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Asian Women's Institute - North American Office Records

Call Number: RG 106

Scope and Contents

These records provide fascinating documentation of the creation and development of an organization devoted to the self-realization of women in Asia through education. The AWI and its American support agency emerged at the same time, but now the AWI continues only as an Asian-led organization. The evolving interchange of leadership and power between Asian and American women documented in these records is of interest. The issues addressed by the AWI during the years documented by this collection included career options for Asian women, peacemaking, and leadership development. The AWI published the periodical Asian Woman, sponsored research projects, and in many other ways contributed to mutual exchange and cooperation between the Asian women's colleges it supported. This record group also includes much valuable information about the individual women's colleges in India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, and the Philippines that were AWI members.

Series I through V of this record group are parallel streams of documentation, each covering the same years, but from different angles. Series I, History and Overview, traces the events and proposals leading to the establishment of the Asian Women's Institute, gives a succinct view of the evolving policies and activities of the AWI, and documents the relationship of AWI to other organizations. Many of the documents in this series are duplicated in other series, but have been drawn together here to provide an overview of the organization's development.

Series II, Meeting/ Committee Records, includes records of the Asian Women's Institute and its American support agencies. The organizational hierarchy of the archives is a bit confusing because it reflects the interplay between the Asian Women's Institute, its North American support agency called the Association of North American Cooperating Agencies of Overseas Women's Christian Colleges (and later name changes), and the Committee of 75, which had primarily a fundraising function. Subseries headings in Series II indicate which of these groups is being documented.

Series III, Correspondence/ Administrators' Files, contains the administrative files of the Committee of 75 (based in Boston) and the New York office of the AWI/Association. The International Office of the AWI sent carbon copies of correspondence to the New York office, so general AWI records are also included in the Association files.

Series IV, Conferences and Consultations, includes documentation of meetings leading up to the formation of the AWI, meetings of the Asian Women's Institute's constituents such as the Presidents' Consultations and AWI Executive Committee (as opposed to more administrative meetings of the Association support agency, which are documented in Series II), triennial conferences of the AWI, and themed conferences and seminars.

Series V, Programs and Projects, documents specific programs that the AWI sponsored. Of particular interest are the materials related to career development and leadership development among Asian women. These records complement the documentation in Series VI of the women's study centers operating at the Asian women's colleges. The documentation of Series VI by no means gives a complete picture of the work of these Asian women's colleges, but it provides a valuable record of the activities and programs of the colleges' women's study centers.

The Asian Women's Institute, the Association, and the Committee of 75 were all devoted to supporting the colleges' women's study centers and related programs and conferences. Series VII, Publications and Promotional Material, documents the methods used to spread the word about the center and programs. Of particular interest are the files of the periodical Asian Woman, which contained many substantive articles about women's issues in Asia.

Series VIII, Membership Records, and Series IX, Financial Records, contain administrative documentation of the operations of the Association and AWI, as well as documentation of efforts made to solicit grants and funds from other organizations. More material regarding the organizations with which the AWI and Association interacted is contained in Series X, Related Organizations. The material in Series X is less related to financial matters and more related to efforts of the AWI to cooperate with and benefit from other organizations, particularly Church Women United and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. Series XI, Collected Material, represents the "subject file" of the organization, materials that they had gathered as resource material.

Series XII, an Addendum added in 2011, includes materials that were received with the Margaret Flory Papers, YDSL RG 86. The materials in this series overlap with those received earlier, as reflected in its subseries.


  • 1960-1993


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Asia Women's Institute, New York Office.


  1. I. History and Overview
  2. II. Organization / Committee Records
  3. III. Correspondence / Administrators' files
  4. IV. Conferences and Consultations
  5. V. Programs and Projects
  6. VI. Colleges and Centers in Asia
  7. VII. Publications and Promotional Material
  8. VIII.Membership Records
  9. IX. Financial Records
  10. X. Related Organizations
  11. XI. Collected Material
  12. XII. Addendum


24 Linear Feet (51 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Minutes, correspondence, printed material, and administrative records document the creation of the AWI and its development into an organization led primarily by Asian women. The archives also contain documentation related to the Asian women's colleges that were members of the AWI. The Asian Women's Institute was created in 1975 as a catalyst organization motivating Christian colleges for women in Asia to focus attention and resources on the major needs of women in their respective countries and to build a cooperative network among the thirteen member institutions. For many years the AWI had a New York office as well as an international office, but after the early 1990s the majority of its activities were handled through the international office.

Biographical / Historical

1971 April
Beirut University College, Beirut, Lebanon
Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Pakistan
Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, Korea
Seoul Woman's University; Seoul, Korea
Madras Women's Christian College, Chennai (Madras), India
Tokyo Woman's Christian University; Tokyo, Japan
Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow, India
St. Christopher's College of Education, Chennai (Madras), India
Representatives of the following schools agreed to plan for a joint organzation:
Kobe College, Japan
Hawabagh Women's College, Jabalpur, India
Philippine Women's Institute (Harris Memorial College, Manila, Northern Christian College, Laoag City, and Silliman University, Dumaguete City)
Damavand College, Tehran, Iran
1972 May
Presidents of the nine original colleges met in Seoul, beginning a pattern of presidential consultations every three years.
1974 October
Planning Committee for the Asian Women's Institute met prior to Church Women United Assembly in Memphis. Conference of Asian educators in the USA held following Assembly. Support group called the Committee of 75 was formed, with Phebe Gregorian as chairperson.
1975 May
Asian Women's Institute was founded during Administrators' Consultation in Beirut. Dr. Eva Shipstone, President of Isabella Thoburn College, was appointed as International Coordinator and Mira Phailbus, Principal of Kinnaird College, was appointed president. A group called the Association of North American Cooperating Agencies of Overseas Women's Christian Colleges was formed as the North American support agency for the AWI. The Program Agency of the Presbyterian Church in the USA contributed office space in New York and the services of Margaret Flory. The work of the Committee of 75 was carried on by Phebe Gregorian in Boston. There were also "clusters" created in various North American cities.
Triennial conference in Tokyo
Career services and continuing education emphasis for the triennium - Commission on Women and Work; activities in conjunction with Wellesley College women's career center.
1981 July
Triennial conference in Manila
Peacemaking emphasis for the triennium
Association changed its name to Association of Christians for Women's Education in Asia
Santosh Singh was International Coordinator following the retirement of Eva Shipstone
Margaret Flory transferred U. S. leadership to a series of others.
Tenth Anniversary celebration and triennial meeting in Hong Kong (originally scheduled for New Delhi)
Leadership development emphasis for triennium
Association changed its name to Association of Christians for Women's Education and Development in Asia
Triennial conference in Indonesia
Triennial conference at Kobe College, Japan
Leadership of North American association in flux (included Erika Harper, Jean Woo, Beverley Thompson-Travis, Betty Gray); North American contributions becoming sparse. New York office closed and records transferred to YDSL.

Processing Information

Place names were modernized in the description, with the name originally used in the collection material or in an older version of the finding aid in parenthesis: e.g. “Beijing (Peking)” or “Benin (Dahomey)”.

Guide to the Asian Women's Institute - North American Office Records
Compiled by Martha Lund Smalley
1999, 2011
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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