January 2021

IU Global Gateway Newsletter

Director's Desk

Though our global gateways have sorely missed hosting the many in-person workshops, conferences, study abroad programs, and public events that were planned in 2020, the pandemic has brought new opportunities to connect our students, faculty, and alumni to international peers, scholars, and other resources. Our in-country gateway staff have played a vital role in maintaining our many in-country relationships with universities, government, NGOs, and our alumni; and providing guidance and support to IU's international students and their families. This newsletter provides some highlights from the past year across the network.

  • Ally Batten
    Director, IU Global Gateway Network
ASEAN Gateway  |  Bangkok

Taking IU Ventures virtual start-up pitch events global

This new initiative in collaboration with IU Ventures and the IU Alumni Association builds bridges and shares knowledge and connections between IU's international alumni entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

In spring 2020, the ASEAN and India Gateway offices began a webinar series connecting start-up entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to exchange their experiences and viewpoints on the industry. Panelists included IU alumni Mark Hesemann from India/Thailand, Budi Limansubroto from Indonesia, Netita Taechathanasiri from Thailand, Dibbs Ghosh from Singapore and Executive Director of IU Angel Network Jason Whitney based in Bloomington, Indiana.

"The Hoosier entrepreneurial spirit is strong globally and our team at IU Ventures was enthusiastic to help identify and support the growth of this awareness campaign.  These initial events are creating a platform for future global engagement which we hope helps everyone remain connected back to the campus where they earned their degrees regardless of their current country of residence."

During the fall semester, twelve IU alumni-founded start-ups from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singpore, Thailand joined the IU Ventures-ASEAN Gateway Start-up Pitch event to practice their pitch and connect with alumni resources around the region. The key question asked of each start-up was: "In what area of your start-up are you seeking support from the IU global alumni network?"

Vikram Ahuja and Eliot Delunas, entrepreneurs and IU alumni in Bangkok
A motorcycle from Edison Motors sits in front of their new Nitro Coffee cold brew taps

Even before the event, two of the start-ups from Thailand were connected and had a successful collaboration. Edison Motors is an innovative electric motorcycle company founded by Dr. Vikram Ahuja, PhD, an IU Kelley Business alum. The team was working day night to launch their newest innovation. "We are run by caffeine: if no coffee, then no motorcycles." says Dr. Vikram. Luckily, he met IU Chemistry alum Eliot Delunas, founder of Nitro Labs Coffee, who was able to fulfill the need by installing two taps of their cold brew coffee right in the Edison Motors Headquarters in Bangkok.

Brian Carraway, IU SPEA alumni and founder at Flying Squirrel Outfitters, also participated. He reflected on the experience, saying, "I’ve been in Asia now for about 6 years and I have never felt more connected to IU than I do now living abroad. It was an honor and a lot of fun to pitch our small business to a very friendly and supportive group of IU alumni. I was actually really nervous but the audience was completely disarming and felt a strong sense of support compared to other more competitive pitch events. Afterwards I was contacted by a bunch of alumni through LinkedIn all asking how they could help or expressed genuine interest in your products and story. I really appreciate the opportunity and the continued effort by the school and the IU alumni organizations to keep our community strong, even while living abroad."

With the third pitch event scheduled for January 27, we are excited to expand the reach of the program to include alumni-led start-ups from across the globe. Further events are in the works which will likely focus on industry sectors including social enterprise. Stay tuned!

China Gateway  |  Beijing

Connecting with new students and parents in China

It is more important than ever to make local, personal connections with students amid the current difficult situation caused by the pandemic and tense U.S.-China bilateral relations.

IU’s China Gateway has engaged with prospective students and their parents through education fairs and school visits to ensure they have accurate and comprehensive information about IU’s opportunities and admissions processes. 

With no travel possible, the university's international recruitment efforts had to be reimagined. This summer, the IU China Gateway office began actively supporting IU student recruitment efforts in China by co-organizing and attending multiple online information sessions for prospective students and their parents, attending virtual and in-person education fairs, arranging local school visits in the Beijing area, and traveling domestically to visit high schools in other parts of the country.

U.S. university delegation members and guidance counselors at Xi’an Tieyi High School
Steven Yin, Director of China Gateway Office talks with parents at Xi’an Kang Qiao International School
Yiwei Jia, China Gateway Program Assistant and Yuxuan He, current student of Kelley/IU talk to students and parents at an education fair hosted on U.S. Embassy Beijing compound
Steven Yin presents to students and parents at Xi’an Tieyi High School
Steven Yin speaking to students at Xi’an Kang Qiao International School

IU China Gateway Director, Steven Yin, recently joined colleagues from three other U.S. universities for a two-day student recruitment tour organized by the U.S. Embassy’s EducationUSA office. They visited four high schools with international programs in Xi’an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province in the western part of China and talked to over 500 students and parents in lectures and mini-fairs set up by the host schools. Guidance counselors across the region all agreed and emphasized that direct and in-person communication opportunities between students/parents and official representatives of U.S. universities created by this tour were enormously beneficial, particularly given the unprecedented circumstances of the moment. They thanked us for bringing objective, accurate, and comprehensive information about higher educational opportunities in the U.S. to prospective students and their parents, demystifying universities’ international recruitment policies, admission requirements, and processes, and easing people’s concerns about issues like visas and public health measures adopted by U.S. universities.

Owing to various concerns caused by both the Covid-19 pandemic and anticipations of continuing tensions between China and the U.S., many Chinese high school students indicated a plan to submit applications to both U.S. and UK universities, using the latter as a backup plan, or to apply exclusively to UK universities. According to most students and parents with whom Mr. Yin spoke, the U.S. remains the preferred destination due to the quality and reputation of its institutions of higher education. Many parents are anxiously awaiting positive signs of the end of the global pandemic and any improvements in U.S.-China relations as they decide where to send their children. At the same time, high schools’ international divisions across the country (which provide English-language instruction of international curricula) have reported challenges maintaining student enrolment numbers because many students have opted to return to the national curriculum and the domestic university admissions examination (gaokao) track, which is an equally viable pathway to overseas university admission.

Europe Gateway  |  Berlin

Universität Hamburg: a blossoming partnership

While many of the IU Europe Gateway’s regular activities came to a full stop in the spring, multiple new forms of virtual programs – from the IU Global Classrooms to Gateway Webinar Series – have led to significant expansion in engagement with IU’s longtime partner institution Universität Hamburg.

With a robust faculty research exchange as its foundation, Indiana University and Universität Hamburg (UHH) have been successfully working together for more than 40 years. 

The neo-baroque main building of Universität Hamburg

Since 2012, Universität Hamburg's internationalization strategy has included the development of a sustainable, strategic network of partnerships with higher education institutions around the world. They are forging strategic research partnerships with institutions that promise excellent opportunities for cooperation in key research areas and active participation of several UHH faculties. In 2019, UHH designated IU a strategic partner, resulting in a range of new funding opportunities for a variety of partnership activities with IU. In 2020, UHH received the Indiana University Bicentennial Medal.

IU Global staff in Bloomington and at the IU Europe Gateway have stayed closely connected with their counterparts in Hamburg through virtual meetings, occurring on a near-weekly basis, and have led to a myriad of ideas for collaboration. 

Explore our recent projects with UH

Early in the pandemic, the IU Global Gateway Network created “Art in the Time of Corona,” a webinar series to inspire and connect the IU community. The series of six sessions featured IU faculty and global alumni, as well as scholars and artists from the Gateway regions. It was exciting to have UHH art historian Professor Uwe Fleckner in the first session, A Global Tour of Creativity and Innovation, talking about the state of the arts at that unique moment in Europe and beyond.

Encouraged by the success of the first webinar series, later this year the IU Global Gateways collaborated with IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Themester to launch another series on “Democracy around the World.” UHH joined us again in the fourth session entitled, “Social Inequality at Home and Abroad.” Professor Birgit Pfau-Effinger offered her perspective and expertise on the role of culture and the welfare regime as an explanation for cross-national differences in the development of economic, racial, and gender inequalities.

The IU Global Classroom initiative offers IU instructors a way to add an international component to their classes by collaborating with a foreign university partner, giving students a cross-cultural, project-based experience that is done virtually. While this initiative is open for projects with any partner, it was much appreciated that UHH helped by promoting and facilitating this program among their faculty. These efforts resulted in three joint proposals, out of which two projects will be supported and funded in spring 2021: Sandra Kuebler (IUB) partnering with Heike Zinsmeister (UHH) in a course on corpus-linguistic and computational approaches to hate speech, and Jason Kelly (IUPUI) partnering with Thorsten Logge (UHH) in a course on Digital Public History of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another example of the collaborative efforts with UHH is IU Global’s UN SDG Poster Competition, a program that was first launched in 2019 and went global and virtual in 2020. In the program, which was recently adopted by UHH and three other IU partners, students work with faculty mentors to develop research posters based on work related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The focus of the fall 2020 competition is SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Each university hosted parallel research poster competitions and chose their own winners. Then, on January 23, 2021, all participants came together for an online Global Partners Research Forum to share their research and ideas.


