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Last modified: Thursday, May 16, 2013

Indiana University President McRobbie to visit and strengthen ties in China, South Korea and Taiwan

May 16, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Looking to further broaden Indiana University's international reach and to increase educational and research opportunities for its students and faculty, IU President Michael A. McRobbie will leave Saturday for South Korea, China and Taiwan.

While there, he will renew or sign several agreements between IU and leading higher education institutions in the region. He also will meet with alumni and with business and government leaders, and attend two special receptions for IU's newest students from China and South Korea.

Michael McRobbie

Michael A. McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

McRobbie, who will be joined on the trip by IU Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret and IU first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie, noted that students from China and South Korea accounted for more than half of IU's international enrollment of 7,700 this past academic year. The Institute of International Education ranks IU 11th among all U.S. universities in the number of international students.

More than 4,700 students from East Asia were enrolled at IU, including more than 3,250 from the People's Republic of China -- plus 90 students from Hong Kong -- 1,025 from the Republic of Korea and nearly 240 from Taiwan. More than 100 students from IU Bloomington studied in China last year.

"These countries also are home to some of our strongest institutional partnerships," McRobbie said. "Likewise, I am very pleased about the new partnerships we'll be initiating during this trip with top universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"We live in an increasingly global society, where forces that originate beyond our borders affect virtually all aspects of our lives. If IU is to effectively prepare its students to succeed in such a society, we must continue to build bridges around the world," he added. "Trips such as this one are crucial to maintaining IU's position as one of the most internationally focused universities in the world, and I am excited about the prospects for further strengthening our ties in this region."

The itinerary for the May 18 to June 1 trip includes signing new agreements with National Taiwan University, the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. It also features the renewal of partnerships with Peking University (with expanded activities) in China and Ewha Womans University in Korea.

Reports as the trip progresses will be available at a new website, Global Engagement and Partnerships, as well as the Global Engagements and Partnerships blog and through official IU social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

The trip is one element of IU's international engagement plan. The university has identified 30 countries as priorities and has plans in place to strengthen institutional ties, increase research opportunities and provide greater access to study abroad for IU students.

This is McRobbie's second trip to Asia in a year. In May 2012, he and Zaret visited Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and likewise strengthened connections with leading universities and IU alumni in Southeast Asia. In November, he traveled to three countries in South America and was the first sitting IU president to do so in nearly 40 years.

This will be McRobbie's third official visit to South Korea and to China since becoming IU's president in 2007.

In addition to attracting a large number of current students, IU has nearly 10,000 alumni in or from South Korea, China -- including Hong Kong -- and Taiwan.

IU has active alumni chapters in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei. The Korea Alumni Club has more than 1,000 members, making it one of the largest international IU alumni groups in the world. McRobbie will meet with alumni in each country, including at alumni receptions in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei.

During the trip, McRobbie will award the Thomas Hart Benton Medal to Tongkui Ju, a distinguished jurist in China and a 1949 graduate of the IU Maurer School of Law. The medal is given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified the values of Indiana University.

Both Michael and Laurie McRobbie will speak at special informational sessions for incoming IU students and their families in Seoul and Beijing. Students will learn more about academic and campus life and how to prepare for the beginning of their academic careers at IU. Alumni also will be invited to attend these events.

The study of East Asia spans more than 20 departments and professional schools on the Bloomington campus, including the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, which recently marked its 50th anniversary; the Title VI-supported East Asian Studies Center; the Chinese Language Flagship program; and the IU-Australian National University Pan-Asia Institute. At the Indianapolis campus, the Confucius Institute promotes the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

IU's teaching and research activities in Asia will be core efforts of the new School of Global and International Studies. Ground recently was broken on a new four-story, 165,000-square-foot structure that will house the school, starting with the 2015-16 academic school year.