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Last modified: Monday, November 10, 2008

IU expands partnerships with top research universities in Korea and China

Nov. 10, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An Indiana University delegation to Korea and China, led by IU President Michael McRobbie, has returned home after establishing new partnership agreements with several of the region's premier research universities, strengthening ties with IU alumni and friends, and participating in a major conference on globalization in higher education, among other activities.

During the week-long trip, which began on Oct. 31, IU reached agreements with Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Seoul National University (SNU) and Peking University (PKU), and discussed future partnership opportunities with officials at Yonsei University, with whom IU has had an agreement since 1986.

SKKU Visit

Members of the Indiana University delegation have their first meeting with administrators at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea.

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Highlights of the trip also included a concert in Seoul, South Korea, featuring alumni of the IU Jacobs School of Music; a meeting with the Korea Alumni Club; McRobbie receiving an honorary degree from SKKU; a presentation by McRobbie at SKKU on the internationalization of U.S. universities; a tour of the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology; and McRobbie's remarks on IU's International Strategic Plan at the Fifth Beijing Forum.

"I am extremely pleased with what the delegation accomplished on this trip to this strategically important region of the world," said McRobbie. "The agreements we signed will provide Indiana University and its partner institutions with significant opportunities to extend the frontiers of knowledge in education and research, and enhance the global competency of our students and faculty. We look forward to a long period of engagement with our colleagues in Korea and China as we work together to confront the most important challenges facing the world in the 21st century."

IU's newly formed agreements have great potential to expand research and educational partnerships in a wide range of academic disciplines -- from business, informatics and environmental affairs to public health, law, economics and music. Below is information about each of the new agreements, as well as other activities in which McRobbie and the IU delegation participated:

  • On Nov. 2, a day after arriving in Seoul, the delegation attended a concert performed by alumni of the internationally renowned IU Jacobs School of Music. The program involved approximately 40 Korean musicians and singers, all trained in the IU Jacobs School of Music.
  • At SKKU, McRobbie and Patrick O'Meara, IU's vice president for international affairs, signed a general friendship and cooperation agreement that helps to consolidate IU's already strong relationship with SKKU in business and law. The agreement, signed Nov. 3, also will foster preliminary discussions between the two universities about cooperation in other areas. Robert Schnabel, dean of the IU School of Informatics, began discussions with his counterparts at SKKU.
  • Shortly after signing the agreement with SKKU, McRobbie was presented with an honorary doctor of science degree during a ceremony with SKKU President Jung-don Seo at the university's Grand Hall.
  • While at SKKU, McRobbie also had the opportunity to talk about IU's record number of international students (nearly 6,000 students this fall, including more than 1,200 from Korea) and share details of IU's efforts toward greater internationalization during a formal presentation on Nov. 3.
  • At Seoul National University on Nov. 5, McRobbie signed a new agreement of friendship and cooperation that will enhance IU's existing link with SNU in bioinformatics and significantly expand collaborative work in a number of other areas, including IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) and Jacobs School of Music.
  • At the Fifth Beijing Forum on Nov. 7, which included around 300 of the world's leading scholars, McRobbie discussed the role colleges and universities will play in a new international era that demands collaborative solutions to shared problems. During his remarks, he also outlined the details of IU's first-ever International Strategic Plan, which calls for, among other activities, increasing study abroad opportunities for students, recruiting greater numbers of international students and establishing new strategic partnerships with institutions of higher education abroad.
  • On Nov. 7, IU and Peking University, one of China's top research universities, expanded upon their existing partnership by signing an agreement of friendship and cooperation. IU's Kelley School of Business, School of Informatics, School of HPER, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Center on Philanthropy are currently in discussions with their PKU counterparts about new and expanded linkages.

While the agreements were among the most notable successes of the trip, members of the IU delegation spoke glowingly about the Jacobs School of Music alumni concert and numerous meetings with IU friends and alumni in Korea and China.

"The concert by our Jacobs School alumni was truly magnificent and demonstrated the remarkable quality of IU's graduates," McRobbie said. "Watching them perform so majestically and meeting with so many of our other accomplished Korean alums reinforced the vital importance of IU expanding its partnerships with Korea's leading research universities."

Yonsei University Visit

IU President Michael McRobbie meets Yonsei University President Kim. Also pictured, left to right, are Dean of the Kelley School of Business Dan Smith, Vice President for International Affairs Patrick O'Meara, IU First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie and Yonsei Dean of International Affairs and IU alumnus Yeonseob Ha.

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While in Seoul on Nov. 2, the delegation attended a reception and dinner with the IU Korea Alumni Association. The alumni club in Seoul boasts more than 1,000 members, making it one of the largest IU alumni groups in the world. While there, the IU delegation laid the groundwork for the IU International Alumni Conference Reunion, scheduled to take place in Seoul next summer.

On Nov. 3, McRobbie and the IU delegation shared lunch with IU graduates who are on the SKKU faculty. Later that day they met with IU alumni who are members of Yonsei University's faculty, which includes 17 IU graduates in fields including music, physics, business, English, public affairs and biology.

In his earlier role as IU provost and now as president of the university, McRobbie has led several of IU's efforts to expand its international presence. He made previous visits to China (in 2006 and 2007) and visited Japan in 2006. Next summer, he plans to return to Korea for the IU International Alumni Conference Reunion in Seoul.

To view photo galleries and learn more about the trip, visit the Office of the President's Web site: