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UW-Eau Claire welcomes keynote speaker for International Women’s Day on March 9

| Denise Olson

Photo caption: Dr. Mimi Khúc’s forthcoming book, “dear elia: Letters from the Asian American Abyss,” examines Asian American unwellness and the intersections of ableism, the myths of the “model minority” and the role of higher education in building collective care.

In recognition of International Women’s Day, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire welcomes Dr. Mimi Khúc for a keynote presentation at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 9.

The presentation in Room 1415 of Centennial Hall is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

This special guest lecture, titled “What if Care Was the First Learning Objective?” explores the topic of mental health in education, asking the question “What might teaching look like if we truly worked together to leave no one behind?”

This campus celebration of International Women’s Day is sponsored by the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program (WGSS). Professor of economics and WGSS program director Dr. Rose-Marie Avin is pleased to have found what she says is a perfect speaker and topic to address pressing needs in 2023.

“While International Women’s Day is a time for celebration, it is also a day for reflection,” Avin says. “We acknowledge ongoing struggles that many women, children and men around the world face in fighting injustices. The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program celebrates International Women’s Day at UW-Eau Claire not only to generate discussions around important transnational issues such as global inequalities, but also to introduce the work of important transnational feminists such as Dr. Mimi Khúc.”

Khúc is a writer, scholar and activist and adjunct lecturer in disability studies at Georgetown University. Her most recent major project is called “Open in Emergency,” a dynamic collaborative mix of writing and art centered on issues of mental health, with a particular focus on Asian American mental health.

Dr. Kong Pheng Pha, associate professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, is one of the event organizers and speaks to the relevance of Khúc’s work and the importance of her presentation.

“Dr. Khúc’s work is extremely important in this moment, especially in the era of COVID-19 when many students are experiencing adverse mental health,” says Pha. “Her work is indeed timely, especially in considering how we can all help each other survive and thrive in a time when we are seeing a major rise in racist hate crimes and economic and health disparities.

“This is a literary and creative project that challenges typical diagnostic approaches to mental health by using tarot cards and personal testimonies to show what it means to be Asian American in a time of unwellness,” Pha says. “Khúc offers ways we can help each other survive and thrive in a time of rising racist hate crimes and both economic and health disparities.”

For more information about this event or guest speaker, contact Pha at or 715-836-3744.

To learn more about Khúc, including her 2018 TEDx Talk about myths of “wellness,” visit her professional website.