The Asian and Asian American Institute (AAAI) was established in 1991 as a presidentially charted program to serve as a campus resource to engage the surrounding Asian and Asian American communities. With its unique location in the heart of the greater metropolitan Los Angeles and its proximity to the Pacific Rim, the AAAI was established to foster strong competitive relationships with the Asian community, business, educational, cultural, and political institutions locally and overseas in Asia.
The role of the Asian and Asian American Institute is more important for Cal State LA than ever before. As a designated AANAPISI (Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Institution), Cal State LA's growing number of students of Asian/Asian American descent represents the second largest group on a campus that is located in the largest most dynamic community of Asians in the United States, in particular Chinese Americans. Furthermore, Asia is one of the most dynamic economic and cultural center of the world in the 21st century. In addition to providing the world with valuable goods and services, Asia also plays an increasingly significant role in world politics. Over the past few years, two of the largest university donors, who are of Asian Descent, have made significant university and monetary commitments to the growth of Cal State LA.
The demand for knowledge about Asia and Asian America Pacific century has grown rapidly in all regions and all sectors, with a pressing urgency in California. The high demand in California is largely due to the following intertwined facts:
1) California has about 40% of the nation's population of people of heritage, and this population is growing now that in previous decades, and also faster than any other ethnic group in the United States.
2) Asian Americans have become a strong voice and voting bloc in local, state, and national politics.
3) California's geographical proximity to Asia and its crucial role in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and its future role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
4) The state's own initiatives to promote economic and cultural ties with Asia.