Sayonara, Tokyo! Ni Hao, Beijing!
With several days of productive meetings in Japan behind them and buoyed by the spirit on display at last night’s largest-ever Japan alumni chapter gathering, members of the IU delegation boarded a plane early this morning for Beijing, the next stop on their two-week presidential trip to Asia.
A quick word about these international trips: As much as one would like to look back and reflect on what’s just been accomplished – and much, indeed, was accomplished in Japan – it’s virtually impossible, when you’re thousands of feet in the air and jetting across countries, not to look ahead excitedly – if not a bit exhaustedly – at what’s next.
In the case of China, where IU has especially strong connections, there’s much to look forward to, including meetings and partnership agreement signings Friday at China’s top-ranked Tsinghua University and Beijing Sport University, one of the world’s elite sport universities.
Late Friday afternoon, IU President Michael A. McRobbie will preside over the grand opening of the IU China Office, the university’s second international gateway facility. Like IU’s other gateway facility near New Delhi, India, the Beijing-based IU China Office will serve as a home base for IU’s activities in this country. More specifically, it will support scholarly research and teaching, conferences and workshops, study abroad programs, distance learning initiatives, executive and corporate programs, and alumni events.
Located on the sixth floor of the CERNET building in the Tsinghua Science Park, which is the science park of Tsinghua University, the new office is expected to enable the university to accelerate opportunities for its faculty, visiting scholars and students. With regard to the latter, more than 3,500 of IU’s total 8,263 international students this past academic year came from the People’s Republic of China. In turn, China served as host to 225 students from across IU last year.
Members of the IU delegation wasted little time getting down to business on their first day in Beijing. Shortly after arriving in China’s capital city on Thursday, they headed to the China University of Political Science and Law, China’s leading law school. McRobbie and CUPL Vice President Zhang Baosheng signed a cooperation agreement between CUPL and the IU Maurer School of Law establishing a new jointly operated Academy for the Study of Chinese Law and Comparative Judicial Systems. The academy is IU’s second such international institute; in 2009, the university joined with the Australian National University, that nation’s top-ranked institution of higher education, to form the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute. The new academy will be officially unveiled in a ceremony in Bloomington in October 2014.
CUPL, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, is a “Project 211″ university, a government honor bestowed upon China’s leading institutions of higher education. It has educated and trained more than 200,000 graduates and has taken part in nearly all national legislation activities since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It has also welcomed numerous renowned scholars from around the world for lectures, research and conferences, including, in 2011, the late IU Distinguished Professor and 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences Elinor Ostrom.
The establishment of the new academy will foster lecture and research exchanges among leading legal scholars both here in Beijing and back home in Bloomington. It also sets the stage for additional collaboration between IU and CUPL, two internationally focused institutions that possess a striking set of complementary interests, including, among others, establishing relationships with the best universities all across the globe.
Among those from CUPL who attended Thursday’s agreement signing was Thomas Man, adjunct professor of evidence law and forensic science, one of China’s top foreign legal advisors and a 1997 graduate of the IU Maurer School of Law. At an alumni dinner Thursday evening, Man – whose wife, Joyce, is a faculty member at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs – talked enthusiastically about what a major development the new academy was, how excited he was to have the opportunity to go back to Bloomington and how much he looked forward to welcoming IU’s best legal minds to his university and to Beijing.
So even though the IU delegation had just said sayonara to Tokyo, it was hard not to look ahead to tomorrow – and many more tomorrows – in Beijing, where IU’s presence promises to be firmly rooted for years to come.
Tags: ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute, Beijing, Beijing Sport University, CERNET, China, China University of Political Science and Law, CUPL, IU, IU China gateway, IU China Office, Maurer School of Law, Michael A. McRobbie, Thomas Man, Tsinghua University