Surveying the stunningly massive skyline of Hong Kong – the world’s most vertical city and the IU delegation’s final stop on this historic two-week presidential trip to Asia – it was difficult not to reflect on all of the amazing people we met while in Asia, places we visited and the many new international partnerships that we managed to establish.
I’ve written thousands of words in this blog space over these last 13 days, but it’s difficult to put into words the overall impact of a historic and whirlwind trip that took IU President Michael McRobbie and his colleagues halfway across the world and to several of Asia’s most dynamic and diverse economies.
I could go on and on about the cultural, economic, geographic, historical and political contrasts among Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong, differences that have been woven into the fabric of Asia over thousands of years. But perhaps it’s best to focus on a common thread tied the orderly traffic intersections of Tokyo to the hurried motorbike-lined streets Hanoi, and the bustling beltways of Beijing to the serenity of the Singapore harbor. That connection was education and, more specifically, its considerable power to bring people of vastly different cultures, backgrounds and experiences together in pursuit of a common cause: To make the world a better place for all of its citizens.
This power was reflected in the very first series of meetings the IU delegation had in Tokyo – at Japan’s most prestigious private university, Waseda University, which shares IU’s goal of being one of the world’s most global universities. While at Waseda, we met with senior leaders who are looking to double (to 8,000) the university’s record number of international students, welcome more foreign students to their campus, which was founded in 1882, and expand its academic offerings into areas in which IU has major expertise, including the study of languages, culture and philanthropy.
We also learned that IU and Waseda share the same number of living alumni worldwide (a remarkable 580,000), and we met with Waseda graduate Yasuyuki Ohara, who is a living example of how education can bridge both oceans and cultures. As chairman and CEO of the Tsuchiya Group, a billion dollar manufacturing industry, he has contributed to the economic well-being of Bloomington, even if many Hoosiers might not recognize his name. Tsuchiya’s roster of manufacturing and sales companies includes Tasus Corp., headquartered in Bloomington since 1986 and home to 180 employees.
That power was also reflected in our last series of meetings in Vietnam, where the future economic success of this complex and challenging country will depend greatly on whether it can strengthen the leadership capacities of its top public officials. To this end, IU, with its half-century-long history of institution-building in Asia and elsewhere around the world, and its top-ranked School of Public and Environmental Affairs, which offers some of the world’s foremost expertise in public policy and financial management, has a exceptional opportunity to have a profound and lasting impact in Vietnam. Indeed, IU and SPEA are already making a major difference through strong partnerships with Vietnam’s leading academic and government institutions and innovative initiatives such as the Vietnam Young Leader Awards program, spearheaded by IU professor, Vietnamese native and, I might add, magnificent tour guide Anh Tran.
And, not to be forgotten, that power permeated the grand opening of the new IU China Office in Beijing, the university’s second global gateway office, which will serve as IU’s new home base for activities in China. The office will accelerate IU’s academic initiatives and partnerships, which encompass almost all of China’s leading universities, including those with which IU signed new agreements during this trip: Tsinghua University, the China University of Political Science and Law and Beijing Sport University.
The historic opening of its Beijing office served as the latest chapter in IU’s storied history of engagement with China, a country in which IU has remarkably deep ties, dating back over a century. Its longstanding institutional partnerships have resulted in a steady stream of faculty and student exchanges; last year alone, 225 IU students studied in China and, currently, over 40 percent of IU’s 8,000 international students come from that country. What’s more, there are now more than 4,000 IU alumni affiliated with China living around the world.
Fittingly, the trip concluded with IU President McRobbie meeting with several prominent IU Asian alumni here in Hong Kong. There’s simply no overstating just what IU means to our international graduates and, conversely, the impact they continue to have on the university, even if they do live thousands of miles away. As IU President Michael McRobbie said on several occasions over the last two weeks, they are truly our university’s “greatest global ambassadors.”
In the last two weeks, IU alumni contributed to:
- record-sized alumni chapter gatherings in Tokyo and Singapore;
- a successful and spirited grand opening of the IU China Office;
- a celebratory reception at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear that included nearly all of the graduates of the Vietnam Young Leader Awards program as well as other alumni, friends and senior Vietnamese officials;
- the recognition, through two of IU’s most important international awards, several of IU’s most distinguished alumni, including renowned cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi; successful entrepreneurs Vincent Mo, CEO of the largest real estate information provider in China, and Esmond Quek, founder and principal of Beijing’s leading brand consultancy firm; and former U.S. Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations David L. Carden; and
- a special alumni reception in Hong Kong, which served as a fitting cap to a trip that reflected both IU’s strong support around the world as its ever-increasing international impact.
As we prepare to depart Hong Kong and head home to Bloomington, I’m happy to report that IU spirit is alive and well in Asia and that the university’s strategic and energetic engagement here is only getting stronger.
Before I sign off, allow me to leave you with two memorable moments from this historic trip: a brief snippet of a stirring performance by Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi at a reception marking the 50th anniversary of IU’s alumni chapter in Japan and, from the opening of the IU China Office, a video of a traditional Chinese lion dance, which is often performed at celebratory occasions.
Please enjoy the videos, and thank you for reading! See you back in Bloomington soon!
