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For specific information related to your program or area of interest

Including how to apply, please visit the following pages:

Undergraduate Programs Information

Major or minor in Asian Studies.

Graduate Programs Information

Including: Master of Arts in Asian Studies, Master’s in Asian International Affairs, and Graduate Certificates in Asian Studies.

Student Testimonials

Christina Geisse

The Asian Studies Program was incredible because most professors were undertaking their own research, passionate about their subject of study, and enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge with students. It felt fresh and profound at the same time. Inspiring! 

Christina Geisse
Kim Sluchansky

I was able to delve deep and focus on the areas of Asian Studies that truly interested me, and therefore gained a much more thorough and developed understanding of my fields of interest, which are applicable to my current career path. Also, the professors are extremely helpful and want their students to succeed. They were very supportive both while I was at UH and after I graduated.

Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Yen Tzu Liew

Meet one of our first-year MAIA students, Elizabeth Yen Tzu Liew!

What is your academic background?

I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Art in Mass Communication with Double Majors in Journalism and Public Relations, from the Curtin University of Technology in Perth (completed in Malaysia as part of a twinning program).

Why did you choose to come to UH Mānoa?

I was accepted into a few schools across America, but picked Hawai’i over D.C and San Diego for many reasons. Chief among them was the programmatic alignment to my learning preferences, especially the interdisciplinary approach to international affairs. The MAIA program allows me to deep dive into core fundamental “International Affairs” subjects such as Regional Conflict and Cooperation, and balance it with other classes such as Ethnic Nationalism that are instrumental in shaping broader perspectives in understanding the way the states, nations, regions and the world relate to one another. Hawai’i also appealed to me over the other states because of accessibility to experts and institutions working on Pacific Island issues, both from a soft and hard power perspective.

What is your area of focus?

My area of interest is China and America’s soft diplomacy strategies and engagement with the region, and the interplay of soft power on the larger Sino-American relationship, and the impact of that on Asia-Pacific.

What do you like to do outside of school?

I LOVE swing dancing—I dance mostly Lindy Hop and Blues, but can also make up Tango and Salsa as we go along 🙂 You’ll find me dancing to anything really. I enjoy being in the water—the healing energy of the Pacific Ocean is incredibly powerful. It gives so much, yet takes so little from us. I also love forest bathing in the Japanese Gardens behind Imin Hall, you’ll find me reading my course readings with my colorful pens and post-its. It’s also my go-to for Yoga practice and meditation, and has become a sanctuary to decompress, regain composure or just maintain sanity in the chaos of graduate school.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

I am currently an East West Graduate Fellow (GDF). In 2021, I was nominated as “One To Watch, Inspiring Women of 2021” by World Commerce & Contracting for the work I was doing in the space of good governance and transparency. I’ve always believed in living my Ikigai, and that when you’re pursuing what you love, you begin to live your purpose. Over the course of my career, I have always been attracted to roles with a deeper purpose. My career has taken me across cross-cutting themes of wildlife conservation, sustainability and social responsibility, community development, stateless fundraising and development, civic tech engagement, and trust-based philanthropy—mostly roles where I had to learn technical knowledge on the job. I currently serve on two Advisory Boards on a volunteer basis—as Philanthropic Funds Advisor for Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, and Advisor on the Cambodian ICT & Development Forum.

Wellness is my other passion. I studied Yoga in India, and am a L2 Reiki Practitioner. I currently teach a free open-level Yoga class for UH and EWC students every Wednesday outside Hale Halewai. Over the years, I developed my own healing modality, and have hosted spiritual awakening and healing events across Kuala Lumpur, Bali, London and more recently, Honolulu.

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