A Letter from the Director | Spring 2023

Table of AADS students, staff, and faculty wearing AADS sweatshirts

From the Director:

It is with great pleasure that we extend our warmest congratulations to David Lee and Miriam Shams-Rainey, the first students to graduate with the AADS minor. AADS recently hosted its first Graduation Dinner at Namu in Durham, where graduating seniors were celebrated by AADS faculty, staff, and members of AASWG (Asian American Studies Working Group).

The event also provided an opportunity to recognize the recipients of two newly introduced AADS awards: the AADS Faculty Award and the AADS Service Award. These awards were established by the AADS faculty through alumni donations, and we are deeply grateful for their support and generosity. The AADS Faculty Award honors graduating seniors who have made outstanding contributions to the study, presence, and advancement of Asian American and Diaspora Studies at Duke. This year’s recipients of the 2023 AADS Faculty Award are David Lee and Celine Wei. The Service Award is presented to graduating students who have demonstrated exceptional levels of service to the administration of AADS. We are proud to announce that Amber Park, Derek Uejo, and Shawin Vitsupakorn have been recognized as the deserving recipients of the 2023 AADS Service Award. Congratulations to all the awardees!

As we look forward to the upcoming academic year of 2023-24, AADS has an exciting lineup of events and speakers planned to celebrate our fifth anniversary. We will begin with a symposium on Asian American Studies in the U.S. South, in collaboration with the UNC Asian American Center. To the Class of 2023, we offer our heartfelt congratulations, and we wish everyone a truly enjoyable summer season!


Esther Kim Lee
Director of Asian American & Diaspora Studies
Professor of Theater Studies and International Comparative Studies