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Club hosts InFocus conference

Steve Kerins | Friday, March 18, 2005

Today and tomorrow, the Notre Dame Asian-American Association (AAA) will explore bridging the gap between generations in workshops and presentations at their fourth annual InFocus conference.

“[The conference’s format] is kind of similar every year,” AAA member Eddie Yu said. “But every year it’s a different theme. This year [the theme, “Generations: Bridging the Gap”] deals with family perspectives within the culture itself, with our parents … I feel like a lot of it’s about understanding parents and progeny.”

The conference will open tonight at 7 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom with a presentation by keynote speaker Frank Wu, Dean of Wayne State University Law School. Wu will address issues of cross-cultural awareness, including injustices arising from racial inequality. A screening of the film ABCD will follow the lecture.

Saturday’s events will be held in the Coleman-Morse Center. University President Fr. Edward Malloy is scheduled to deliver an opening speech at 10 a.m., and his introductory remarks will be followed by a series of workshops. This year’s workshops and presentations include “Core Family: Parents and Progeny,” “Cross-Cultural Awareness: Sessions with Frank Wu,” “The Notre Dame Family: Perspectives of Asian Alumni,” “Interracial Dating: Understanding the Viewpoints” and “Changing Dynamics: The Asian-American Experience.” The “Changing Dynamics” workshop, facilitated by Daren Mooko, will examine the effects of American cultural influence on Asian-Americans.

Yu cited the need for workshops to address specific issues facing Asian-Americans today, specifically issues relating to this year’s trans-generational theme.

“Growing up, I kind of had American culture, and at the same time I had my parents’ Korean culture,” he said. “[At times] it was kind of tough communicating.”

Applicability to a broad range of Asian cultures is also among the conference’s goals. Yu said the events feature speakers from a variety of backgrounds, and that the publicity posters for the conference feature scenes from many cultures as well.

“I feel that it’s valid to all the cultures,” he said. “I don’t think it favors any one of them … it kind of encompasses all of them.”

Registration for the conference is $7, and lunch, activities and the InFocus Banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the Mendoza Atrium are all included. The conference will conclude with the banquet, featuring a talk by Professor Bradley Malkovsky of the Notre Dame Theology Department and his wife Mariam. Saturday’s events draw to a close with Bhangra Bash, a celebration featuring Indian food and music at 10 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom.