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APIASF Hosts Third Annual Higher Education Summit

Washington, D.C.–A diverse cross-sector of stakeholders from across the nation – ranging from college presidents, education leaders, and students to policymakers, federal government officials, and corporate executives – attended the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund’s (APIASF) third annual higher education summit to help increase college completion and student success among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students.

With the theme “Advancing the Democratic Mission of Higher Education: The Relevance of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders,” the event was held on June 20 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in this capital.

APIASF also held a special evening reception recognizing Congressman Mike Honda for his long-standing career in education and his commitment to education equity. In honoring his efforts to advancing educational opportunities for AAPI students, the reception provided a networking opportunity for attendees.

The all-day event aimed to raise awareness about the unique needs of the AAPI student population and shed light on their experiences in the U.S. higher education landscape.

The summit offered panel presentations and a town hall meeting focusing on research and assessment, policy and advocacy, and student outcomes. In addition, the event welcomed for the first time nearly all Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) college presidents who discussed the impact of their institutions and other minority-serving institutions on advancing the national college completion goals.


“Our higher education summit is being held to help identify policies and practices concerning not only the success of the AAPI student population, but to support postsecondary education equity and inclusion to increase the success of all students,” said APIASF President & Executive Director Neil Horikoshi.

He added: “As the United States strives to become globally competitive in the 21st century, additional investments in higher education policies must be made immediately to help address the complex set of social realities faced by students in the underrepresented and underserved AAPI community – one of the fastest-growing minority populations in the United States.”

Earlier in the day, APIASF, along with its research partner, the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, launched the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research (PEER) project to help realize the full degree-earning potential of the AAPI student population.

Considered one of the largest investments in history to increase AAPI student success, the PEER project is a three-year, nearly $2 million effort being supported by The Kresge Foundation, USA Funds, and the Walmart Foundation.

Also in were several notable leaders who acknowledged the event’s valuable contributions to the ongoing conversations about diversity in higher education.

One important guest included Clarence A. Johnson, principal director and director for civilian equal employment opportunity, Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Equal Opportunity) at the Pentagon. He said, “The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is proud to work closely with APIASF as they help to educate the next generation of leaders. We are committed to furthering diversity in DoD by offering challenging and fulfilling career opportunities to men and women of all backgrounds; as the Department is better served when it reflects the nation it serves.”


Based in Washington, D.C., APIASF ( is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

APIASF works to create opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed after post-secondary education; thereby developing future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and will ultimately contribute to a vibrant America.

Since 2003, APIASF has distributed more than $60 million in scholarships to deserving AAPI students. APIASF manages two scholarship programs: APIASF's general scholarship and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The 2012 APIASF higher education summit is made possible through the generous support of our presenting sponsors: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Southwest Airlines, USA Funds, Walmart, and Wells Fargo.

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