Tags: Anh Tran, Beijing, China, Chinese lion dance, David Carden, David Shear, Esmond Quek, global gateway, Hanoi, Hong Kong, IU alumni, IU China Office, IU gateway, Japan, Michael A. McRobbie, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Singapore, SPEA, Tasus, Tokyo, Tsuchiya Group, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Vietnam, Vietnam Young Leader Awards, Vincent Mo, Waseda University, Yasuyuki Ohara
Besides the incredible culture and history here in Hanoi, what impressed members of the IU delegation most about their time in Vietnam was the enormous enthusiasm of the institutions we visited.
Indeed, it was difficult not to be inspired by the intense interest that IU’s Vietnamese partners have in the university’s vast academic and research resources as they aim to strengthen the educational and governmental systems in a country that, in recent years, has proven to be one of Asia’s fastest-growing and most dynamic economies.
Yesterday’s meetings at Vietnam National University, the National Assembly and the National Academy of Public Administration highlighted how respected IU is for its expertise in areas in which Vietnam has real needs, such as finance and public administration. IU is also renowned for its vibrant history of institution-building in Asia, including in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and, most recently, Myanmar. Representatives from each of these organizations not only welcomed members of the IU delegation with open arms, but expressed their enthusiasm and willingness for faculty, staff and student exchanges between their organizations and IU and expanding upon existing collaborative efforts that, in recent years, have made a major impact on Vietnamese society.
One such program is the Vietnam Young Leader Awards program, a prestigious scholarship program that brings outstanding government officials from Vietnam to the U.S. to work toward earning master’s and Ph.D. degrees. The goal of the program, which is co-sponsored by IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, is to address a shortage of properly trained public officials in Vietnamese government, while also strengthening ties between the U.S. and Vietnam. When the program was inaugurated in 2010, it marked the first time that Vietnam had taken part in a specific program to send young people to the U.S. for training in public policy. Today, IU works closely with the Vietnam International Education Development (VIED) office to select and send 15 to 20 government employees to SPEA for coursework geared toward both enhancing their policy management skills and expanding their worldview.
At a meeting today at VIED, the office’s director general, Nguyen Xuan Vang, expressed to IU President Michael McRobbie, the first standing IU president to visit Vietnam, his office’s gratitude and appreciation for IU’s continued collaboration on the Vietnam Young Leaders Awards program. “Thank you for bringing so many first-rate students to IU for the Young Leaders program,” Vang said, adding that he looked forward to working with SPEA Executive Associate Dean David Reingold and Anh Tran, a Vietnamese native and SPEA faculty member who was instrumental in establishing the program, in continuing to build upon an initiative that has “contributed to the vibrancy of Vietnamese society and its economy.”
When it was his turn to speak, IU President McRobbie pledged IU’s continued participation in the Young Leaders program and in helping VIED, which is responsible for administering all scholarships to Vietnamese students, achieve its lofty ambitions. VIED aims to send 10,000 students overseas, including 1,000 to U.S. institutions, for Ph.D. programs by the year 2020.
From the meeting at VIED, it was a short drive to the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and longtime foreign serviceman David Shear for a lengthy discussion about IU’s educational efforts in Vietnam, including the Vietnam Young Leaders Awards program, and its plans to expand its overall involvement with Southeast Asia, particularly through the establishment of a new center for Southeast Asian studies that will be part of the new School of Global and International Studies. It is no exaggeration to say that Ambassador Shear was extremely pleased to hear about IU’s high level of engagement in Vietnam, and he enthusiastically encouraged members of the IU delegation to continue to push forward new initiatives that contribute to the betterment of Vietnamese government and society.
To further demonstrate his excitement and support for IU’s engagement here in Hanoi, the ambassador opened the doors to his residence to IU alums and friends of the university. The guests included 2012 graduate Tarlie Townsend, who, last year, was named a Luce Scholar, one of 18 recipients of a nationally competitive award designed to enhance understanding of Asia for future leaders. Townsend, who earned a dual degree from IU in neuroscience and Germanic studies, is wrapping up a year in Hanoi working within Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology. The guests also included nearly all of the more than 25 alumni of the Vietnam Young Leaders Program, who had a chance to meet members of the delegation and share stories of how much the program had meant to them and their country.
The event was a wonderful wrap-up to an energizing and eventful two days in Hanoi, in which new bridges were built between IU and Vietnam that will almost certainly result in even greater engagement here in the years to come.
Tags: Anh Tran, David Reingold, David Shear, Hanoi, Indiana University, IU, Michael A. McRobbie, Nguyen Xuan Vang, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Tarlie Townsend, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, VIED, Vietnam, Vietnam International Education Development, Vietnam Young Leader Awards
Here in Hanoi, about the first thing you notice is the honking. Incessant honking from the mass of motorbikes that swerve around cars, buses, bicycles and pedestrians like in some kind of video game. Not angry downtown Manhattan-style honking, mind you. The Vietnamese don’t drive as much by sight as they do by sound, we were told upon our arrival, which you have to hear to believe. (Apparently, one of the biggest sources of work in Hanoi is, not surprisingly, horn replacement.)
Then there’s the humidity. It’s already summer here, and the driving rain that greeted members of the IU delegation upon their arrival Monday evening did little to cool off the hot and sticky temperatures.