In addition to the above examples, IU and UHH are currently working on several other joint projects, including a joint academic panel discussion on Negative Emissions Technologies for the spring 2021 at the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York City.

Please contact the IU Europe Gateway or the International Partnerships team with your own ideas for collaborative projects with UHH and other institutions in the region.

India Gateway  |  New Delhi

Promoting bilateral research and teaching in regenerative medicine

On December 10, 2020, the IU School of Medicine’s Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering (ICRME) and the IU India Gateway hosted an online workshop on Regenerative Medicine and Nanotechnology in partnership with the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) that showcased the latest regenerative medicine technologies and how these could positively impact patient treatment in India.

Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS; and Dr. Chandan Sen, Distinguished Professor and Director, ICRME, gave the keynote talk to an audience of over 100 researchers and students from over fifty higher education and research institutes across India. The program included presentations on the nanobiotechnology and regenerative medicine interface by Dr Amit Dinda, Emeritus Scientist, ICMRE; and tissue engineering by Dr. Sujata Mohanty, Professor Stem Cell Facility, AIIMS. A poster competition in which five early career scientists were invited to present their research work and get feedback from an expert panel, and a session dedicated to research and careers in the field were also part of the program.

Speaking after the event, Dr Sen said “Beyond medical drugs and devices, the future of affordable health care relies on our ability to unlock the curing and healing powers of our own body. In addition, the intersection of engineering, technology, and medicine will provide next generation healthcare solutions. Taken together, these represent the emergent discipline of Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative Medicine is on its way to emerge as a new cornerstone of affordable and scalable healthcare with a business model strikingly different from what we have today. Simply put, the body itself becomes your source of medicine. Technologies such as in vivo tissue reprogramming can be inexpensive and dispensed at remote locations with little infrastructure.” 

“Drawing talented students to this new future of medicine is a critically important step as we plan for this exciting future. The workshop was highly effective in showcasing the extraordinary training opportunities at AIIMS and Indiana University, including our recently-launched Regenerative Medicine and Technologies PhD program, and has initiated new scientific collaborations including those with both public and private sectors in India. In co-operation with AIIMS, our center is co-developing the Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) technology for tissue reprogramming for human applications with funding from the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF). We are also co-developing a new Regenerative Medicine curriculum for Presidency University, Kolkata.”

Mexico Gateway  |  Mexico City

Mexico Meetups

Mexico Meetups are interesting and intellectual weekly conversations around a specific topic of interest that take place virtually between IU faculty and their peers in Mexico, and beyond. 

The Mexico Gateway handles all the logistics, allowing IU faculty to focus on meeting a new peer in Latin America, bringing an expert into their classroom, or catching up with a past colleague. Contact us for more information and to set up your Meetup!

See past examples

The series was created to maintain and build connections and relationships between IU faculty and universities, nonprofits, government representatives, and/or researchers. While the concept was designed for a time of no travel, we are confident that Mexico Meetups will continue to be useful in a post pandemic world.

The setting is informal and comfortable, like meeting a colleague for coffee. It mimics the time when faculty would travel internationally to explore new research opportunities, connect with experts on the ground in their area of interest, or meet a past colleague to catch up and discuss common interests. Now we can also welcome the audience to be a part of the conversation and give everyone the opportunity to offer their questions and comments.

To date, eight fruitful conversations have taken place between faculty from IU Bloomington, IUPUI, and IU Southeast, and their counterparts in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Several topics have been discussed, such as the Day of the Dead, with the participation of César Félix Brasdefer, Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at IU College of Arts & Sciences, and Ruben Ruíz, Director of the Research Center on Latin America and the Caribbean (CIALC) at UNAM. In another Meetup, “A Writer’s Journey,” we talked about the challenges of writing in a language other than your native tongue, with Samrat Upadhyay, professor in the English Department at IU Bloomington, and Pablo Piñero Stillmann, his former student, and now author, living in Mexico. They discussed how they both faced those challenges and their current work; a conversation that was attended by their students, colleagues, peers, and friends.

Mexico Meetups have provided an avenue for the gateway to connect, or reconnect, with diverse entities such as México Evalúa, a respected thinktank, the IU Mexico Alumni Chapter, the University of Costa Rica, and many departments at UNAM including the Center for Regional and Multidisciplinary Studies, the Research Center on Latin America and the Caribbean (CIALC) and the Law School.

The Mexico Gateway is looking forward to expanding their network and increasing the diversity of topics in future sessions. Please email iumexico@iu.edu if you would like to have a Mexico Meetup next semester.