September 30, 2023

Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2010) – The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation announced Monday that Gale Awaya McCallum has assumed duties as Executive Director, and Dr. Franklin Odo will serve as the Director of Research and Education.

NJAMF, a nonprofit organization for education and public awareness about the Japanese American experience during World War II, gained notoriety for raising the private funds to build the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Awaya McCallum has been involved in education and program development for more than 25 years. Prior to joining NJAMF, she served as Director of the Gates Millennium Scholars program in the Asian & Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund, where she administered the multi-million dollar scholarship and leadership program for outstanding students that represent the diversity of the United States.

She was a member of the original group of educators, community, corporate and business leaders that established APIASF and currently serves on its Advisory Council. Before moving to Washington, D.C., she worked at the East-West Center in Honolulu, a U.S.-based institution for public diplomacy in the Asia Pacific region, where she held positions in institutional advancement, program administration and grants management.

“I am honored to be named the new executive director of this unique, historic organization which continues to educate the public about the internment and Japanese American heroism during World War II,” said Awaya McCallum. “I look forward to continuing NJAMF’s mission of paying particular attention to our young people and helping them learn about the distinguished service of the Japanese Americans who fought to preserve our freedoms in World War II while many of their families and neighbors were being removed from their homes and sent to internment camps.

“This story reminds us that liberty and justice for all is a goal not a given; the struggle to fully achieve that worthy goal remains with us,” she added.

Dr. Odo retired in January 2010 as Founding Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American program. He served in that capacity since its inception in 1997. The APA program is the key unit within the Smithsonian assisting 19 museums and other agencies in incorporating programs, research, artifacts and outreach.

Dr. Odo brought numerous exhibits to the Smithsonian focusing on Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Indian Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Native Hawaiians and Vietnamese Americans. He was also a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Hawai’i and a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Hunter College, Princeton University and Columbia University.

“I am delighted to be working with the Memorial Foundation, and pleased that we secured a National Park Service grant,” said Dr. Odo, Director of Research and Education. “I look forward  to recruiting and training a new cadre of docents and volunteers to support and perpetuate the work of the foundation.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in our nation’s capital. NJAMF is planning a celebration this fall, the details of which will be released soon.