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2020 ITASA East Coast Conference: Recognize to Reconnect
February 6, 2020 - February 9, 2020
The Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that connects, inspires, and empowers the Taiwanese American student community. ITASA’s annual East Coast Conference (ECC) attracts nearly 400 undergraduates nationwide who attend workshops led by prominent Taiwanese American speakers, social events to meet fellow students, and interactive discussions about culture, identity, education, and leadership.
Identifying with our Taiwanese heritage can be challenging because of Taiwan’s limited visibility, unique history, and continuing political turmoil. Taiwanese-Americans, in particular, are stuck trying to balance both American and Taiwanese cultures. That struggle leads to questions like:
– What does being Taiwanese-American mean for me?
– What defines Taiwanese culture?
– How has my heritage influenced who I am?
This conference is a space where such questions can be openly and honestly discussed. We hope attendees will take the opportunity to understand our Taiwanese heritage, exploring how it influences who we are, and begin to reconnect with this sometimes overlooked aspect of our lives. We believe that our theme of Recognize to Reconnect is important not just for conference attendees but for all Taiwanese-Americans. Thus, our conference is complemented by a social media campaign with the hashtag #iRecognize. Recognition is the first step to change. We hope that by inviting our speakers and attendees to participate in this campaign, we can effect a real change both in our community and across the country, ultimately raising the overall visibility of Taiwanese-Americans as a whole.
2018 was a great year for Asian-American representation. From actors playing leading roles in Netflix films to hosting the Golden Globes, we are finally in the limelight. Yet beyond the joy of seeing faces like our own on the wide screen, we should also reflect on our identities and the journey we’ve taken to be here. Despite this new wave of representation, Taiwanese-Americans are still taking a backseat. The media remains fixated on large and extrusive Asian countries, under-representing smaller but significant countries like Taiwan. Due to our distinctive heritage, this conference seeks to explore our unique history and struggles. Hence our theme this year – Recognize to Reconnect – is a challenge to both recognize our insecurities and struggles, as well as an invitation to reconcile with our identities.