Chia Youyee Vang
Dr. Chia Youyee Vang is Interim Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She oversees the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) that is responsible for advancing diversity and equity and fostering inclusion for all members of the campus community. Vang served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion & Engagement from 2017-2021. She is a professor of history and has been on the UWM faculty since 2006. Her teaching and research interests include twentieth century U.S. international history, the Cold War in Asia, Asian American history, Hmong history, refugee migration and transnational and diasporic communities. She founded the Hmong Diaspora Studies program in 2009 and has since served as its director.
Dr. Vang has an active research agenda. She has published many articles on Hmong/Southeast Asian refugees/Americans. She is author of four books: Prisoner of Wars: A Hmong Fighter Pilot’s Story of Escaping Death and Confronting Life (Temple University Press, December 2020), Fly Until You Die: An Oral History of Hmong Pilots in the Vietnam War (Oxford University Press, 2019), Hmong America: Reconstructing Community in Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2010), and Hmong in Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2008). In March 2016, the University of Minnesota Press released her co-edited (with Drs. Faith Nibbs and Ma Vang) volume, Claiming Place: On the Agency of Hmong Women. She is currently writing a book entitled, The Sorrow of Displacement: Southeast Asian Identity and (Be)Longing in the Global South, which examines the social and cultural history of Southeast Asian refugees resettled in French Guiana and Argentina in the late 1970s amidst much local protests. In 2016, she received the Office of Research/UWM Foundation Award for Excellence in Research
Service is very important to Dr. Vang so she gives generously of her time and expertise. She is currently a member of the Wisconsin Historical Society board of curators and the Milwaukee County Historical Society board of directors. She represents UW-Milwaukee as a commissioner with the Milwaukee County Social Development Commission. She has received the following recognitions for her commitment to diversity and excellence in higher education: University of Wisconsin Board of Regents Diversity Award-Individual (2016), Wisconsin Women Making History (2015); UW System Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award (2014), and Hmong Woman of the Year by the Hmong Consortium (2010).
Learning about other cultures and people around the world is Dr. Vang’s passion. Although she grew up in the United States, she has traveled to many countries in Europe, Asia and South America. Since 2009, she has led short-term study abroad programs to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam for American students. Outside of academia, Dr. Vang has extensive experience facilitating groups and developing opportunities for diverse communities to dialogue about matters important to them. Since 1999, she has provided research, evaluation, and planning consulting services to nearly 50 community-based organizations, philanthropic institutions, and government entities in the human services, health, and education areas. As a former refugee, she is knowledgeable about and sensitive to issues that affect new Americans and other communities of color.
Dr. Vang earned a B.A. in political science, with an emphasis on international relations, and French from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1994. She studied abroad in France during her junior year through the Institut d’Etudes Européennes, Université de Paris en Sorbonne and Université de Nantes. She has an M.A. in Public Affairs and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She is fluent in Hmong, English and French languages.
In her spare time, Dr. Vang enjoys playing soccer with the Women’s Soccer Club in Milwaukee. She also proudly completed two marathons. She and her husband, Tong, have one daughter and two sons.