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Melanie Castillo-Cullather
IU Asian Culture Center

Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009

IU celebration of diverse Asian cultures, history and peoples begins Friday

March 26, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A lecture by Jenny 8. Lee, a reporter for the New York Times and author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, will highlight Indiana University's early observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which honors the rich history and presence of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Other highlights will include the annual Taste of Asia and AsianFest events.

Jennifer 8. Lee

Jennifer 8. Lee

Festivities will begin on Friday (March 27) with an opening lunch reception at the Indiana Memorial Union, where winners of an essay contest co-sponsored by IU's Creative Writing Program will be announced. IU Provost Karen Hanson will be the featured speaker.

Lee will speak Thursday (April 2) at 7 p.m. in the IU School of Journalism Auditorium. She is author of a best-selling book on the history of Chinese food in the United States, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food (Twelve Books, 2008) and a blog,

A native of New York City, Lee has a degree in applied math and economics from Harvard University. After graduation, she lived in China and spent a year at Beijing University studying international relations.

She will sign copies of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles after her lecture (copies will be available for purchase). A question-and-answer feature story with Lee will appear in the April 2 issue of IU's Live at IU newsletter and can also be read online at

Taste Of Asia will begin at 4 p.m. April 5 in the IU Auditorium and will feature samples of Asian cuisine from various restaurants in Bloomington as well as a talent show. The event also will include displays set up by Asian and Asian American interest groups on and off campus that reflect the cultural diversity within these communities.

Asian Fest will close the month-long celebration, from 10 a.m. to noon May 2 at the Showers City Hall Atrium and Outdoor Stage area at Eighth and Morton streets (in conjunction with the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market). It will feature Asian cooking demonstrations, musical and dance performances by Asian artists and educational and craft activities for the whole family. It is being presented by the ACC in cooperation with the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department and the Safe and Civil City Program.

The Asian Culture Center coordinates many of the events at IU Bloomington, which will include ethnic festivals, gatherings and lectures reflecting immigrant history and cultures and diasporic experience. There will be performances of both traditional and modern music, a film showing, art exhibits, cooking demonstrations and an Asian knowledge bowl contest.

The ACC's Web site at will provide updates and further details about APAHM events. Following are the month's other events, which also are free and open to the public:

  • The April 3 program in the series, "Who are Asian Pacific Americans?," will focus on the Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionnaire. The roundtable lunch discussion will begin in noon on April 3 at the ACC, 807 E. 10th St.
  • "Asian Cultures Around Campus" will present the artwork of painter Nishiki Tayui and poet Michael J. Hartwell, beginning at 5 p.m. on April 15 at the ACC.
  • The annual Asian Knowledge Bowl Competition will be April 9 in the Indiana Memorial Union Gallery, beginning at 7 p.m. Student groups will face off in a quiz bowl style team competition that will test their knowledge of Asian American history and culture. Cash prizes will go toward the winning student organization teams. To register, each team must have three team members.
  • "Crossroads of Southeast Asia Night," a collaboration among organizations of students from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, will take place from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 11in the Willkie Auditorium, 150 S. Rose Ave.
  • The Mr. & Ms. Asia contest will begin at 6:30 p.m. on April 17 at IMU's Alumni Hall.
  • A children's art contest supported by the Felix Chen Memorial Fund. With the theme, "I am an Ox, What About You?," the deadline for submissions is April 23 at the ACC. Winning student entries will receive gift certificates for school supplies and teachers will receive
  • The annual Student Recognition Banquet, hosted by the Asian Alumni Association, Asian Culture Center and Asian Student Union, May 1 at the Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center, 1000 E. 17th St. The IU Asian Alumni Association will present the 2009 Asian Alumni Distinguished Award at the invitation-only event and recognize the contributions of student leaders, graduating students and volunteers.