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Luce Initiative on
    Southeast Asia

Luce Initiative on Asian
    Studies and the
    Environment (LIASE)

LIASE Grants
LIASE Conference
LIASE Resources


The Luce Foundation's Asia Program pursues two interrelated goals. One is fostering cultural and intellectual exchange between the United States and the countries of East and Southeast Asia. The second is creating scholarly and public resources for improved understanding of Asia in the United States.

The Asia Program includes two categories of grantmaking: Asia Responsive Grants and Special Initiatives. The Luce Scholars Program, which provides fellowships for professional internships in Asia for young American leaders, is administered as a separate program.

Learn about the Asia Program's newest Special Initiative,
the Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia

Asia Responsive Grants

Responsive grants provide opportunities to improve understanding between the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. These grants typically support research, create new scholarly and public resources, or promote the exchange of ideas and information between Americans and Asians.

Grants are limited to work in the humanities and social sciences concerned with Northeast and Southeast Asia, typically for longer-term programs or projects that respond to the needs and priorities of the Asian studies field and benefit a wide range of scholars and institutions. Most awards are made to colleges, universities and organizations based in the United States.

Grants have included but are not limited to support for:

  • Asian studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Language training
  • Library and resource development
  • Southeast Asian studies
  • Asian art history studies and art exhibitions
  • Faculty development
  • Scholarly collaboration and exchange
  • Policy studies
  • Underrepresented and newly emerging fields of inquiry
  • Research on the history of Christianity in China and other parts of Asia

Examples of programs that have received support from Foundation include: ASIANetwork, a consortium of liberal arts colleges in the U.S. which works to improve the study of Asia by undergraduate students; the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute, a nine-week intensive language training program for undergraduate and graduate students and professionals, offering instruction in Burmese, Hmong, Indonesian, Javanese, Khmer, Lao, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese; and the China Historical Geographic Information System, an international collaboration to create a digital database for the collection and sharing of Chinese historical information with a spatial element to examine change across time.

Special Initiatives

The Foundation also funds special competitive initiatives on specific issues relevant to the study of Asia.

The newest initiative is the Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia (LuceSEA), which was approved by the Foundation's Directors in June 2018. Details about the aims of the competition and complete application guidelines can be found on the initiative homepage.

The previous initiative, the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE), a competition for invited liberal arts colleges and liberal arts college consortia in the United States, was designed to encourage innovative approaches to Asian studies teaching and research at the undergraduate level through the lens of the environment and sustainable development. Approved by the Foundation’s Directors in November 2010, LIASE concluded grantmaking in 2017 and is no longer accepting proposals.

Other special initiatives have included the Luce Initiative on East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History, a five-year initiative which supported the creation of ten new faculty positions, collaborative research and individual fellowships; the Luce Fund for Asian Studies (1999-2002), which supported the creation of 38 new faculty positions at American liberal arts colleges; the United States-China Cooperative Research Program (1988-98); and the Luce Fund for Southeast Asian Studies (1987-94).

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Program Director: Ms. Helena Kolenda
Helena Kolenda joined the Henry Luce Foundation’s Asia Program in 1998, serving as program officer prior to her appointment as Program Director in 2008. Ms. Kolenda holds a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of California, Berkeley (1980) and a JD from the University of Texas School of Law (1989). Between 1981 and 1996, she spent a decade in China, working first as an English teacher with Volunteers in Asia and later as an attorney with the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. She is a trustee of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Program Officer: Mr. Li Ling
Ling has directed the Foundation’s Luce Scholars Program since 2009 and concurrently serves as the program officer for the Asia Program. Previously, Ling served as the director of transnational initiatives at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and practiced law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, both in New York. He also worked for the intergovernmental International Organization for Migration as a program officer in its Geneva Headquarters and in its Washington, D.C. and Vienna Missions. Ling is a native of Wuhan, China, and studied at the Institute of International Relations in Beijing from 1988-1991. He received his B.A. in comparative literature from Brigham Young University and has an M.A. in international relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School.

Program Associate: Yuting Li
Yuting was born and raised in China, and holds a B.A. in International Studies and a M.A. in Comparative Politics from Peking University. In 2016 she received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her academic focus is the study of political economy and social welfare, especially public housing in China. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2017, Yuting has devoted herself to women in philanthropy and early childhood education.

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