Vol 34 | No 2 | Spring 16
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Notable Visitors to the Orange County and Southeast Asian Archive (OC&SEAA) Center

Since we opened our doors to the serve the community in January 2015, we've had many interesting visitors to the Orange County and Southeast Asian Archive Center (OC & SEAA).

Below are a few select examples.

Shortly after we had our Grand Opening in May 2015, we hosted Westminster Mayor, Tri Ta, and his wife Que-Anh Doan. Elected in November 2012, Mayor Ta is the first Vietnamese American mayor in the country. After his campus talk organized by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Mayor Ta came to explore the newly opened space, learn about our collections, and share his personal history and close connections to our materials with our University Librarian Lorelei Tanji, Director of Development Wendi Morner, and Archivist for the Southeast Asian Archive and Regional History Thuy Vo Dang. Both Mayor Ta and his mother have shared their oral histories with the Vietnamese American Oral History Project at UCI, which is preserved and made accessible by UCI Libraries. The visit ended with Que-Anh locating a Vietnamese-language textbook on our shelves and requesting it for their ongoing efforts to bring dual-language immersion and culturally-sensitive Vietnamese-language training to the Orange County public school system.

ImageIn October 2015, we hosted Verne Harris, the archivist for the Nelson Mandela Archives in South Africa, and a group of UCLA faculty and graduate students from the Graduate School of Education and Information Science. Our staff selected materials from the Critical Theory Archive and Southeast Asian Archive for viewing. Because this was a unique opportunity to facilitate dialogue between Verne Harris, the UCLA group, and our own faculty with research interests in these intersecting areas, we invited a number of faculty to join us for this meeting, including Dean Bill Maurer and Professors Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Frank B. Wilderson, and Laura Mitchell. Verne Harris' visit and the involvement of our UCI faculty demonstrates a central function we had envisioned for this center: to provide a stimulating environment for intellectual engagement and collaboration using our collections as the common thread.

In February 2016, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, a leading scholar in immigration and refugee law, and the former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, toured the OC & SEAA Center and viewed our collections on Southeast Asian refugee resettlement, prior to his Margolis Lecture for the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies. Mr. Aleinikoff became interested in using oral histories of Vietnamese American experiences as well as critical studies on Southeast Asian history. In his upcoming presentations he will address the current international refugee crisis. The materials from the Southeast Asian Archive continue to inspire researchers concerned with not only Southeast Asian diasporic experiences, but broader questions about humanitarianism, war, and global displacements.

As we prepare for expanding programs and services in the OC & SEAA, these unique interactions will help us envision better ways to engage diverse users in our ongoing efforts to foster collaboration.

For more information, please contact Thuy Vo Dang, Ph.D., Archivist for Southeast Asian Archive and Regional History at tvodang@uci.edu or x41878.