries of single nation-state studies through their engagements with broader regional, global, or thematic issues.
Imaging the Asia Pacific photo and video competition

Our annual student photo and video competition invites submissions of photographic representations of the Asia-Pacific (East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific) that inspire us to imagine the region from unique perspectives. The winning photos are displayed outside of the Asian Institute offices at the Munk School and featured online. In 2018, the Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library hosted an exhibit of the winning images since the competition began in 2012. 

Historical studies of East Asia working group 

This is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental working group made up of University of Toronto faculty, visiting professors, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows who share interests in historical studies of East Asia (including China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia). This group is not limited to historians in a narrow sense, but welcomes scholars and graduate students from any unit within the University who study about this region and its pasts. To join the working group send an email with your UTORid to Director T. Fujitani at t.fujitani@utoronto.ca.

  • Dr. David Chu Research Scholarships. These awards are offered for students conducting research or taking part in exchange or study abroad programs in the Asia-Pacific region. The application deadline is around early March each year. Visit the Arts & Science Awards & Scholarships page for more information about eligibility criteria and application procedures.
  • Dr. David Chu Scholarships – Entrance Awards. Incoming students in the Collaborative Master’s Specialization in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies are automatically considered for an entrance award to support their studies. Both academic merit and financial need are considered. Ontario residents who demonstrate financial need are given priority, though funding is also available for non-Ontario residents who demonstrate financial need.

  • Man Family Graduate Scholarships in Asian Studies. These scholarships are reserved for graduate students in the Faculty of Arts & Science who have participated in or attended events sponsored by the Asian Institute and whose research focuses on the societies and modern histories of countries affected by the Japanese Empire in Asia. Priority is given to proposals that significantly engage with the Japanese Empire and/or its legacies. Check the Asian Institute’s opportunities page in early winter or receive notifications through the Asian Institute Student Newsletter for details on how to apply.

Asian Institute Graduate Student Network

We serve as a hub at the University of Toronto for a vibrant community of graduate students working on a variety of Asian sites, cross-Asia dynamics, and Asian prisms on global processes and universal problems from across departments and disciplines, even if they have no formal affiliation to the Asian Institute. Join the Asian Institute Graduate Student Network to be a part of our community and stay informed about events, awards, research support, TA positions, and other opportunities.

Student organizations

The Chu program supports a vibrant community of student organizations, which publish academic journals and sponsor career panels, film screenings, academic conferences, and much more. Explore the student groups we support.


Headshot of Tong Lam

Tong Lam, Director, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, Asian Institute

** Most images used on this webpage were originally submissions to the Program’s annual photo contest

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Event Coordinator



Program Advisor and Communications Officer