Annyeonghaseyo! Ni hao! Hello! And welcome to the IU Goes to Korea and China blog!
Beginning Monday, an Indiana University delegation, led by IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Vice President for International Affairs Hannah Buxbaum, will embark upon a weeklong trip to two nations and a region of the world where the university’s ties are deep, extensive and continually expanding.
IU has a history of successful engagement with Korea and China, spanning many decades and including productive partnerships with a number of East Asia’s premier institutions of teaching, learning and research. Over the years, these collaborative activities have encompassed a vast array of academic areas, including the arts, business, computer science, education, engineering, international studies, languages, law, media, philanthropy, public and environmental affairs, and public health.
The more than 3,200 Chinese students and over 700 Korean students who currently study at IU represent about half of the university’s international student population and are a vital part of the life of the university. Both countries are also increasingly popular destinations for IU students who study abroad.
Many IU faculty and staff have close personal and professional connections to Korea and China that have led to the establishment of institutional partnerships and furthered opportunities for student exchanges.
IU’s East Asian Studies Center, now nearly four decades old and a nexus of knowledge of the region, continues to link the university’s teaching, research and outreach activities related to East Asia to the needs of U.S. business, education and government. It is one of a record 11 area studies centers and programs at IU’s School of Global and International Studies to recently be awarded grant funding under the Department of Education’s prestigious Title VI program.
Furthermore, the thousands of Hoosier alumni who are from Korea and China continue to serve as global ambassadors for the university. Collectively, they make enormous contributions to the life and impact of IU around the world. Their individual experiences convey unique stories of the value of an IU education and what makes the Hoosier state such a vibrant place to live, work and study more than any ranking or advertisement could. And increasingly, many of IU’s graduates from this part of the world are choosing to stay in Indiana to launch new business ideas, which can often lead to a ripple effect of new jobs and investment.
For several decades now, East Asia has been a major focal point of 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 expanding Global Gateway Network, which now includes offices in Beijing, Berlin, Mexico City and New Delhi that connect the IU community with resources that make possible international programs, projects and other activities.
More broadly speaking, IU’s expansion of partnerships and its alumni outreach in Korea and China also 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.
While overseas, President McRobbie, who is making his seventh visit to Korea and ninth official trip to China since becoming IU president in 2007, Vice President Buxbaum and their IU colleagues will meet with leaders in education, business and culture in South Korea’s capital city of Seoul, China’s capital of Beijing and China’s coastal metropolis of Tianjin. There they will seek to expand IU’s partnerships toward the goal of generating greater opportunities for scholarly and cultural exchanges and increasing IU students’ understanding of this dynamic and strategically important part of the world.
To this end, while in Seoul, the delegation will meet with two major funding organizations, the Korea Foundation and the Academy of Korean Studies, which have helped enable a successful new Institute for Korean Studies, launched in 2016 and housed within IU’s School of Global and International Studies. The institute, one of the only such academic institutes of its kind in the U.S., is rapidly positioning IU as the Midwestern hub for Korean studies and at the forefront of preparing students to meet global challenges, interpret major international events and examine crucial contemporary issues.
In Beijing, the delegation will join other university leaders in attending the opening of a major new exhibition at the Tsinghua University Art Museum, which is the result of a new multiyear partnership between Tsinghua University and the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at IU. The exhibition, “Americans Abroad: Landscape and Artistic Exchange, 1800-1920,” is curated by Jennifer McComas, curator of European and American Art at the Eskenazi Museum at IU, and features 50 European and American paintings drawn primarily from the IU museum’s permanent collection.
Although other U.S. museums have sent exhibitions to China in recent years, this partnership is likely the first between university art museums in the U.S. and China. And it reflects IU’s increasing stature as a worldwide leader in major international art collaborations, which include, most notably, the university’s partnership with the renowned Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, which is enabling students, scholars, museum professionals and members of the general public around the world to view the museum’s irreplaceable classical antiquities in 3D online, from anywhere in the world.
Finally, at the end of the week (Sept. 21-22), hundreds of IU alumni and friends from China and across the globe will gather at the “IU Is Global 2018” conference and reunion in Beijing. Co-hosted by IU and the Beijing Chapter of the IU Alumni Association, and sponsored by the IU Office of the Bicentennial, the event will feature multidisciplinary panels from distinguished IU faculty, alumni and leaders on global topics including innovation, public health, the environment and the legal profession in a global context. Attendees will also hear a Bicentennial update from President McRobbie and a keynote address from Michael Uslan, IU alumnus and executive producer of 1989’s “Batman” and 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”
And I’ll be there as well, delivering real-time reports on the IU delegation’s daily activities and providing news, background information, images and insights into IU’s continued engagement in this important part of the world.
I hope you will follow along with me, and please feel free to contact me directly with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you soon in Seoul!