But as members of the IU delegation quickly found out, it’s best not to let yourself be distracted by the noise and the heat. Otherwise you’d miss the beauty of a 1,000-year-old capital city that boasts an impressive and eclectic cityscape, one dotted by skyscrapers and scenic lakes, temples, towers and tree-lined boulevards, closet-sized markets and massive monuments, modern-looking hotels and colonial structures that are a mixture of French and traditional Vietnamese architectural styles.
All of these aesthetic features (Hanoi hosts more cultural sites than any other city in Vietnam), along with an impressive infrastructure, reflect a dynamic city that has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years. They also demonstrate the enormous tension that exists in Vietnam, a single-party state that is ruled by the Communist Party, is seeking to overcome its centuries-old challenges and more modern-day events, such as the Vietnam War, and is continuing to move toward a more market-based, entrepreneurial economy.
It is here in this complicated and changing city that Indiana University hopes to expand on its longstanding tradition, dating back more than a half-century, of international outreach and institution-building in nations that have successfully tapped the university’s vast educational and research capabilities. In Asia alone, IU’s efforts have contributed to the strengthening of educational and governmental institutions in, among other nations, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and, most recently, Myanmar.
IU has a similarly vibrant institution-building effort well underway in Vietnam. Faculty experts from the university’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the No. 2-ranked school of its kind in the United States, are engaged in building relationships in Vietnam, specifically in the areas of finance and public administration, where Vietnam has substantial shortcomings.
Leading the overall effort by SPEA in Vietnam to expand IU’s presence and, in particular, its contributions to the betterment of the Vietnamese national government are David Reingold and Anh Tran. Reingold, executive associate dean of SPEA, has helped forge partnerships between IU and Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training and with Vietnam National University. Tran is a native of Vietnam, a professor at SPEA and founder of the Vietnam Young Leader Awards, a prestigious scholarship program that brings outstanding government officials from Vietnam to the U.S. for master’s and Ph.D. degrees. (As an aside, Tran also doubled as the IU delegation’s tour guide and translator today in Hanoi, where he grew up.)
Reingold and Tran joined the rest of IU’s Asia delegation — including IU President Michael A. McRobbie, the first standing IU president to visit Vietnam and one of few major U.S. university presidents to visit this country — at back-to-back-to-back meetings today that were, by everyone’s account, enlightening, productive and extremely promising. The first of those meetings took place at Vietnam National University, the first modern university ever established in the country and one of the two national universities in Vietnam. IU established a university-wide partnership agreement with VNU in 2009, and the two schools are seeking to ramp up collaborations among their faculty and staff in environmental studies and other areas of mutual interest.
Additionally, IU will be looking to soon establish a center for Southeast Asian studies in its new School of Global and International Studies. The university also hopes to add several dialects of this region, including Vietnamese, to its already record number of languages taught (70 to 80 in any given year). As IU Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret indicated, VNU seems “well-positioned” to help IU grow its programs and expertise in this area of the world.
From VNU, it was on to the National Assembly, the impressive structure that houses Vietnam’s 498-member legislative body. There, members of the delegation met with members of the Vietnamese parliament’s Committee for Financial and Budgetary Affairs, including its chairman, Dr. Phung Quoc Hien. Dr. Hien was candid about the challenges facing his committee and his country. He expressed a strong interest in IU experts providing specialized teaching and consultancy in several law and policy areas in which he said many high-ranking Vietnamese government officials have limited knowledge and expertise, including excise tax, expenditure, housing, real-estate and revenue.
When it was his turn to speak, IU President McRobbie talked about IU’s considerable and internationally recognized expertise in public policy and financial management, which he and Dr. Hien agreed could serve as the basis of strong collaborative activities between their respective institutions.
The National Academy of Public Administration served as the delegation’s last stop in a busy day in Hanoi. “I feel like I’m home here,” Anh Tran commented, offering a slight hint at how closely Tran and his colleagues at SPEA, including David Reingold, have worked to solidify a strong relationship over the past several years with the National Academy of Public Administration, which provides undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education in law, administration and government management for students and public servants in Vietnam.
Since the signing of an official partnership agreement in 2012, SPEA and the National Academy of Public Administration have initiated a number of faculty and student scholarly exchanges as well as research projects, and today’s visit set the stage for even greater collaboration as NAPA, led by President Nguyen Dang Thanh, seeks to develop a successful system of “basic training” on law and public policy matters for high-ranking government officials.
On Wednesday morning, members of the IU delegation hope to see a little more of Hanoi, experience this unique city more fully and reflect on a historic and productive day that served to suggest that the pieces are in place for IU to continue its longstanding tradition of successful institution-building here in Asia.
Tags: Anh Tran, David Reingold, Hanoi, Indiana University, IU, Michael A. McRobbie, NAPA, National Academy of Public Administration, Phung Quoc Hien, School of Global and International Studies, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, SPEA, Vietnam, Vietnam National Assembly, Vietnam National University, Vietnam parliament, Vietnam Young Leader Awards, Vietnamese, VNU
It’s about 9,500 miles from Bloomington to Singapore – the IU delegation’s third stop on its two-week presidential trip to Asia – but as last night’s record-setting alumni gathering here indicated, the connections between IU and Singapore are especially strong.
