By Er Li Peng MPP/MBA 2025 

five people posing for a photo
At Breaking Barriers: AAPI Trailblazers in State Government, an event co-sponsored by the Ash Center and AAPI Caucus, Massachusetts State Representatives Tram Nguyen and Tackey Chan discussed their experiences as AAPI policymakers.

Who we are 

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus is a student organization at the Harvard Kennedy School that aims to build a community that celebrates and promotes diverse AAPI histories, our intersectional identities, and our shared political identity. We are committed to advocating for justice and equity for both our community and for other minority groups. We seek to support one another personally, politically, and professionally. 

What we do 

We are a very engaged student organization and frequently collaborate with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, other student organizations at HKS such as the Asian American Policy Review, and AAPI student organizations across the Harvard graduate schools.  

This academic year, we hosted a variety of events (many that included free food!).  

  • Every semester, we host an AAPI Potluck, where our community comes together to celebrate the start of a new semester over delicious food and drink. 

  • In November, we co-sponsored an event with the Ash Center on intergenerational trauma in AAPI communities. The event featured a panel of professors from UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Columbia University. 

  • We jointly hosted an AAPI Grad School Mixer with AAPI student groups from other Harvard graduate schools. Our collective community gathered to meet new friends from across academic disciplines and connect with one another while enjoying a ramen bar and drinks. 

  • In April, we co-hosted an event with the Ash Center called Breaking Barriers, featuring Massachusetts State Representatives Tram Nguyen and Tackey Chan, who discussed their experiences as AAPI policymakers and politicians in state government. 

  • We co-sponsored a film screening of the documentary Bad Axe with the Asian American Policy Review. The film is about a Cambodian-Mexican-American family fighting to keep their family restaurant and American dream alive amidst the pandemic and racial tensions in their small rural hometown in Michigan. 

collage of photos from AAPI Caucus events, speakers
At various events throughout the year, the AAPI Caucus brought together students, policymakers, and thought leaders to discuss issues of importance to the AAPI community.

How to get involved 

As an HKS student, there are many different ways to get involved with the AAPI Caucus on campus. 

  • Attend our community gatherings and speaker and panel events on AAPI-related topics. 

  • Join the AAPI Caucus leadership team to gain organizing, event planning, public speaking, and leadership experience. 

  • Help coordinate an event or serve as a moderator for a panel discussion. 

  • Network and connect with other AAPI students at potlucks and mixers with other Harvard graduate schools. 

  • Stay connected by joining our email list to get information about our latest events, AAPI issues in the news, and opportunities for community bonding and solidarity. 

Image Credits

Sarah Grucza MC/MPA '24, Rachel Pak MPP '23

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