This has been an exciting year for Asian Institute students. In 2012–13, students in our Contemporary Asian Studies program have conducted research in Asia, won a variety of awards and grants, and put on a large-scale conference that drew speakers and audience members from around the world.

In fall 2012, the students in JPA411H: Global Taiwan and CAS400Y: Critical Perspectives on Asian Modernity received International Course Module (ICM) funding from the Faculty of Arts and Science to travel to Taiwan and Xiamen, China, to study cross-strait identity politics in the context of the massive migration across the Taiwan Strait over the Lunar New Year. The students travelled to Asia over Reading Week to conduct their research under the guidance of Professor Lynette Ong. In March, they presented their findings at the Munk School of Global Affairs.

Leadership is also an area where our students shine. Two deserving students were recognized for their leadership contributions to the university community this year. Anupam Chaudhri, a third-year student in the Contemporary Asian Studies program, was awarded the Faculty of Arts and Science Dean’s Student Leadership Award for enhancing the learning experiences of her fellow students. Remi Kanji, a graduating student in the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, was selected as a recipient of the university-wide Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award for the many extra-curricular activities she pioneered throughout her undergraduate career.

Three students were recognized for their leadership contributions in promoting Asia-Pacific research outside the classroom through the Dr. David Chu Leadership Awards. Carmen Ho, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science, served as manager of the 2012–13 Global Ideas Institute, organizing a year-long series of events in which high school students worked with U of T student mentors and leading experts to find creative ways to scale up malnutrition interventions in the global south. Aaron Wilson, a fourth-year undergraduate student in Asia-Pacific Studies and Political Science, rallied his classmates to put together the successful research proposal for the JPA411H and CAS400Y ICM, and spearheaded trip planning and fundraising efforts. Betty Xie, a third-year Asia-Pacific Studies and Cinema Studies student, produced and screened a thought-provoking film on the 2012 Taiwan elections and co-chaired this year’s highly successful INDePth conference.

Our students also excelled at teamwork in the organization of the massive annual student-run INDePth (Interrogating Notions of Development and Progress) conference. INDePth was awarded a grant from the Arts and Science Dean’s International Initiatives Fund in support of this year’s conference, which provided students and professionals from U of T and worldwide the opportunity to discuss and dissect the notion of development in China.

Congratulations to all involved on these much-deserved accomplishments. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2013–14 has in store.