Last night was a chance for around 100 of IU’s Singaporean alumni to reconnect with their alma mater, meet new and old friends, and hear about the recent happenings across IU as well as in the schools from which they earned their degrees.
Because so many alums in attendance studied and now work in in the fields of finance and business (Singapore boasts one of Asia’s most dynamic and diversified economies), the impressive growth and reputation of the nationally ranked IU Kelley School of Business was a natural topic of conversation. I myself had the pleasure of chatting with several other alums who shared my background in journalism about the establishment of IU’s new Media School, set to officially launch this summer.
IU’s efforts at greater internationalization and the specific activities of our time spent last week in China and Japan also were of great interest to a group that aims to send more Singaporean students to Indiana. And, of course, many more wanted to talk that common unifier of all alums, foreign or domestic: IU basketball. (I threw in our newly crowned Big Ten Champion baseball team, just for good measure.)
Amidst all of these different subjects, it was another subject, that of the arts, that wound up on center stage last night. This was in large part because of Ambassador David Carden’s eloquent and inspiring speech upon receiving the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion, named after the great Midwestern painter, from IU President Michael McRobbie. A Hoosier who went on to become the first ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Carden spoke about what Benton and his renowned mural paintings meant to him, the continued relevance of a liberal arts education and how the characteristics that have come to define great artists like Benton, including passion, creativity and reflection, also drive the best business innovations.
Following Carden’s remarks, it seemed fitting that the IU delegation make a final, early-morning stop before leaving Singapore to the School of the Arts-Singapore, the country’s first and only pre-tertiary specialized arts institution, founded a decade ago. The school seeks to nurture youths who exhibit special talent in the arts, and it currently offers a 6-year integrated academic and arts curriculum for those between the ages of 13-18.
Members of the IU delegation were treated to a tour of SOTA’s impressive nine-floor facility, which features a concert hall, drama theater, exhibition gallery, studio/black box theater. Several members of the delegation commented that the vast structure, which also includes a rooftop athletic field, felt more like a university complex or urban performing arts venue, not a high school. They also heard about the many successes of SOTA students, faculty and alumni, as well as the school’s holistic educational philosophy (H.I.P.P. – Humility, Integrity, People-centeredness and Passion) and innovative curriculum, which includes a newly established international baccalaureate degree for students who engage in career-related learning.
As current SOTA music faculty member Isaiah Koh told members of the delegation, the school has big plans to build upon its recent successes. It hopes to do so by sending more of its graduates to the best schools around the world, like IU’s world-renowned Jacobs School of Music. To this end, next month the school will send two students to participate in IU’s acclaimed Summer String Academy, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. SOTA also is opening its doors to the best art educators and international artists from around the world, in hopes they’ll come to Singapore to spearhead auditions, lessons, master classes and special workshops.
As has been the case during many of the meetings on this presidential trip to Asia, the get-together at SOTA offered a welcome opportunity for members of the IU delegation to experience, first-hand, a successful and innovative program and explore the idea of possible collaborative activities in the future. Regarding the latter, IU’s longstanding artistic traditions – as well as more recent developments such as the establishment of the IU Cinema in support of IU’s already strong film studies program; the joining of theater, drama and contemporary dance; and the growth of IU’s arts administration program – seemed particularly well matched with SOTA’s mission of celebrating experimentation, expression and discovery in the arts. Both sides agreed to continue talking about ways they might work together, and Koh, himself, told the group that he plans to be in Bloomington soon to get a glimpse of the Jacobs School of Music and other arts organizations on the IU campus.
From SOTA, it was on to the airport for the final leg of the trip, which will take members of the IU delegation to Vietnam and, finally, Hong Kong. Though the delegation’s time in Singapore was relatively short, the connections they made, both today at SOTA and yesterday evening at the alumni chapter gathering, artistic and otherwise, promise to last for a very long time.
There are times when you can’t help but feel anything but overwhelmingly proud to be part of a great international institution like IU. Today in Singapore was such a day.
It was special, to say the least, to see so many IU Singaporean alumni (around 100) come together in their home country to celebrate and reconnect with their alma mater. The sheer size of the record gathering, which also included several future IU students from Singapore and their families – plus the pride and passion for IU exuded by all in attendance – was much more than members of the IU delegation could’ve expected. What’s more, the event highlighted IU’s ever-expanding impact here in one of Southeast Asia’s most diversified and dynamic economies.
Currently, IU has nearly 740 alumni affiliated with Singapore, nearly half of whom who live here in this small city-state (5.3 million people living across 276 square miles). And those numbers continue to grow steadily: IU has welcomed an average of 36 students from Singapore to its campuses over the last five years, as well as many other scholars and dignitaries. IU has also established a university-wide partnership agreement (and sub-agreements specific to its Kelley School of Business and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI) with the National University of Singapore to foster student and faculty exchanges and other collaborative activities. NUS is the oldest and largest university in Singapore, and it is consistently ranked as one of Asia’s and the world’s top universities.
As IU President Michael McRobbie indicated in his remarks at the alumni gathering, many other ties exist between the state of Indiana and Singapore, such as a number of Indiana-based companies, including pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and diesel engine maker Cummins, that have subsidiaries in Singapore.
