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Smithsonian program hires UH professor as acting director

A University of Hawaii cinema professor, who is also President Barack Obama’s brother-in-law, is serving as acting director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program this summer.

The UH Manoa Academy for Creative Media said Konrad Ng, an assistant professor and scholar of Asian-American cinema and digital media, is managing the Asian Pacific American Program while the Smithsonian searches for a permanent director.

Ng was a scholar-in-residence at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program last fall, and has a decade-long history of working in Asian and Asian-American cultural institutions, programs, and organizations. 

The Smithsonian program was founded and headed by former UH Manoa professor Franklin Odo, who recently retired.

"The Smithsonian felt that Dr. Ng’s scholarship in cinema and digital media, and his previous administrative and curatorial experience in cultural organizations would be helpful in developing this prestigious national program," said Tom Brislin, the chairman of the UH Manoa Academy for Creative Media.

 "I am grateful for the opportunity to return to the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program as its acting director for the summer," Ng said in a news release. "The program plays an important role in highlighting the experience of Asians, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians in the telling of the American story. The University of Hawaii at Manoa and its students can play a role in telling this story, and I am excited to explore ways we can add these voices."

Ng is married to Maya Soetoro-Ng, the president’s sister.

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For information, visit the program’s website at apa.si.edu.

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