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A musical and spirited journey

Arts, music, education and Hoosier pride will converge halfway across the world next week, and Indiana University will play a central role in all of it.

As part of its continued engagement with countries central to its mission of expanding overseas opportunities for its students and faculty, diversifying its campus culture and establishing new connections with its international alumni, IU will be part of several major events and activities – in China and South Korea – that reflect the university’s ever-growing global impact.

Members of the IU Jacobs School of Music Chamber Orchestra rehearse for their upcoming tour of South Korea.

Members of the IU Jacobs School of Music Chamber Orchestra rehearse for their upcoming tour of South Korea.

Those happenings include the first-ever Asian tour of the IU Chamber Orchestra, which will travel to Seoul for a series of high-profile concerts. The student-ensemble, part of the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music, will perform at Sookmyung Women’s University and Seoul National University before entertaining American military personnel stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan. The visit, which will be a homecoming for several of the Jacobs School students, will culminate with a concert at the Seoul Arts Center, the country’s foremost art and culture complex.

An IU delegation, led by IU President Michael A. McRobbie, will have the privilege of being on hand for three of those historic performances. While in Seoul, President McRobbie and his colleagues, including yours truly, also will meet IU alumni, spend time with Hoosiers serving in the U.S. military and attend meetings at several of Korea’s leading institutions of higher education, including Seoul National University and Ewha Womans University.

These and other activities will come after delegation members make a short but busy trip to China, where they will meet up with IU students studying in Beijing as part of the university’s Chinese Flagship Program, take part in a “China in the Middle East” conference, meet with senior leaders and faculty at Peking University, one of the country’s premier universities, and visit the IU China Office, which serves to facilitate the IU community’s engagement with the world’s most populous country.

The IU China Office in Beijing serves as a central hub of IU's many connections to the world's most populous country.

The IU China Office in Beijing serves as a central hub of IU’s many connections to the world’s most populous country.

IU has a long history of deep engagement with both China and Korea, dating back many decades and encompassing productive partnerships with a number of Asia’s top universities. Many of IU’s students, faculty and staff have close personal and professional ties to both countries. The more than 3,500 Chinese students and 900 Korean students who study at IU are a vital part of the life of the university, and both countries are popular destinations for IU students who study abroad. What’s more, the thousands of Hoosier alumni who are from China and Korea continue to serve as great global ambassadors for the university and the proven impact of an IU education.

I’ll be chronicling IU’s time spent in Asia, delivering first-hand, real-time reports of some of our daily activities here on this blog, but I won’t be the only one narrating portions of the trip. Several of the members of the student orchestra will also be sharing their stories and perspectives of their time in Seoul at a special Jacobs School of Music blog. I encourage you to check in frequently with these young performers who will have the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase their exceptional talent with an international audience.

Of course, I also hope you’ll follow me on this musical and spirited journey through this important part of the world, one that promises to further strengthen IU’s position as one of the nation’s most internationally focused universities.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly with questions at

First stop: Beijing. See you soon!

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