Of course, any business connection, alumni group or university partnership is only as good as the people behind it, and here, I’m happy to say, the IU-Singapore relationship is in good hands with alumni chapter leader Phillip Chua (MBA ’88), retired chief executive of the American Express Bank of Singapore. That nearly a third of all of the IU alumni and friends currently living in Singapore came out to tonight’s gathering was testament to the energy, drive and dedication of Chua, who stepped forward about 15 months ago to lead the Singapore chapter, and his staff, who are working diligently to recruit more students from Singapore to study at IU and enlist more alumni to participate in this effort.
Tonight, however, Chua had a little help, courtesy of IU President McRobbie, who shared with members of the audience IU’s many recent achievements and new academic developments, including its six new schools established in the last three years alone. McRobbie also commented on IU’s increasing international diversity (IU is 10th in the number of international students and fifth in the number of students who study abroad), which, he said, “helps prepare our students for careers in the global workforce.”
McRobbie then welcomed to the podium IU Maurer School of Law alumnus David L. Carden, who recently served as the first resident ambassador of the United States to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. As ambassador to ASEAN, Carden, a native Hoosier, oversaw the expansion of engagement between the U.S. and the nations of Southeast Asia, including Singapore. Recognizing his many accomplishments, notably his efforts to assist ASEAN’s member states in protecting and developing their natural and human systems, McRobbie presented Carden with the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion, given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified the values of IU.
Carden gave an impassioned speech, reflecting on the critical importance of a liberal arts education at a time when some would question its relevance, IU’s longstanding focus on global engagement, initiated by its legendary 11th president Herman B Wells, and, lastly, the man behind the medallion, Thomas Hart Benton.
Benton, Carden explained, is an inspiration, much like the late co-founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, who studied calligraphy in college. Benton ignored his father’s advice to follow in his footsteps and go into government and, instead, pursued his true passion, painting. Today, his legendary mural paintings of Indiana life, which grace several IU Bloomington locations, showcase the timeless value of beauty, reflection and stimulating the senses, which, Carden said, drives not only great art, but also successful products and businesses.
That Thomas Hart Benton, so strongly associated with the culture of Midwestern U.S.A., didn’t seem out of place thousands of miles away here in Singapore spoke volumes about the incredibly strong connections between IU and its Singaporean alumni, whose spirited embrace of and enthusiasm for their alma mater this evening won’t soon be forgotten.
Tags: David Carden, Indiana University, IU, IU Alumni Association, Kelley School of Business, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Michael A. McRobbie, National University of Singapore, Phillip Chua, Singapore, Singaporean, Thomas Hart Benton
As IU President Michael A. McRobbie managed to point out on several occasions during this whirlwind, two-day trip to Beijing, the university has deep ties with China, dating as far back as the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) when an IU graduate, William Alexander Parsons Martin, worked in Beijing as an interpreter for the American Minister to China. IU’s first Chinese alumnus, Showin Wetzen Hsu, graduated in 1909 and went on to serve in a number of high-level governmental and judicial positions.
In more recent years, IU has developed relationships with China’s leading universities, including Peking University, Sun Yat-Sen University, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, the China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing University for Business Economics, and Beijing Sport University. These relationships have led to substantial faculty teaching and research collaborations and student exchanges.
Sure enough, China continues to be both a popular spot for IU students to study abroad and a steady supplier of bright international students to IU’s campuses. Last year alone, 225 IU students elected to study in China, and today, over 40 percent of IU’s 8,000 international students come to the university from that country.
What’s more, IU now boasts more than 4,000 alumni affiliated with China, and the university continues to welcome numerous Chinese scholars, students and dignitaries to its campuses.
All of these people and partnerships were on the minds of members of the IU delegation early this morning as they set out to begin what would ultimately be a historic day in the annals of IU’s longstanding engagement with China.
The day began with a trip to renew IU’s partnership agreement with Beijing Sport University, one of the world’s elite sports universities. Beijing Sport University, which just celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, has an amazing athletic tradition: In the past four Olympic Games alone, students and faculty from the university have won a whopping 30 gold medals, 16 silver medals and nine bronze medals.
After walking through the gates of this picturesque campus (some of us wondering how anyone could possibly muster up the desire to work out and sweat surrounded by so much serenity and natural beauty), members of the IU delegation were ushered into a large meeting room, where Beijing Sport University President Yang Hua spoke glowingly about his university’s longstanding relationship, now over 25 years old, with IU and its acclaimed School of Public Health, formerly the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Remarkably, the relationship between IU and Beijing Sport University spans four IU presidents and four School of Public Health deans; numerous faculty and student exchanges; and major joint initiatives, including several that helped support Beijing’s successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.
For his part, McRobbie talked about how honored he and his colleagues were to be visiting Beijing Sport University on such an auspicious occasion: the celebration of a quarter-century relationship between two universities committed, through the new agreement, to continuing faculty, student and staff exchanges and working together to advance their mutual interest in the important role that sports and physical education can play in public health.
As much as members of the IU delegation would’ve liked to have taken a few more laps around the beautiful Beijing Sport University campus, there was much more work to be done on this busy day, including meeting with U.S. Ambassador to China and former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and members of his staff; then joining leaders from Tsinghua University to both renew IU’s partnership agreement with China’s top-ranked university and ink a new agreement with Tsinghua on behalf of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. As a result of the agreement signed today, the Lilly Family School and Tsinghua University will create a research institute to further study the role of philanthropy and non-governmental organizations in China.
