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President Drake and APISA celebrate Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education

Tony Yang, Mey Sechao, Brenda Perez, Regine Berdan, Anna Chan and Barbara Hui

Asian Pacific Islander Staff Association members at APAHE (from left to right): Tony Yang, Mey Sechao, Brenda Perez, Regine Berdan, Anna Chan and Barbara Hui

On Friday, April 5, UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., and members of the UCOP Asian Pacific Islander Staff Association (APISA) attended the sold-out Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) Conference at the Oakland City Center Marriott.

The APAHE Conference is the largest gathering of Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander higher-education practitioners. This year’s event — the largest ever — welcomed more than 1,500 participants from throughout the U.S. The conference concluded a long week of AAPI advocacy in higher education, which began with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders’ first-ever Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Higher Education Leadership Development Summit.

The theme of this year’s APAHE Conference was “Radical Hope: Leading with Love, Courage, and Action.”

“I can’t think of a more appropriate theme for this moment in our lives, in higher education and beyond,” said President Drake in his opening remarks. “The etymology of the word ‘radical’ is connected to Latin for ‘from the root.’ Radical hope encompasses the powerful idea of change originating from the roots — change from our very foundation, our hearts. Our everyday work relies on a sense of hope — that education can expand opportunities, improve lives, and help us understand each other better. The future depends on nurturing our hope, investing our hope in our students, and doing everything we can to ensure that they have what they need to succeed and thrive.”

President Drake also celebrated the recent news of UCLA becoming eligible as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. All nine UC undergraduate campuses now claim this distinction, which recognizes colleges and universities with an undergraduate enrollment that is at least 10% Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander.

“We are proud to be one of the most diverse public research universities in the world,” President Drake said. “Our diversity and our excellence have always gone hand-in-hand — one isn’t possible without the other. That’s why we are striving to ensure that our student body and our workforce reflect the vast diversity and talent of our state, and to make sure that diverse AAPI leaders and voices are heard at every level.”

APISA Chair Tony Yang, Ph.D., and Vice Chair Barbara Hui, Ph.D., led the UCOP delegation at the conference. They co-presented a seminar, “Leading with Love, Holding Courage, and Action Advocacy, APISA in action at UCOP.”

Tony and Barbara look forward to continuing to connect with UC colleagues around the needs of AAPI staff throughout the university. APISA will host the second annual UC Asian American Pacific Islander Symposium on June 18, 2024. Details will be announced in Link as they’re finalized. Read about last year’s event.

For questions about APISA, contact


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  1. Amy Vrizuela April 23, 2024 Reply

    Way to represent BRCsters!! Would love to hear about some takeaways that you have from the conference if you’re open to sharing.

    • Tony Yang April 25, 2024 Reply

      Frank Wu, the President of CUNY Queen’s College, had a really big line that I took away. You have a choice to make sometimes in leadership. Do you want to be a white leader or an Asian American leader? I think that’s a profound statement about leading with your whole person.

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