Driven by a steadfast commitment to global engagement, IU’s Global Gateways focused on uniting around shared experiences and focused on sustaining connections and partnerships amidst unprecedented uncertainties posed by the global pandemic. The gateways strategically evolved and became experts in virtual events and collaborations, forging connections across digital landscapes. With unwavering determination, the gateways demonstrated the power of resilience, sustaining their mission of global outreach and cementing their place as beacons of internationalization in a rapidly changing world.
Serving as IU’s entry point to the world, these strategically positioned hubs in Mexico, Germany, India, Thailand , and China have emerged as thriving epicenters for dynamic collaboration, groundbreaking research, and a rich tapestry of cultural exchange. By creating meaningful connections with universities, institutes, NGOs, government entities, and businesses in their respective regions, the gateways have become conduits of discovery, propelling IU’s research, fostering transformative partnerships, and opening the doors to extraordinary opportunities for collaboration across borders .
Mexico Gateway: Pioneering Virtual Outreach
At the forefront of virtual programming, connecting IU with Latin America, is the Mexico Gateway – a trailblazer for online engagement at the start of a global lockdown. Their Art in the Time of Corona webinar series – a collaboration with the Europe Gateway – provided a virtual haven for artists, researchers, and the IU community to explore the profound intersection of art and the pandemic. By breaking down geographical barriers with accessible programming, the gateway continued to serve IU’s mission when they weren’t able to welcome IU faculty in-person. As IU Mexico Gateway Director Molly Fisher put it, “Internationalization isn’t just about getting on a plane – it’s about using the resources and community you have at home to build bridges and connect with the world.”
The Mexico Gateway’s dedication to virtual programming didn’t stop there. The engagement during the most isolating period of the pandemic inspired staff to launch Explore IU, an innovative program connecting current high school students with IU professors through a series of topical workshops. By offering a first-hand taste of academic experience at IU, this program allows students to learn from expert faculty members and receive a certificate of attendance upon completion. This unique initiative aims to prepare students for their academic journey, empowering them with invaluable insights into the American college classroom experience and the academic excellence IU has to offer.
Noteworthy collaborations with prestigious institutions like Sorbonne University in Paris, France expand the gateway’s ability to establish cross-regional partnerships, breaking down boundaries and nurturing a vibrant global community. Starting in 2021, IU, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), their in-country partner, and Sorbonne, cultivated a series of virtual lectures that brought faculty from each university together to examine a variety of topics, from law to environmental justice to music. The collaboration has been so successful that it continues beyond the standard academic year: this summer over 100 musicians from Sorbonne and IU gathered on UNAM’s campus for an in-person lecture that was, of course, live-streamed for the international audience. The Mexico Gateway exemplifies the Global Gateway Network’s ability to connect IU to the world, regardless of circumstance.
Europe Gateway: Strengthening Research and Networks
The Europe Gateway serves as a vital base for IU, located in Germany and serving the broader region, emphasizing research collaboration and professional networks. In close partnership with renowned universities like Universität Hamburg, the largest institution for research and education in northern Germany, the gateway fosters a diverse range of interdisciplinary projects and exceptional research opportunities. This collaboration not only supports IU’s commitment to research excellence but also enables an extensive network of leading regional, national, and international higher education and research institutions.
Approaching programs through two strategic paths of virtual and in person events, the Europe Gateway ensures flexibility and accessibility for a wide array of participants. While in-person events have gained momentum, the gateway remains committed to virtual platforms, making its programming more inclusive and globally accessible. Programs hosted by the gateway serve not only faculty and students, but also engage alumni through dedicated programming, which has become especially significant during the pandemic, fostering a sense of community and shared learning. “Through these virtual programs,” remarks Annabell Türk, program and communications manager at the gateway, “we’ve seen so many meaningful connections grow and develop into impactful partnerships.”
The gateway’s milestone achievements include the European Encounters series – an ongoing initiative that fosters academic conversations and intellectual engagement, bringing together scholars, researchers, and students from across Europe for interdisciplinary collaboration. With each endeavor, the Europe Gateway propels IU’s academic reach to greater heights and broader collaboration.
