Pacific & Asian Affairs Council Records
Manuscript M014 (link to bibliographic record)
The Executive Director of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (PAAC), Diane Peters-Nguyen, donated the PAAC records to the Archives in December 1995. The records cover the period from PAAC’s formation in December 1953 to the early 1990s.
The collection consists of thirty-nine record center boxes and one smaller document box coming directly from PAAC, plus four document boxes of early PAAC records transferred from the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) records. The record center boxes cover the entire period from 1953 to the 1990s; the half document box contains historical summaries of PAAC; and the four boxes transferred from the IPR records cover from 1953 to 1958. Professor Paul Hooper inventoried the PAAC documents, leaving them in their original order and folders. Later he rearranged the boxes into a rough chronological order. The important series in the PAAC records are annual reports, minutes of the Board of Governors meetings, minutes of Executive Committee meetings, correspondence, annual programs for the high schools of Hawaiʻi, lists of East West Center scholars and University of Hawaiʻi professors who provided resources for the high school programs, and budget information.
Pacific and Asian Affairs Council grew out of the Honolulu Branch of the Institute of Pacific Relations. The history of the Institute of Pacific Relations is briefly summarized in the “Historical Note” for that collection. Against the background of mounting criticism of the IPR during the McCarthy era, the Honolulu Branch elected to disassociate itself from the IPR and to reorganize as Pacific and Asian Affairs Council in December 1953. Initially there were few changes: the staff remained; PAAC retained the library and headquarters in “Pacific House” (a residence at 2014 University Avenue near the University of Hawaiʻi owned by the local IPR); and PAAC maintained its largely student-oriented program. Over the years, thousands of students in Hawaiʻi have participated in these events. Along with its secondary education program, PAAC also sponsors a speakers program directed to the whole community and maintains an affiliation with the World Affairs Councils of America.
Over time, however, changes have occurred. PAAC did not maintain the highly developed research program it inherited from the IPR. Shortly after its focus began shifting from research to secondary education programs, the need for a library diminished, and PAAC first cut back the accessions budget and then eliminated the library altogether. As less space was required for programs and as Pacific House deteriorated with age, the directors decided to sell the property and rent smaller facilities. In recent decades PAAC’s headquarters have been located in the East West Center. PAAC remains an important international organization in Hawaiʻi.1
1 For greater detail see “Celebrating 50 Years of Bringing the World to Hawaiʻi,” Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, 2004