Aina Appointed to Obama’s Advisory Commission

Sefa Aina, Director of Pomona College’s Asian American Resource Center, was recently appointed to President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The Advisory Commission was created as a result of an Executive Order signed by President Obama in Oct. 2009 that reestablished the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

According to the Department of Education, the initiative aims to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by increasing their access to federal programs that have traditionally underserved these groups. These programs include services in education, commerce, health, business, arts, employment and various other areas.

“We are very excited about Sefa’s appointment,” said Karin Mak, Program Coordinator of the Asian American Resource Center. “His dedication to social justice, combined with his many years of community service, is an asset to the Pomona College community. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to draw upon someone with such wisdom and experience.”

Besides being the Director of the Asian American Resource Center, Aina holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and is currently starting a Masters program, also at UCLA, in Asian American Studies. In addition, he has worked as an advisor and coordinator for the University’s Asian American Studies Center. He is also a founding member of the National Pacific Islander Educators Network (NPIEN) and Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), and he helped establish Pacific Islander Education and Retention (PIER), a program that offers tutoring and mentoring to Pacific Islander youth in Long Beach and Inglewood, California.

In addition to his new position in the Obama administration, Aina will continue to serve as director of Pomona’s Asian American Resource Center.

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