UPDATED:  February 27, 2011 10:42 PM
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Konrad Ng is Smithsonian APA Program Director

Washington–Konrad Ng, a scholar of Asian American cinema and digital media, has been named director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program. His term starts on May 22.

Ng served as acting director of the Program from May to August 2010 when he became a senior advisor to the program. He succeeds Franklin Odo, who retired as the founding director of the Program in 2010.

“It is an honor to serve as director of this important program,” said Ng, who is respected in the community for his sterling achievements, as well as for being humble and accessible. “I look forward to pursuing creative initiatives that highlight the rich contributions, experiences and history of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans at the Smithsonian Institution.”

Ng will report to the Smithsonian’s Undersecretary for History, Art, and Culture Richard Kurin. The Program provides vision, leadership and support for Asian and Pacific Islander American initiatives at the Smithsonian.

Ng is married to President Obama’s sister Maya. But it is his academic credentials, achievements as acting Director and his innovative leadership that have gained wide attention.

“We are very pleased that Konrad will be leading the Asian Pacific American Program,” said Kurin. “With his fine record as a scholar, academic and curator, he will bring an innovative spirit to the program. He will energize the Smithsonian’s engagement with Asian American communities, among Americans and people of Asia and the Pacific, especially through the use of digital and social media.”

Under his leadership as acting director from May to August 2010, the Asian Pacific American program supported the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Program, “Asian Pacific Americans: Local Lives, Global Ties.”

The Program also developed an Asian American portrait exhibition, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. It began public collaborations with the Freer and Sackler Gallerie”, and launched the exhibition phase of “HomeSpun: Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project.”


Ng has been an assistant professor in the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Academy for Creative Media since 2007. His scholarship examines how minority and Diaspora communities use cinema and digital media to engage in artistic and cultural representation and preservation, and community mobilization.

Ng served as the curator of film and video at the Honolulu Academy of Arts (2004 to 2006), where he managed the museum’s film program and assisted with its contemporary multimedia exhibitions.

He also served as the festival coordinator and film programmer for the Hawaii International Film Festival (2002-2004) and coordinated festival communications, events, logistics, programming, publicity, staff and volunteers.

Ng served as the program manager for the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii’s International Cultural Studies Graduate Certificate Program (2000-2004), overseeing the administration of the program, its curriculum, and its students and faculty.

Ng has served on several nonprofit boards, including the Center for Asian American Media, the Global Film Initiative, the Asian American Literary Review, and Interisland Terminal, the Honolulu urban arts collective. He is a member of the Association for Asian American Studies and Australia's Academy of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Ng earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (2006), his master’s degree in cultural, social and political thought from the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia (1999). He completed his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and ethnic studies from McGill University in Montreal (1996).

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