Finally, it was time for the big event of the day: the grand opening ceremony of the IU China Office , the university’s second global gateway facility (the first was opened in New Delhi, India) and a new home base for activities here in China. The office is in the China Education and Research Network building, known as CERNET, in the Tsinghua Science Park, the science park of Tsinghua University.
More than 70 excited guests – including prominent IU Chinese alumni, business and government officials, administrators, faculty, students and staff – were in attendance to help formally inaugurate the new office, which will accelerate IU’s academic initiatives and partnerships, like the ones signed today, throughout China. The office will also accommodate a wide range of activities, including scholarly research and teaching, conferences and workshops, study abroad programs, distance learning initiatives, executive and corporate programs, and alumni events.
In true IU fashion, those activities have already begun. On Monday, the office will host a workshop, organized by the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, featuring updates on research projects about philanthropy in China.
During the dedication ceremony, McRobbie presented the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to IU alumnus Vincent Mo, chairman of the board and CEO of SouFun Holdings Ltd., the largest real estate information provider in China. The Benton Medallion is given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified the values of IU.
He also presented the Distinguished International Service Award to IU Kelley School of Business alumnus Esmond Quek, founder and principal of Ed Bernays, a leading brand consultancy firm in Beijing. The award recognizes extraordinary contributions by individuals, groups and public or private organizations associated with IU whose actions have had a substantial impact on promoting international understanding and service.
Both honorees talked pointedly and passionately about the potential impact the IU China Office might have on their home country; how they hoped the new global gateway facility would be a much-traveled hub of activity; and how proud they were to be part of such an internationally focused institution as IU.
Indeed, it was pride we all felt on this big day for IU in Beijing.
Tags: Beijing, Beijing Sport University, China, Esmond Quek, gateway, Indiana University, IU, IU China Office, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Michael A. McRobbie, Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business, School of Public Health, Tsinghua University, Vincent Mo
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
The steady morning drizzle that fell on members of the IU delegation during the last day of this four-day trip to Japan seemed especially fitting, considering how the themes of growth and rejuvenation were reflected in nearly all of the discussions and activities that took place here.
Indeed, as the delegation prepares to embark on the next leg (Beijing) of this two-week presidential trip, there’s a strong sense that the seeds planted Monday and Wednesday in Tokyo and Tuesday in Osaka will generate a renewed rise in the number of IU students studying abroad here in Japan and, likewise, more Japanese students coming to IU for their own international experience.
Despite the current trend of declining student exchanges between the U.S. and Japan, it’s clear that the ground here in Japan is fertile for future ideas, innovation and collaboration. And though universities like IU, Waseda University and Osaka University will be looked upon to reverse recent years’ developments and drive greater globalization of students, they won’t be without able and willing help.
The lush, floral garden outside Tokyo’s International House of Japan, which IU delegation members visited Wednesday morning, served to symbolize the supportive environment that exists in Japan for future growth. An independent, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization, the International House has, for more than a half century, promoted a broader international outlook in Japan through an emphasis on cultural exchange and global education. Though not a college or university, it operates, according to chairman Akashi Yasushi, almost like an international academy, serving as an inspiring meeting place for intellectuals from around the world, including those who toil in academia, the arts, international relations and business, among other fields.
Upon leaving the International House, members of the IU delegation then met with Masahide Shibusawa, president and CEO of the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation, a private foundation started by protégés of his great-grandfather, Shibusawa Eiichi, more than 120 years ago. If anyone symbolized the possibilities of greater internationalization through education and cultural exchange, it was Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931), a leading figure in the development of modern Japanese society.
Out of small, rural farming roots, Shibusawa grew to become a dynamic force in the industrial world, brashly rubbing elbows with the Rockefellers and Edisons, according to Masahide, and helping to establish a whopping 500 enterprises and economic organizations in Japan, such as the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce. He also founded another 600 organizations dedicated to social welfare, education and international exchange, made possible by way of his private-sector diplomacy and broad circle of acquaintances across Asia and America, to whom he reached out regularly.
If Shibusawa Eiichi were alive today, you can bet he’d plant himself as often as he could at the U.S. embassy in Japan, which was where members of the IU delegation found themselves Wednesday afternoon. There, IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Caroline Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to Japan, engaged in a lively discussion about strategies and programs being developed to increase the number of Japanese and American students studying abroad in each other’s countries to reverse the declines in recent years.
“Japan can come back,” Kennedy said, “but it’s up to all of us to do more to get the fuller story out there.”
Of course, IU already has a strong story to tell with regard to its history of engagement in Japan, the number of Japanese scholars and visitors the university has welcomed to Indiana over the years and the number of Hoosier students, faculty and staff who have grown close ties here. More than 100 Japanese students studied at IU last year, and Japan today has more than 1,500 living IU alumni.
About 100 of those alumni, including several who studied at IU as long ago as the 1950s, came to Tokyo on Wednesday night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of IU’s alumni chapter in Japan, which was created by Fujitsu co-founder Kaoru Ando. The gathering – the largest ever held in the chapter’s history – was a festive affair, full of many fond memories of time spent at IU and eager interest in the future of the university. It also featured a special presentation, as McRobbie presented one of Japan’s musical treasures, renowned cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, with IU’s Thomas Hart Benton Medallion, one of the university’s highest honors.
