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Chiho Sawada, PhD

Dr. Chiho Sawada is associate professor of History and Interdisciplinary Studies as well as academic coordinator (chair) of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program in the School of Education and Liberal Arts. He has also held appointments in History, Politics, and International Relations in the School of Business and Applied Social Sciences. His teaching, research, and service activities focus on experiential learning, historical injustice/reconciliation, peace studies, and social entrepreneurship.  

Dr. Sawada specializes in building and coordinating research networks. Prior to his tenure at HNU, he helped organize collaborative research projects at Stanford University and University of San Francisco concerning historical injustices and pathways to reconciliation in the Asia Pacific. As an outgrowth of such collaboration, his book Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East Asia (co-edited with Michael Berry) was published by University of Hawai’i Press in 2016. He also managed efforts to revive an important peer-reviewed publication, the Journal of Korean Studies, which had been dormant for over ten years. Currently, he leads the JPRI (Japan Policy Research Institute) Network, which links scholars at research universities in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and the United States—and serves as editor of JPRI Working Papers. A new book project explores people-to-people diplomacy and the repatriation of war trophies.  

At HNU, Dr. Sawada has led efforts to build the Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute (APPSI) as a driver for not only collaborative research but also experiential learning, intercultural communication, and community engagement. 

  • APPSI programming such as its Economics and Social Entrepreneurship Speaker Series help build relationships with leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit sector—which grows available internship sites and potential employers for our students. 
  • The APPSI Next Gen Peacebuilders student leadership and professional development program offers students opportunities to grapple with real-world challenges by designing and carrying out development and relief projects. 

Other signature APPSI programs includes its Lifelong Learning Series, Global Oakland Initiative, and Oakland International Film Festival. APPSI programs are supported by external grants (e.g., Silicon Valley Community Foundation), community donations, and funding from the HNU Office of the Vice President for External Relations and Strategic Partnerships. 

Dr. Sawada also takes an active role in promoting campus-wide collaboration. He has been twice elected chairperson of the HNU Faculty Senate and recently completed his seventh year on the Senate Executive Committee and the HNU Institutional Planning Council. He has also served as faculty advisor to the Associated Students of Holy Names University. He currently chairs the Undergraduate Curriculum & Standards Committee and regularly volunteers for numerous ad hoc committees for curricular innovation and assessment. In all these roles, he seeks to break down organizational silos to improve cross-department collaboration and support student success. 

He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Harvard University, and a B.A. degree from the University of California San Diego. He completed his post-doctoral training at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He has also studied diplomatic history and international relations at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, conducted research at numerous other academic institutions in Asia and the United States, and served stints at U.S. embassies in Beijing and Seoul.