Studying the Past, Impacting the Future
Professor of History
Chair of Asian Studies
College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
Since 2006, Bohr has partnered with EASC as an instructor in the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) Teaching about Asia seminars in St. Paul, MN. When asked what led him to work with this long-running professional development program for K-12 teachers, Bohr described his deeply held commitment to promoting education about East Asia. “It is essential that we begin to make our students ‘Asia literate’ at increasingly lower grade levels. NCTA is making impressive strides in this process and deserves to be strongly supported by all of us.”
Bohr is Professor of History and Chair of Asian Studies at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in central Minnesota. In addition to his teaching, Bohr regularly writes, lectures, and consults on U.S.-China relations and intercultural communications. Throughout his forty-plus-year career in the education, government, and non-profit fields, Bohr has consistently maintained that education about Asia is crucial to America’s global future. As a board member and chair of the ASIANetwork, a consortium of 155 U.S. liberal arts colleges with Asian studies programs, Bohr first heard of the NCTA program and its high-quality, content-rich Teaching about Asia seminars for teachers. He began teaching the annual spring NCTA seminar in St. Paul in 2006. He also served as the faculty expert for EASC’s 2009 and 2010 NCTA summer study tours to China.
Bohr firmly believes in the essential role that educational programs such as NCTA play in helping Americans better understand East Asia and in furthering cooperation between the U.S. and East Asia. “I feel very fortunate to have participated in the amazing NCTA project during the past few years. I can think of no more effective way to contribute to the broadening of Asian studies in the lower grades.” In fact, Bohr has seen the forward-reaching impact of NCTA in his university classrooms, as the NCTA teachers whom he has taught are now preparing his own future students and the next generation of ‘Asia Hands’: “This year an NCTA teacher-taught student entered my university and enrolled in my classes! What a joy it has been for me to be associated with Indiana University’s East Asian Studies Center.” Bohr’s achievements show that it is indeed true, what the Chinese proverb says, that “if you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.”