The new initiative will equip leaders to address concerns of the Asian American community
Update: Since this article was published the Asian American Initiative has grown and undergone a shift in leadership, and is now known as the Asian American Center. Learn more here.
Fuller Seminary has officially launched the Asian American Initiative (AAI)—a new department to serve Asian American students and to engage the wider Asian American community. AAI's core mission is to equip leaders who can critically and theologically address the issues and concerns of the Asian American community by offering academic programs and spiritual formation groups for students as well as conferences and seminars for the wider community.
Leading AAI as part-time executive director is Ken Fong, noted conference speaker, pioneer in multi-Asian and multiethnic church ministries, and senior pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, located in Rosemead, California, where he has served for the last 32 years. In the past, Dr. Fong has served as a trustee for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Westmont College, and the Asian American Drug Abuse Program.
"Asian Americans live at the intersection of Asian heritage, immigration experience, American culture, and marginality. While addressing the particular challenges that arise out of that complex intersection, our vision is to raise up culturally savvy, spiritually deep, and emotionally attuned leaders who, above all, know how to embody and proclaim God's unconditional grace," said Fong.
In addition, Daniel Lee has been appointed AAI's associate director. Lee is a PhD candidate, finishing up his dissertation on constructing an Asian American theology from an evangelical perspective.
Asian Americans are the largest minority group at Fuller, making up 12 percent of the student body. Fuller has already established an African American Church Studies office and a Hispanic Studies office for their respective communities and students.
AAI was developed through a three-year preparatory phase led by Lee that ended last year. The initiative frames the Asian American context as the intersection of four dynamic themes: Asian heritage, immigration experience, American culture, and marginality. This fourfold approach allows its programs and research to articulate Asian American issues with nuance and clarity, while also reflecting the complexities and diversities of multiple generations, ethnicities, and American regional differences.
"We're excited to have AAI join the Fuller community in its mission to equip men and women of all cultures and backgrounds in the manifold ministries of Christ and his church," said President Mark Labberton. "As it develops under the leadership of Ken and Daniel, AAI will be an important player in equipping Asian American ministries of every type and in articulating Asian American concerns in multicultural contexts as well."
The initiative has been funded in part by an endowment from the L2 Foundation, led by Alice and Paul Chou, which is committed to the development of leadership and legacy of Asian Americans.
Fuller's AAI office can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626.584.5430.