IU expanding its global engagement, renewing connections in Korea and China

Beginning Dec. 2, an Indiana University delegation led by IU President Michael A. McRobbie will embark on a weeklong trip to South Korea and China. There, the university will seek to strengthen its connections with partner universities, leaders in education, business and government, and its numerous East Asian alumni, many of whom have gone on to highly successful careers in their home countries.

Elinor Ostrom.

Elinor Ostrom

While in Beijing, McRobbie will deliver opening remarks at a U.S.-Chinese symposium on the impact of the research of the late Nobel laureate and IU Distinguished Professor Elinor Ostrom, whose path-breaking work on public choice, institutionalism and the commons continues to have a profound impact on students and scholars around the world, including in China.

The symposium take place at the IU China Gateway, one of IU’s three Global Gateway offices around the world that are connecting IU’s community with resources that make possible, among other activities, international research, teaching, workshops, conferences and study abroad program development.

While in China, McRobbie will also sign a cooperative agreement between the IU School of Education and the Institute of International and Comparative Education at Beijing Normal University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China, and another agreement between Tsinghua University and the School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Tsinghua University, often described as the MIT of China, is consistently regarded as China’s top-ranked university, and IU and Tsinghua have had a productive decade-long partnership focused on student exchanges and cooperative research.

During the trip to Tsinghua, McRobbie will also deliver a lecture on IU’s leadership in digitization and visualization, with particular focus on IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, an ambitious initiative aimed at preserving the university’s extensive collection of audio, video and film holdings.

Also in China, he will preside over alumni gatherings in Beijing and Shanghai. IU has more than 5,800 alumni affiliated with China, and more than 3,200 students from the country are enrolled at IU, representing over a third of the university’s international student body.

The trip will start in Seoul, where McRobbie, Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret — whose office has organized the trip — and other delegation members will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the IU Alumni Association’s Korean chapter.

Worldwide, IU now boasts more than 4,600 alumni affiliated with Korea, many of whom are members of the Korean alumni chapter, one of IU’s most active international alumni chapters.

The 30th anniversary celebration will be highlighted by a concert by IU Jacobs School of Music graduates, part of a continuing special relationship between one of our nation’s foremost music schools and Korea (the Jacobs School Chamber Orchestra embarked on a tour there in 2015). The event will also feature a talk by Seung-kyung Kim, founding Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies and director of IU’s new Institute for Korean Studies. The institute, inaugurated earlier this fall at IU’s School of Global and International Studies, builds on the university’s longstanding commitment to the study of East Asian and Pacific nations, specifically Korea. IU began offering the first Korean language courses in the Midwest in 1962 through the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, now the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.

More than 9,000 international students are enrolled at IU. More than 800 of those students are from Korea, making Korea the third leading country of origin for international students at IU.

IU President Michael McRobbie, front row, center, with members of IU's Korean alumni chapter.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie, seated front row center, with members of the IU Alumni Association’s Korean chapter.

For many decades now, East Asia has been central to IU’s global mission. That mission, as outlined in the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, calls for IU to cement its position as one of the world’s pre-eminent global universities by increasing study abroad opportunities for its students, recruiting talented foreign scholars to its campuses and strengthening its connections with the university’s many international alumni living and working around the world. These efforts are all part of IU’s ever-expanding Global Gateway Network, which includes offices in Beijing, New Delhi and Berlin.

IU’s expansion of partnerships and alumni outreach in South Korea and China reflects the university’s legacy of global engagement that is intended — in the words of the university’s legendary 11th president, Herman B Wells — to bring Indiana to the world and the world to Indiana.

I’ll serve as your eyes and ears to IU’s time in both countries, delivering first-hand, real-time reports of many of the delegation’s daily activities, sharing information about our strong ties to East Asia and offering insights into IU’s ongoing effort to enhance its international engagement efforts.

I hope you will follow along and check in frequently as I share news, photos and updates, and please feel free to reach out to me directly with questions at rpiurek@iu.edu.

See you soon in Seoul!

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