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About Us

What is ASAG?

The APIDA Staff Affinity Group (ASAG) is an affinity space open to any Northwestern staff member who self-identifies as part of the APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) community –which is inclusive of, but not limited to, East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander diasporic identities, as well as multiracial and multiethnic APIDA identities. ASAG was formed in January 2018 as a way to support APIDA staff members on campus and start a conversation about APIDA representation within institutional diversity initiatives. Our goals are:

  • to build a sense of community and belonging among APIDA staff
  • to support institutional racial and social justice initiatives by ensuring APIDA perspectives are represented
  • to provide personal and professional development opportunities for APIDA staff

We do this through community gatherings and discussions, cultural outings, and sharing resources and opportunities.

Who is APIDA?

There are a number of terms that are used to denote Asian and Pacific Islander populations, including Asian Pacific American (APA), Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI). We use the term APIDA, which stands for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American, as a pan-ethnic classification that intentionally includes South Asians (Desi) as part of our community. There is a great diversity of identities and ethnicities encompassed under the APIDA umbrella, including East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander.

  • East Asians refer to people from China (including Macau and Hong Kong), Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Mongolia.
  • South Asians refer to people from the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Ethnic groups include Sindhi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, and many others.
  • Southeast Asians refer to people from the following countries and ethnic groups: Burma, Brunei, Cambodia (Khmer, Cham, KhmerLoeu), Indonesia, Laos (Hmong, Lao, Lao Loum, Iu Mien, Khmu, Tai Dam, Tai Leu, and many other ethnic groups), Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Philippines, and Vietnam (Vietnamese, Khmer Kampuchea Krom, Montagnards).
  • Pacific Islanders refer to those whose origins are the original peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Polynesia includes Hawaii (Native Hawaiian), Samoa (Samoan), American Samoa (Samoan), Tokelau (Tokelauan), Tahiti (Tahitian), and Tonga (Tongan). Micronesia includes Guam (Guamanian or Chamorro), Marinara Islands (Mariana Islander), Saipan (Saipanese), Palau (Palauan), Yap (Yapanese), Chuuk (Chuukese), Pohnpei (Pohnpeian), Kosrae (Kosraean), Marshall Islands (Marshallese), and Kiribati (I-Kiribati). Melanesia includes Fiji (Fijian), Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinean), Solomon Islands (Solomon Islander), and Vanuatu (Ni-Vanuatu).
ASAG Leaders – 2019-20

Christine Munteanu (she/her/hers)
Multicultural Student Affairs

Jason Alba (he/him/his)
Kellogg School of Management

Director of Finance/Treasurer
Thongsy Singvongsa
Feinberg School of Medicine

Co-Directors of Communications
Saed Hill (he/him/his)
Center for Awareness, Response, and Education (CARE)

Avy Kea (she/her/hers)
Talent Development, Alumni Relations and Development

Director of Events/Programming

Jennifer Mok
International Office

Tia Ng Groce  (she/her/hers)
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Liza Garner
School of Education and Social Policy

Director of Logistics/Secretary
Erin Wallace
Office of the Associate Vice President for Research

General Liasion
Oolka Dixit (she/her/hers)

Chicago Liasion
Jeevan Topgi
Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health