India Gateway: Empowering Alumni
The India Gateway is dedicated to building strong partnerships across India and increasing the visibility of IU in the increasingly oversaturated higher-education landscape of the region. Leveraging its extensive alumni network, the gateway has been successful in making IU stand out by organizing alumni meetups and empowering graduates to contribute to their communities. In particular, the gateway ‘s virtual high school workshops have been immensely popular, attracting an average of 70 to 75 attendees per session . By implementing a unique registration process that involves nominations from school counselors, the gateway ensures wider participation and a more inclusive reach.
The gateway’s commitment to showcasing the achievements of IU alumni is exemplified through initiatives like IU India Diaries and IU WOW (Women of the World). These social media campaigns highlight the success stories of faculty, students, and alumni, celebrating their contributions in various fields. “When we do these stories,” says Program Coordinator Minu Thomas, “we connect with people on a broader scale, and we raise awareness about the opportunities and achievements of our community.” By sharing these remarkable journeys of perseverance and triumph, the gateway fosters a vibrant and supportive community that inspires current and future generations of IU affiliates. Not only do these campaigns expand the network and strengthen alumni bonds, but they also serve as a platform for inspiration and connection, fostering a sense of unity and pride among the IU community.
ASEAN Gateway: Expanding beyond borders
The ASEAN Gateway strives to reactivate and deepen long-standing academic connections while fostering cultural understanding in Southeast Asia. With IU’s 75-year history in the region, the gateway cultivates deep and enduring partnerships – but what truly sets them apart is the influential presence of senior alumni, holding esteemed positions in education, business, entertainment, law and beyond. Their support and dedication propelled the gateways mission, igniting a sense of pride and an unbreakable bond with IU.
Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the ASEAN Gateway embraced the virtual realm, organizing programs that foster innovation, collaboration, and learning – one such collaboration exemplified the magnitude of its efforts: it brought together the expertise of Dr. Aaron Carroll, a IU’s chief health officer , and the culinary mastery of Thai celebrity chef Thitid “Tan” Tassanakajohn, whose Michelin-starred restaurant was ranked No. 15 in the world and No. 1 in Asia according to World’s 50 Best Restaurants. This remarkable partnership showcased the rich and diverse talents within the ASEAN region, highlighting the gateway’s commitment to facilitating extraordinary collaborations that transcend borders and contribute to a stronger, more interconnected community. Looking ahead, the gateway endeavors to identify common bonds that unify the region, forging connections not only with ASEAN but across other gateways, bolstering IU’s global presence.
China Gateway: Building Connections
Amidst a thriving landscape of international students from China studying in the United States, the China Gateway emerges as a vital hub providing tailored support and targeted services to meet their specific needs. Acting as a bridge between IU and the unique social platforms and communication methods prevalent in China, the in-country gateway enables effective engagement and meaningful collaborations that virtual-only or international-only locations could not.
Despite the challenges posed by different time zones, pandemic restrictions, and the limitations of virtual interactions, the China Gateway embraced these obstacles as opportunities for growth. With knowledgeable staff and continually updated technology, the gateway ensured seamless remote collaboration and effective virtual engagements. Now able to host in-person information sessions and travel beyond their base in Beijing, the gateway staff incorporated alumni into its recent graduate and undergraduate information sessions. As China Gateway Director Steven Yin says, “We worked hard to ensure all students received a warm and personal welcome and were given accurate and comprehensive information about IU necessary to make informed decisions about studying at Indiana University.” With the work of the Gateway in China, the visibility of IU and recognition of its expertise continues to grow in the world’s second most populous country
As the world once again welcomes in-person interactions, the IU Global Gateway Network is poised to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. The long-term benefits of their initiatives extend well beyond the pandemic, shaping the future of education, research, and cultural exchange on a global scale. Embracing IU’s global presence and reaching out to the gateways is an invitation to engage in transformative experiences, expand networks, and contribute to the vibrant community of IU and its global partners.