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In 1998, faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, Twin Cities artists, leaders, and activists organized the Asian American Studies Initiative at the University of Minnesota. As they established an academic presence on campus, they worked together to design an Asian American studies program that was unique to Minnesota and took advantage of our region's resources.

In 2003, their efforts were rewarded when the Regents of the University of Minnesota voted to establish the Asian American Studies Program and undergraduate minor.