San Francisco State University College of Ethnic Studies
43rd Anniversary and Annual Program
The annual Exemplary Leadership Awards are given to individuals and organizations who embody the social justice values of the movements that gave birth to the College of Ethnic Studies, and who continue to serve our communities today.
Dr. Ben Kobashigawa
Dr. Ben Kobashigawa has been teaching in Asian American Studies (AAS) since 1986. Teaching and research at SF State was the culmination of an intellectual and political trajectory from antiwar activism to radical political economy and ethnic studies. His major contributions were in the MA program in AAS, and taking a leading role in the College of Ethnic Studies Assembly that met 2005-6 to resolve tensions within the college.
Dr. Kobashigawa received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an MA in Economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the translator and editor of two books, the Hokubei Okinawa Club's History of the Okinawans in North America, published by the Asian American Studies Center at UCLA and Imin no Aiwa (The Sad Tale of an Immigrant), a life story of Paul Shinsei Kochi, a leftist issei leader in the Okinawan community. He is a recognized scholar on Okinawan immigrant history in Okinawa and the U.S., along with other published research on Japanese and Asian American subjects.
Dr. Kobashigawa has been continuously active in the community. He serves as board president of the Japanese American National Library (JANL), one of the few successful community-based ethnic libraries in the country. He is also on the Program Advisory Board of the JANL, which regularly provides community education programs on topics of interest to the Japanese American community. He has long been an active member of the Okinawan community in both Northern and Southern California.