The 20th East-West Center International Graduate Student Conference
Conference Dates: February 11-13, 2021

Due to unfortunate global circumstances, our conference activities will be hosted online this year, utilizing the conference platform Whova. The information for logging into Whova will be provided at a later date. We are excited to plan an integrated conference and networking experience from the comfort of our own homes.

Theme: Lei of Knowledge - Communicating Knowledge Across Communities and Disciplines

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This year is the 20th anniversary of the International Graduate Student Conference (IGSC) taking place February 11-13th, 2021, in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, USA. The East-West Center (EWC) is inviting graduate students and young professionals from around the world to submit abstracts relating to the Asia Pacific region. The deadline to submit an abstract and a non-technical summary for your presentation or poster talk is October 9, 2020. This conference will provide an opportunity to share interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary perspectives formally, through presenting and attending panel presentations, and informally, through networking with scholars and community members across disciplines in the warm and collaborative environment of the EWC.

A long-standing goal of the EWC has been to promote collaborative and mutually-beneficial partnerships between communities and scholars. Much of our research is rooted in the collective knowledge, insight, and years of effort contributed by communities, organizations, and experts across the Asia-Pacific region. Even so, academic findings can often end up limited to scholars and experts, which leads to a greater knowledge gap between researchers and working professionals. Therefore innovative types of communication and partnership are needed to promote research understanding and community interaction.

IGSC 2021 flier thumbnail pic
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This year our conference theme is LEI OF KNOWLEDGE: Communicating Knowledge Across Communities and Disciplines. When a leia Hawaiian garland or wreath given at important eventsis made, it must be shared with others. This relationship between the maker, the lei, and the recipient is similar to how we view research and its connections to the community. The IGSC team strongly believes that the relationship between researchers themselves and the community should be reciprocal and symbiotic. The IGSC therefore invites you to not only share your research but also show how your research can be or is being shared with or used by the communities it pertains to. Our conference focuses on inclusivity and we embrace various forms of presentation including academic talks, PowerPoint, storytelling, performance, demonstration, using a native language, or any other format best suited to share your research. How does your created knowledge transfer to and empower others? Broadly speaking, this conference will provide opportunities for researchers to disseminate their knowledge and promote accessible research, co-learning, and co-development of methods, strategies, goals/objectives, and outputs at different scales from local to global, in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

We are looking for submissions from every field of study from hard science to the arts & humanities that meet this criteria:

  • Inclusion of communities in the identification of the research question(s) and their continued involvement in the research
  • Co-identification of challenges and informational needs for a community
  • Innovative communication and partnership between research and community
  • Exchanging of knowledge, experiences, and goals with community stakeholders
  • Utilization of multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary methods with respect for diverse knowledge systems and ethics in the research process
  • Research that connects to the local community as well as research that scales up to the global community (with community defined broadly as any group of people)
  • Effective sharing (communication) of research outcomes so that their utility in decision-making, community empowerment, and policy is optimized
  • Focus on the Asia-Pacific region or applicable to communities in this region
Me ka mahalo piha (with a fullness of gratitude),
The 20th IGSC Organizers
Bonnie Fox, Cheng-Cheng Li, Chiao-Wen Chiang, Jenny Ung, Griffin Werner, and Rachael Sook Zhen Wong
For any inquiries or questions regarding the conference, please connect with us at

Logistical Information (FAQs)

The IGSC Frequently Asked Questions page contains comprehensive information for attendees and presenters regarding the conference, including visitor information, conference logistics, and transportation options from the airport to the EWC.

Conference Venue and Accommodation
U.S. Visa Information
Past Conferences

For additional information, as well as photos, please refer to the web pages for past conferences, available in the right-hand menu. Also see the video below:

video thumbnail
IGSC 2020 footage
Contact Information

The International Graduate Student Conference
c/o EWC Education Program
1601 East-West Road, Burns Hall 2089
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96848
Ph. (808) 944-7458
Fax (808) 944-7070

Travel notice:

The East-West Center is committed to following travel guidelines set out by the CDC regarding the coronavirus. The 2021 conference activities will be hosted fully online this year, utilizing the conference platform Whova. Information for logging into Whova will be provided at a later date. We are excited to plan an integrated conference and networking experience from the comfort of our own homes..