Vang, Chia Youyee
Dr. Chia Youyee Vang is a full professor in the Department of History. She is an internationally known expert on Hmong history, culture and contemporary life. She founded UWM’s Hmong Diaspora Studies program in 2009 and serves as its director. Dr. Vang also 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 more than 40 community based organizations, philanthropic institutions, and government entities in the human services, health, and education areas. The wide range of projects have enabled her to be knowledgeable about and sensitive to issues that affect Americans from diverse backgrounds.
Dr. Vang came to the United States at the age of nine with her parents and five siblings. She has a passion for learning about other cultures and people around the world. 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. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2006. She also holds an M.A. degree in public policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. in political science, with an emphasis on international relations, and French from Gustavus Adolphus College. As an undergraduate student, she studied in France for one year at the Institut d’Etudes Européennes, Université de Paris en Sorbonne and Université de Nantes. She is fluent in Hmong, English and French languages and speaks conversational Lao.
Dr. Vang has an active research agenda. She has published many articles on Hmong/Southeast Asian refugees/Americans. She is author of two books: Hmong America: Reconstructing Community in Diaspora (2010), published by the University of Illinois Press, and Hmong in Minnesota (2008), published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. In March 2016, the University of Minnesota Press released her co-edited volume, Claiming Place: On the Agency of Hmong Women. Her book exploring war and memory among Hmong pilots trained by the U.S. Air Force during the Secret War in Laos was published by Oxford University Press in April 2019. She is currently working on a book that examines Hmong lives in the South American and European contexts.
Dr. Vang gives generously of her time and expertise. A partial list of her past and current board experiences includes the following: Wisconsin Humanities Council, Wisconsin Historical Society, Southeast Asian Educational Development, Inc., Hmong American Peace Academy Charter School, Gustavus Adolphus College, and League of Women Voters of Minnesota. As a scholar, she has served on many committees, such as the editorial board of Amerasia Journal and co-chair of the American Studies Association-Japanese Association of American Studies Project Advisory Committee. The latter facilitates faculty exchanges between the United States and Japan. 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).