The East-West Center is pleased to be collaborating with the University of Hawai‘i Foundation and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa to raise funds for student fellowships in honor of Ann Dunham Soetoro, the mother of President Barack Obama. The graduate degree fellowships will focus on Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, and are intended to perpetuate the kind of penetrating and insightful study of Indonesia that was exemplified by this distinguished alumna of the East-West Center and the University of Hawai‘i.
Ann Dunham Soetoro was awarded East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowships from 1973 through 1978, for Master’s and Ph.D. studies in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i . Her thesis was based on her intense involvement with rural communities in Java where the challenges of development were particularly evident. Because of her premature death in 1995, Ann’s contributions might have been little recognized were it not for the election of her son as President of the United States. Since that time an edited version of her dissertation has been published by Duke University Press, edited by Alice Dewey and Nancy Cooper, bringing more attention to her remarkable career.