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About YCAR

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) is a community of York University researchers who are committed to analyzing the changing historical and contemporary dynamics of societies in Asia, understanding Asia’s place in the world, and studying the experiences of Asian communities in Canada and around the globe. Our interdisciplinary membership includes faculty, students and other research associates from across the social sciences, humanities, health, education, creative/performing arts, law and business.

Some common themes characterize much of the research that YCAR fosters and supports. First, we adopt an explicitly transnational approach to research, meaning that we seek to understand connections within Asia, between Asia and the rest of the world, and between Asia and its diasporas. Second, we value research that is based on extended field and archival research, language study and the long-term development of expertise. Third, we emphasize a critical and engaged model of scholarship, attentive to social justice agendas that seek to address exclusions or inequalities based class, gender, sexuality, ‘race’, caste, religion, region or environmental dispossession. Often, this involves collaboration with the communities being studied in the research process, and the mobilization of research findings to effect public education and social change.

The Centre's role in the work of individual researchers is to create a space for interdisciplinary intellectual exchange, to provide administrative support for research projects, and to enrich student training through fieldwork and language awards and a graduate diploma program. We also provide an access point for anyone interested in York expertise on Asia and Asian communities, and we actively seek to deliver research to the widest possible audience.

Founded in 2002, YCAR continues a strong tradition of internationally recognized research on Asia and its diasporas at York, pioneered since 1974 by the Joint Centre on Modern East Asia, and the Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies (both in collaboration with the University of Toronto).

If you would like to know more about the Centre, please get in touch (ycar[at] You can also stay informed about our many activities by joining our mailing list (send us an email requesting to be added to the list) or joining us on social media.

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) is based at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It reports to the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and organizes its financial, administrative and human resources according to York University policies and practices. The Centre has a Director and Associate Director as well as an Executive Committee, External Advisory Council and an Annual General Meeting of members.

Click here to view YCAR’s Constitution.


The Director is appointed on a fixed term to provide overall leadership and academic direction for the Centre. (S)he/They have day-to-day administrative responsibility for the Centre, including its staff, financial operations, fundraising, promotion and programs. The Director is Shubhra Gururani (Anthropology).

Associate Director

The Associate Director assists the Director in administering the work at the Centre. (S)he/They also serves as the Director’s deputy in his absence. The Associate Director is also the Coordinator of the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies. The Associate Director is Mihyon Jeon (Languages, Literatures and Linguistics).


The Coordinator handles day-to-day operations at the Centre, is responsible for budgeting and personnel matters related to research projects and the Centre's research activities, and serves as the administrator of the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS). The Coordinator is Alicia Filipowich.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee meets regularly, usually at least twice per academic term. The committee makes all major decisions affecting the Centre and has sub-committees to make decisions concerning the allocation of awards, space and membership.

The 2023–2024 Executive Committee:

  • Nga DaoSocial Science, Faculty Associate Representative
  • Mehraneh EbrahimiEnglish, Faculty Associate Representative
  • B. Michael FrolicAsia Business and Management Program
  • Mihyon Jeon, DLLL, Associate Director and GDAS Coordinator
  • Ali Kazimi, Film, Faculty Associate Representative
  • Seulsam Lee, Sociology, Graduate Associate Representative
  • Ethel Tungohan, Politics, Faculty Associate Representative
  • Cary Wu, Sociology, Faculty Associate Representative
  • Qiang Zha, Education, Interim Director (ex-offico)

External Advisory Council

The York Centre for Asian Research's External Advisory Council (EAC) was established in 2013 to provide strategic advice and facilitate outreach to various segments of the non-academic community.

In particular, the EAC:
a) Contributes their wisdom and experience as YCAR considers new initiatives and strategic directions for its Asia and Asian Diaspora‐focused research taking place at York;
b) Advises on fundraising possibilities that will realize or further advance the new initiatives;
c) Projects YCAR activities and York‐based research into spheres in which they work to reach a wider off-campus audience.

Our EAC:

Sonny Cho, President and CEO, Canada-Korea Business Council
Samira Kanji, President and CEO, Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto
Keith Lowe, Hakka community leader
Julie D.T. Nguyen, International Business, Centennial College; Co-founder and Director, Canada Vietnam Trade Council
Yuen Pao Woo, Canadian Senator (independent representing British Columbia)

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of YCAR Associates is normally held in April. Its purpose is to discuss the Centre's annual report, including budgets, to ratify nominees for membership on the Executive Committee, to ratify proposed amendments to the Centre’s Constitution, celebrate achievements from the past year, and discuss plans for the coming year.

Minutes of the YCAR Executive Committee meetings and its Annual General Meeting are available upon request. Please email us at: ycar[at]

YCAR’s mandate is to foster and support research at York related to East, Southeast and South Asia as well as Asian migrant communities in Canada and around the world. The Centre aims to provide:

  1. Intellectual Exchange: facilitating interaction between Asia and Asian Diaspora-focused scholars at York, and between York researchers and a global community of Asia scholars;
  2. Research Support: assisting in the development of research grants and administering such projects;
  3. Graduate Training: supporting graduate student training and research by creating an interdisciplinary intellectual hub, administering a graduate diploma program, and providing financial support for graduate research;
  4. Knowledge Mobilization: providing a clear public point of access to York’s collective research expertise on Asia and the Diaspora, and ensuring the wider dissemination of York research on Asia and the Diaspora to academic and non-academic audiences in Canada and around the world.