IGSC - 20th Conference


The 20th East-West Center International Graduate Student Conference

Virtual Conference Dates: February 11-13, 2021

Our conference activities were hosted online this year, utilizing the conference platform Whova, which incorporates real-time program sessions, Zoom group meetings, links to (pre-)recorded video presentations, and various virtual activities for dynamic interactions among registrants. Our virtual conference platform user guide can be accessed here.

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The 2021 IGSC program featured a Keynote Address ("A Sharing of Gifts"), a Film Screening & Talk Story ("This is the Way We Rise"), and a Closing Panel ("Different Paths, Similar Trajectories: Grounding Language Revitalization in Community") in addition to various Parallel Sessions from graduate students from 29 different countries all across the globe.  91 presenters covered a wide range of topics from the Environment, Society and Culture, Borders and Migration, Arts and Language, Gender and Sexuality, Global Health and COVID-19, Academia and Education, Politics and Governance, Philosophy. Descriptions of each even

Keynote Address, February 11, 4:30-6pm HST

"A Sharing of Gifts: Ko koā uka, ko koā kai." 

Those of the upland, those of the shore [1821]. 

Share gifts from home with each person you meet. 

Film screening & Talk Story: "This is the Way We Rise", February 12, 7-8pm

Closing Panel, February 13, 3:30-5pm HST

"Different Paths, Similar Trajectories: Grounding Language Revitalization in Community."

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

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 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.

​​This year the conference theme is LEI OF KNOWLEDGE: Communicating Knowledge Across Communities and Disciplines. When a lei—a Hawaiian garland or wreath given at important events—is 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.

The conference accepts 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 [email protected].

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. 

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
Email:  [email protected]

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..