On October 17, 2022, the Association for Asian Studies Board of Directors (BOD) held a day-long meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with one Board member joining via Zoom. Over the course of the day, the BOD discussed ongoing business and voted on several important action items, summarized below.
For many years, the Chair of the Finance Committee—an individual appointed by the BOD—has sat on the AAS Board. As an outcome of the governance review carried out in 2020-21, the BOD voted to create the position of elected Treasurer, who will chair the Finance Committee and represent that body on the Board. The Treasurer will serve a four-year term with the possibility of re-election, and in the future there will be an open call for nominations. The BOD voted that when current Finance Committee Chair Thomas G. Rawski steps down at the end of 2022, Finance Committee member Siddharth Chandra will take office as AAS Treasurer. The Board of Directors thanks Rawski for his many years of service to the AAS.
Further amendments to the financial architecture of the AAS will follow, as the Association’s leadership seeks to increase transparency and improve the organization’s financial footing. There will likely be a change in management of the investment portfolio, proceeds from which provide an important source of funding for AAS programming. For the past decade, the Finance Committee has overseen investments, taking a generally passive “buy and hold” approach that has not met growth targets. Switching to professional management of the investment portfolio will entail management fees, but will enable a more flexible, nimble approach that will hopefully yield better results. The BOD also approved several changes to accounting procedures that will streamline operations in that department.
To better serve the needs of K-12 educators, the Board voted to create a new Educator membership. Those who join in this category will receive a print copy of Education About Asia rather than the Journal of Asian Studies, as well as one volume from the Key Issues in Asian Studies book series. The Educator category will be available in early 2023.
The Board received a proposal from the American Institute for Indonesian Studies and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to co-host the 9th AAS-in-Asia conference in the summer of 2024. The BOD voted to accept this proposal and move ahead with planning for the conference.
William Tsutsui’s term as Editorial Board Chair will conclude at the end of 2022, and Jan Bardsley will take over this role, with Dong Wang in the vice-chair position. The Board of Directors expresses thanks to Tsutsui for his years of guidance as Editorial Board Chair.
Tsutsui presented several proposed changes to Editorial Board structure and operations, all of which were approved by the BOD. These include adding two new voting members to the Editorial Board (an Asian Studies librarian and a scholar who can add diversity, equity, and inclusion perspectives to the group’s work), switching to all-virtual meetings, receiving a designated panel slot at the AAS Annual Conference, and ensuring that all book series editors have formal fixed-term contracts with the potential for renewal.
The Diversity and Equity Committee requested two designated panel spots at the Annual Conference, with $5,000 in funding from the AAS each year to support them. The BOD voted in favor of this request.
The Board also voted on the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies award; the name of the individual selected will be announced early in the new year.