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‘Why Would We Want Those Students Here?’: Bridges and Barriers to Building Campus Community Partnerships.

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Author(s): Vincent K. Her | Mary Louise Buley-Meissner

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Hmong Americans | Asian American Studies

ABSTRACT
The Hmong American Studies Initiative (HASI) at our Midwestern university had the promise and potential to become one of the first comprehensive Hmong American, community-supported academic programs in the U.S. Through four years of work to start and develop this program (2002-2006), we have learned many lessons regardingbridges and barriers to building campus-community partnerships. Here we highlight the benefits of HASI and the underlying politics that, in our view, have determined funding decisions and influenced campus-community relations. Included in this discussion are insights gained from dozens of meetings with Hmong American community leaders andstudents, university faculty and administrators, as well as personal interviews and group planning sessions. Drawing on our experiences during this multi-year project, we will share what we have done, what we have learned and where we are now. In the process,we would like to raise a timely question: Is it possible to build an academic program that seriously, substantively takes into account the values and perspectives of an ethnic community?

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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