Assist-A-Scholar Campaign


The Assist-A-Scholar Campaign is an Association for Asian Studies initiative to ensure that all Asianists, regardless of socioeconomic or employment status, can be members of the AAS and enjoy equitable access to the benefits of membership.

I donated because…

Having myself benefitted from AAS membership throughout the years, I would like to help in some small way to make this opportunity available to others, especially at a time when it’s more critical than ever before to feel connected to others in the field.

Michelle C.Wang

Georgetown University

I donated because…

I can. It was hard to maintain membership when I was a graduate student and just out of college. I want to make it easier for others, now that I can.


A Message from AAS President Hy Luong

Dear Association for Asian Studies Members,

Founded in 1941 as the publisher of a quarterly publication, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) remains the largest Asian Studies membership organization in the world. With fundamental authority for the Association resting in its membership, the AAS is its membership. As a community, we come together to share our research and knowledge of Asia, to engage as colleagues and mentors, to support each other in times of turbulence and uncertainty, and to strengthen Asian Studies in academia and beyond.

The past year has been a challenging time for most of us. We have adjusted to a new reality—a virtual existence—as we adapt to new restrictions and demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have faced changing ideas regarding what it means to be teachers, scholars, and Asia specialists in the world today. Despite these challenges, the AAS community has come together in new ways. Advances in technology have permitted participation in programs, such as the Virtual Annual Conference and the AAS Digital Dialogues series, despite physical distance and socioeconomic disparities. The latter, however, remain a great concern. Freshly minted Ph.Ds. are entering a more uncertain job market, and a number of Asianists have faced program closures and furloughs at their institutions.

I am writing to request your support for our Assist-A-Scholar member sponsorship campaign. In 2020, the Henry Luce Foundation generously funded the AAS to allow us to continue operations, as well as to develop alternative ways to reach both our membership and non-members interested in the study of Asia. As part of this Luce grant, we are launching a 90-day campaign aimed at encouraging community support for Asianists unable to pay for an AAS membership. Donations for fellow Asianists’ AAS membership will be 100% matched, up to $20,000. The campaign goal is therefore $40,000, of which $20,000 will come from the Luce Foundation. The Assist-A-Scholar Campaign underscores the value of belonging to the AAS community, our mutual support for one another during a difficult time, and the benefits inherent to participation in the AAS, such as career development, networking, research support, and publications. We aim to ensure equitable access to what AAS has to offer.

The Assist-A-Scholar Campaign starts on May 17, 2021, and ends on August 17, 2021. Through this campaign, contributors donate a year’s membership to a scholar of Asia, in effect sponsoring the member status of an individual in need of such support. Later in 2021, we will begin distributing complimentary memberships funded by the Assist-A-Scholar Campaign; more details on that process will follow.

Thank you very much for your support of the AAS and of your fellow Asianists. Coming together as a community, we can do great things.


Hy Luong
AAS President, 2021-2022

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Assist-A-Scholar Campaign?

Assist-A-Scholar is a member sponsorship campaign aimed at ensuring that everyone in the Asian Studies community can access the benefits of AAS membership. This initiative is composed of two stages:

Stage 1: Between May 17 and August 20, 2021, we are seeking donations to this campaign from anyone in the AAS community who has the means to contribute. All donations will be matched 100% by funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, up to $20,000 (meaning that our total goal amount for the campaign is $40,000).

Update, August 26, 2021: Stage 1 of the Assist-A-Scholar Campaign is now complete! The Association for Asian Studies thanks everyone who contributed to this campaign—your generosity, matched by funds from the Henry Luce Foundation, has raised over $20,000 to provide AAS memberships to Asianists in need.

Stage 2: Beginning in the fall of 2021, we will use the amount raised during the first stage to fund complimentary AAS memberships for Asianists who could not otherwise afford membership in the association. Information about how to apply for a complimentary membership will be posted at a later date.

How do I apply for a complimentary membership?

We will share information about how to apply for a complimentary membership in early fall 2021. Watch this page for updates!

Why is it important to Assist-A-Scholar?

Many members of the Asian Studies community face a range of institutional and socio-economic obstacles: among them are the disappearance of tenure-track positions and rise of contingent labor; the weakening of protections for those who do have tenure; and increasingly limited funding for research and professional development. While all these issues previously existed, the COVID-19 pandemic has served to accelerate and intensify them. The AAS seeks to ensure that Asianists who have encountered such challenges can still access the benefits of AAS membership and participate in our community of Asian Studies scholars and professionals.

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