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Pacific & Asian Affairs Council

Manuscript M014 (link to bibliographic record in Hawaii Voyager)


The Executive Director of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (PAAC), Diane Peters-Nguyen, donated the PAAC records to the Archives in December 1995. The records cover the period from PAAC’s formation in December 1953 into the early 1990s with no single, precise cutoff date.

The collection consists of thirty-nine record center boxes and one smaller document box coming from PAAC and four document boxes of early PAAC records transferred from the collection of Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) records. The record center boxes cover the 1953 to 1990s period; the half document box contains historical summaries of PAAC; and the four boxes transferred from IPR cover the 1953-1958 period. Professor Paul Hooper inventoried the PAAC documents, leaving them in their original order and folders. Later he rearranged the boxes into a chronological order. The contents of boxes is sometimes jumbled, with records of some series sharing boxes containing records of other series. The important series reporesented in the PAAC records are annual reports, minutes of the Board of Governors meetings, minutes of Executive Committee meetings, correspondence, annual programs for the high schools of Hawai‘i, lists of East West Center scholars and University of Hawai‘i professors who provided resources for the high school programs, and budget information.

Historical Note

Pacific and Asian Affairs Council grew out of the Honolulu Branch of the Institute of Pacific Relations. The history of the Institute of Pacific Relations is briefly summarized in the “Historical Note” for that collection. Against the background of mounting criticism of the IPR during the McCarthy era, the Honolulu Branch elected to disassociate itself from the IPR and to reorganize as Pacific and Asian Affairs Council in December 1953. Initially there were few changes: the staff remained; PAAC retained the library and headquarters in “Pacific House” (a residence at 2014 University Avenue near the University of Hawai‘i owned by the local IPR); and PAAC maintained its largely student-oriented program. Over the years, thousands of students in Hawai‘i have participated in these events. Along with its secondary education program, PAAC also sponsors a speakers program directed to the whole community and maintains an affiliation with the World Affairs Councils of America.

Over time changes have occurred. PAAC has not continued the highly developed research aspect inherited from the IPR. Shortly after the focus began shifting from research to secondary education programs, the need for a library diminished, and PAAC cut back the accessions budget and then eliminated the library altogether. As less space was required for programs and as Pacific House deteriorated with age, the directors decided to sell the property and rent smaller facilities. For the past twenty or more years, the headquarters of PAAC have been located in the East West Center. PAAC remains one of the important international organizations in Hawai‘i.1

1 For greater detail see “Celebrating 50 Years of Bringing the World to Hawaii,” Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, 2004

Inventorypdf file

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