For those who don’t know, Tsutsumi arrived at IU in his late teens to study at the Jacobs School of Music with the legendary cellist Janos Starker on a Fulbright Scholarship, after studying at the Tokyo Conservatory under Hideo Saito and after a concert tour of India and Europe. Within a couple of years, he became Starker’s assistant and earned an artist’s diploma from the Jacobs School in 1965.
After a successful concert career with many of the world’s leading orchestras, he returned to IU Bloomington and the Jacobs School, where he taught from 1988 to 2006.
He received the National Academy of Arts Prize in music from the Emperor of Japan and, in 2009, the government of Japan awarded him a Medal of Honor with purple ribbon for his contributions to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments.
Tsutsumi’s receipt from McRobbie of the Hart Benton Medallion, and the riveting cello concert he gave immediately afterward, proved to be a fitting coda to the IU delegation’s visit to Japan and further inspiration for great collaboration and growth here in the months and years ahead.
Tags: Akashi Yasushi, Caroline Kennedy, Indiana University, International House of Japan, IU, IU Japan Alumni Chapter, Jacobs School of Music, Japan, Osaka, Osaka University, Shibusawa Eiichi, Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation, Thomas Hart Benton Medallion, Tokyo, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Waseda University
“Live locally, grow globally.”
One might expect to see that on a bumper sticker back home in Bloomington, not emblazoned across the promotional materials for one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious universities. Yet somehow seeing those words halfway across the globe actually wasn’t all that surprising, given the overall harmonious nature of the IU delegation’s visit to Osaka University Tuesday (beginning with a several-hour ride on Japan’s impressive, high-speed “bullet train”) and the strong similarities that exist between two partner institutions each striving to be among the world’s top research universities.
“I believe that a 21st century university must seek to continue to evolve by pursuing truth and creating harmonious diversity,” Osaka President Toshio Hirano told IU President Michael A. McRobbie during an afternoon meeting, in which the leaders of both institutions discussed their respective bold visions for greater global engagement — which they hope to achieve, in large part, by increasing study abroad opportunities for students, encouraging collaborative teaching and research efforts among faculty and nurturing internationally minded graduates.
Indeed, as IU and Osaka look to build upon an institution-wide agreement inked in 2012, there is much common ground between the two universities, beginning with a mutual interest in rejuvenating student exchanges between the U.S. and Japan and, more specifically, a shared emphasis on foreign language instruction at a time when many universities, especially those in the U.S., are scaling back resources in this area.
IU and Osaka University, which is located in the world’s seventh largest city in terms of economic scale and second largest urban area in Japan after Tokyo, share the mutual distinction of teaching the most foreign languages of any universities in their respective countries. IU provides instruction in 70 to 80 different languages per year, all housed within the university’s new School of Global and International Studies, while Osaka offers 25 modern languages as majors and many other ancient and modern languages as minors through the 90-year-old School of Foreign Studies.
The School of Foreign Studies officially became part of the university in 2007 and is the only such school among all of Japan’s comprehensive national universities. Among the languages offered at Osaka is Swahili, which is also taught at IU. Not only does IU teach Swahili, the university operates the Swahili Flagship Center, the only such program in the U.S.
“IU is renowned among linguists in Japan. You are, in fact, one the meccas of linguistics,” said Akihiko Azuma, dean of Osaka’s School of Foreign Studies, who shared with members of the IU delegation his memories of time spent studying Bloomington. Azuma came to IU at the urging of one of his undergraduate mentors. “My undergraduate supervisor … he said that every linguist should go to Bloomington to study and read books, many of which were only available in Indiana,” Azuma said.
As IU and Osaka aim to capitalize on their shared expertise and interest in language instruction and area and cultural studies, they can look to a much different academic area for inspiration. Over the last several years, the two universities have developed a substantial relationship in medical physics. Since 2011, 14 Osaka faculty members and students have studied at IU, while five IU radiation oncology faculty have visited Osaka in consulting and teaching roles and to attend conferences on radiation oncology.
Still, even in this area, there is room for growing the partnership. One of the Osaka faculty members who spent time at IU, Masahiko Koizumi, a professor of radiation oncology, told members of the delegation that Osaka has excellent and increasingly sophisticated equipment for radiation therapy, housed in its School of Medicine, yet is in major need of more trained personnel, including medical physicists, to work alongside Osaka physicians and technologists. Koizumi said he hopes IU faculty members will visit Osaka in the future to share their ideas, continue their education and collaborate on research initiatives.
At the final meeting of the day, with Dean Azuma and representatives from Osaka’s School of Foreign Studies and its Graduate School of Language and Culture (the first graduate school in Japan that specializes in this field), both sides agreed to discuss a potential student exchange program focused on IU’s and Osaka’s rich resources in world languages including Japanese and African languages. They also will continue to explore faculty exchange and collaborative research in linguistics and language studies, as well as possibilities for a broader partnership between Osaka’s School of Foreign Studies and IU’s new School of Global and International Studies.
