Award an exciting first for UNC’s Carolina Asia Center

A recent award from the U.S. Department of Education firmly positions the Carolina Asia Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the first pan-Asia National Resource Center in the southeastern United States.

The Carolina Asia Center (CAC) is among a select group of academic institutions awarded Title VI funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2014-18 grant cycle. The grant, totaling $836,000, will support and promote course development and pedagogy related to Asian languages and content; workshops, seminars and speaker series; collaboration with local, regional and national media, business, and government officials; and outreach to K-14 schools.

The CAC has been supporting Asia-related activities since 2002. The award designates the CAC as a Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Center for Asia.

Morgan Pitelka, director of the CAC and associate professor of Asian studies at UNC, underscored the significance of the grant. “This award establishes UNC as the leading center for engagement with Asia in this part of the country,” Pitelka said.

Universities across the country compete for Title VI money every four years. This is the first time the CAC has been awarded a Title VI grant. “We’re very pleased that UNC has gained funding in this area this year. It’s an important step for Carolina and our region,” Pitelka added.

Other UNC centers that were funded include the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, the Duke-UNC Consortium for Latin American Studies, the Center for Global Initiatives, the Center for African Studies and the Center for European Studies.

The award averages $209,000 per year over the four-year period and will bring additional support to the CAC and programs housed in the CAC, including the Phillips Ambassadors scholarship program, the CAC Scholars Program, the Jimmy and Judy Cox Asia Initiative Awards and numerous academic enrichment funds.

“This is a major achievement that reflects the growing national and international prominence of our programs in Asian Studies and recognizes the vision, hard work, and dedication of faculty, staff and students,” said Jonathan Hartlyn, senior associate dean for social sciences and global programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC.

Just a decade after the founding of the CAC and the Department of Asian Studies, the university now boasts the largest enrollments in Asian languages, the largest Asian library collection, the largest collection of Asian art and the most impactful Asia-related outreach in the southeastern United States. “The Title VI award reflects the growth that has occurred in Asian Studies and engagement with Asia at UNC over the past decade,” Pitelka said.

“We're very proud of these achievements and are pleased that this award will allow us to extend our support to students and faculty across the campus,” he added.

For more about the Carolina Asia Center, please visit, http://carolinaasiacenter.unc.edu