The Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS) was established at the University of Iowa (UI) in 1986 by an endowment gift from E&M Charities and the Stanley family of Muscatine, Iowa, and with the initiative of the then University of Iowa President James Freedman. From its inception, CAPS has been dedicated to increasing expertise in research and teaching of the Asia-Pacific by bringing together faculty, students, scholars and professionals from all over the world to develop deep and nuanced understandings of the region.

Through major gifts and grants from the Stanley Foundation, Korean Foundation, Hua Hsia Foundation, Japan Foundation, Freeman Foundation of Stowe and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, CAPS has grown exponentially. This extensive support has bestowed the Center with two tenure-track assistant professorships in Japanese and Korean Studies and three endowed professorships: the C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family Chair of Asian Studies; the C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family and Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies; and the C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family and Hua Hsia Chair in Chinese Culture and Institutions. These gifts have also supported many educational efforts, including study abroad semesters, outreach programs and workshops.

Today, CAPS is the flagship area studies center committed to being a gateway to the Asia-Pacific in the Lower Midwest.    

Our Mission 

The Center for Asian and Pacific Studies:

  • provides a platform for integrated and multidisciplinary research and teaching on the Asia-Pacific region;
  • supports innovative research, teaching and collaboration across and beyond cultural and disciplinary boundaries to generate new knowledge about the Asia-Pacific in transnational and transregional perspectives; and
  • promotes awareness, understanding and knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region and Asian-Pacific Islanders in America through collaborative community building programs.