From Osaka, it was back on the bullet train, which runs at speeds of up to 350 km/hour and is renowned for its comfort, cleanliness and, most of all, efficiency. (A personal aside: For this longtime rider of the New Haven-to-New York City Metro North line, the bullet train was, quite simply, surreal in its serenity and smoothness.) The train, which runs alongside Japan’s beautiful Mt. Fuji, was an easy, peaceful and fitting mode of transportation on a day filled with harmonious discussion and harbingers of future IU connections with Japan’s top universities.
Tags: Akihiko Azuma, bullet train, Indiana University, IU, Japan, Michael A. McRobbie, Osaka University, School of Foreign Studies, School of Global and International Studies, School of Medicine, Swahili Flagship Center, Toshio Hirano
Little would be lost in translation during the IU delegation’s first official order of business on this two-week presidential trip to Asia – a meeting with senior administrators at Waseda University in Tokyo.
Indeed, a Monday morning conversation, led by IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Waseda President Kaoru Kamata, confirmed what both parties knew well when they inked a university-wide partnership agreement in 2012: There are strong and potentially rewarding connections between Japan’s most prestigious private university and one of America’s most internationally focused institutions of higher learning. What’s more, these connections could serve to stem a decade-long, nationwide trend of fewer U.S. students studying abroad in Japan and rejuvenate IU’s relationships with the country’s premier teaching and research universities.
“We are always looking for prominent universities abroad where we can send our students,” Kamata told McRobbie. “I hope this day becomes a trigger … not only for our university, but for the future of Japan.”
The conversations that continued through lunch and into the early afternoon in Tokyo set the stage for enhanced collaboration between IU and Waseda, which, conveniently, share a mutual mission to expand study abroad opportunities for students and attract increasing numbers of international students. Already, IU ranks among the U.S. leaders in terms of students who study abroad (more than 3,000) and international students (nearly 8,000), but the university is seeking to both expand overseas study opportunities in Japan and attract more Japanese students to IU Bloomington and its other campuses.
Much like IU, Waseda, founded in 1882 by scholar and government leader Shigenobu Okuma, has made exceptional recent progress toward its goal of becoming a truly global university. To this end, Waseda is looking to double its record number of international students (to 8,000) and send more students overseas to schools like IU. (Currently, around 2,000 Waseda students study abroad.)
Additionally, both universities have expressed a keen interest in exploring opportunities for scholarly and research collaboration among faculty. Faculty exchanges between IU and Waseda began last year, and two IU professors, Michiko Suzuki and Michael Foster, who are both members of IU’s departments of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Anthropology, will be in Tokyo later this month. Furthermore, the potential exists for substantive partnerships between IU’s new School of Global and International Studies, which houses IU’s record number (between 70 and 80) of foreign language instruction programs, and several of Waseda’s top schools, including, among others, its now 10-year-old School of International Liberal Studies, Graduate School of International Culture and Communications Studies, and Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies.
IU and Waseda share another common mission, one relating to philanthropy and volunteerism, which represented the main themes of a roundtable discussion with the Waseda International Volunteer Center (WAVOC) led by IU First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie. Founded in 2002, the center works to support educational research and volunteer activities both inside and outside of Japan and make philanthropic contributions through those activities.
Before an audience that included a number of female Waseda graduate students and the university’s lone female trustee, First Lady McRobbie discussed the history of women’s leadership and philanthropy at IU, her active campus and community involvement as current IU first lady, the emergence of women’s giving at IU and the establishment of two firsts: the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the nation’s first school dedicated to the study of philanthropy, and IU’s first Women’s Philanthropy Council, a national model for engaging women in philanthropy and volunteerism in higher education. She also entertained questions on a wide range of topics, including the percentage of female students at IU, the structure of the Women’s Philanthropy Council and other university units, and processes for thanking donors and informing them of the impact of their contributions.
Finally, IU and Waseda have one other interesting fact in common: Both share the exact same number (an amazing 580,000) of living alumni worldwide. Among those Waseda alums is Yasuyuki Ohara, whose name many Hoosiers back home in Indiana may not recognize, but who has had a major impact on the Bloomington community. As chairman and CEO of the Tsuchiya Group, he runs a $1 billion corporation that manufactures, among other products, adhesives, automotive graphics, ceramics, electronics, industrial tapes, plastics and resins. One of the group’s manufacturing and sales companies is Tasus Corp., headquartered in Bloomington since 1986 and home to 180 employees.
During an hour-long meeting with the IU delegation, Ohara, 70, shared some of his personal background and experiences, including his time spent at Waseda, as well as insights into Tsuchiya’s international strategy and successes.
Ohara had a pleasant smile and polite answer to nearly every question asked of him, including the one first and foremost on the minds of members of the IU delegation. When asked why he chose to locate one of the leading companies of his massive overseas network in Bloomington, Ohara didn’t miss a beat. “The educational and cultural opportunities. The green space and the hills. So nice to live in. We searched various places, but Bloomington was one of the best for us.”
Truer words weren’t spoken on a day when many were spoken and many new connections were made.
Tags: East Asian Languages and Cultures, Japan, Kaoru Kamata, Laurie McRobbie, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Michael Foster, Michael McRobbie, Michiko Suzuki, School of Global and International Studies, SGIS, Tasus, Tokyo, Tsuchiya Group, Waseda University, Women's Philanthropy Council, Yasuyuki Ohara