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UW-Eau Claire to Host Discussion and Lectures
on Hmong Studies

RELEASED: April 4, 2006

Hmong story clothEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host "An Introduction to Hmong Studies: A Panel Discussion and Lectures," featuring guest speaker Dr. Mark Pfeifer, director of the Hmong Resource Center at the Hmong Cultural Center in St. Paul, Minn.

A panel discussion, "Dialogue on Hmong Studies," will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, in the Ho-Chunk Room of Davies Center. A lecture, "Hmong Studies 101," will be presented at noon and then again at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, in Davies Theatre.

The discussion will feature Pfeifer and five UW-Eau Claire panelists, all of whom have worked closely with the Hmong community. They will introduce their research, teaching and service activities and discuss the rewards of being involved in Hmong studies for people of diverse cultural backgrounds.

The UW-Eau Claire panelists are Wayne Carroll, professor of economics; Jeremy Hein, professor of sociology; Susan Moch, professor of family health nursing; David Shih, associate professor of English; and Charles Vue, Hmong/Southeast Asian student services coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

The lectures, presented by Pfeifer, will be an introduction to Hmong history and culture. Pfeifer studied Vietnamese adaptation in the Toronto metropolitan area and Southern Ontario for his doctoral degree at the University of Toronto. Pfeifer then took the position of director at the Hmong Resource Center, where he built an institution that is now the largest centralized collection of Hmong-related materials in the United States.

Pfeifer also initiated a monthly informational e-mail newsletter in Hmong studies and is the editor of the Hmong Studies Journal. He served as a youth mentor for Lauj Youth Society in St. Paul and is currently a member of Collections Advisory Council in Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.

Assistant professor of Asian history Reiko Shinno said the event is important for both Hmong and non-Hmong students.

"For Hmong students, such effort will help them understand their heritage and the issues that their own ethnic group is facing," Shinno said. "For non-Hmong students, Hmong studies will teach them not just about Hmong people, but also about the rewards and challenges of multiculturalism in the United States."

The events are sponsored by the Diversity Fellows Program, the Office of Student Development and Diversity, the department of history and the Hmong Student Association.

The Diversity Fellows Program, a yearlong professional development experience, was initiated by the Office of Student Development and Diversity and the Network for Excellence in Teaching. Beginning in fall 2006, it will provide support to university employees who wish to integrate issues related to diversity into existing courses and activities.

"Introduction to Hmong Studies" is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Shinno at (715) 836-4995 or shinnor@uwec.edu.

-30-

BC/NW

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