Arthur Chyan – Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association National President

Albany, CA

I have such a difficult time generalizing anything about the Taiwanese culture and diaspora, which is a testament to its richness.

chyan.arthur3Who are you?

I am currently a senior at Swarthmore College, and this academic year, I am also acting as the National President for the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA). Growing up near Berkeley, I was spoiled by all of the rich cultures that surrounded me. Now in an academic environment where I see a greater distinction between mainstream/majority cultures and my own varied identities, I have embarked upon a path towards better understanding myself and how I want to relate to the rest of the world. One of my realizations: I want to do as much direct service to others as I can in my small amount of time on the planet, so someday soon, I hope to offer medical services to give one person after another the chance to continue enjoying the simple pleasures in life.

What do you do?

This year, a lot of my life is dedicated to inspiring, empowering and activating the Taiwanese and Taiwanese American community. Through ITASA programming, outreach and resources, we support collegiate events and then keep everyone informed about all of these events. Check out our regional conferences, website, newsletter, regional grants and more!

Personally, I try to maintain all of this great stuff that ITASA already does while also adding to our list of endeavors. For example, starting next year, ITASA will have a greater philanthropic role! Visit our website to learn how to join the team and participate!

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

Most personally, I appreciate the complex history and relationship that the island of Taiwan has and has had with the rest of the world. There has been much transformation from a colonial past, much violence stemming from the clamor by zealous supporters on any part of the spectrum in the independence/unification debate, and more. I enjoy the power to harness these aspects to create and recreate all of these identities with my experiences in America to form a unique 2nd generation Taiwanese American persona every single day.

Moreover, I have such a difficult time generalizing anything about the Taiwanese culture and diaspora, which is a testament to its richness. Despite the fluid nature of this heritage that I fail to articulate in words, I am proud to share a sense of connection with so many other amazing people!

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

I envision a Taiwanese American where more people recognize their past, present and futures. Instead of rejecting any of these aspects, these same people will carry the advantageous along with the imperfect. These same people also hold a more global outlook on life and act with the desire of sustaining our world for future generations to come.

Any additional information you would like to share?

Learn more about ITASA!



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