Indiana University

IU President McRobbie to lead university delegation to Asia

  • May 15, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie again will lead a university delegation to Asia, where he will open a new IU office in China, renew or sign agreements with leading higher education institutions in the region, and meet with alumni, business and governmental leaders.

This will be McRobbie's fifth visit to China since becoming IU's president in 2007. He also will become the first standing IU president to visit Vietnam, where the university and its School of Public and Environmental Affairs have strong connections.

Joining him on the trip to China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong will be IU Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret, IU first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie and IU Foundation president and CEO Dan Smith. They will leave Saturday and return May 30.

McRobbie said that such trips are vital to maintaining IU's position as one of the most internationally focused universities in the world.

"These countries are home to some of our strongest institutional partnerships or have the greatest potential for new partnerships," McRobbie said. "I am very pleased about expanding our activities and presence across Asia, including our new gateway office in Beijing and new partnerships with top universities in China.

"Previous trips like this have led to our forging new alliances, and we are confident that our efforts to build bridges with leading institutions in Japan and Vietnam will prove successful," he added. "We also are excited about seeing many of our proud alumni in these countries as well as in Singapore and Hong Kong.

"I am excited about the prospects for the continued strengthening of our ties in this region, which will lead to increased study abroad opportunities for our students, new research collaborations for faculty and enhanced engagement in one of the world’s most vital and economically dynamic regions.”

About 5,150 Asian students accounted for more than two-thirds of IU's international enrollment of 8,263 this past academic year, including more than 3,500 from the People's Republic of China -- plus 80 students from Hong Kong. About 115 students from Japan enrolled at IU, along with about 75 students from Vietnam and Singapore.

Two hundred twenty-five students from across IU studied in China last year, and 65 students studied in the other countries McRobbie is visiting. These numbers have been increasing significantly in recent years.

While in Japan, McRobbie and other IU officials will meet with officials at Waseda and Osaka universities and with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.

He also will bestow honors at the Japan chapter of the IU Alumni Association and present the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to renowned cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, a former faculty member at the Jacobs School of Music. 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 Indiana University.

During his visit to China, McRobbie will preside over the dedication of IU's second international gateway office, in Beijing, which will serve as a home base for the university's activities in the country. Last year, IU opened a similar office in India.

"The opening of the IU China Office will permit IU to work more closely than ever before with its institutional partners in East Asia," Zaret said. "The new office has the potential to touch every part of the IU academic experience. It will provide rising Chinese freshmen with their first physical encounter of Indiana University, and its proximity to key academic and technological centers will facilitate advanced research and collaboration among faculty. 

"Regional offices like this one are the next logical step in IU’s continued commitment to ensuring that its students and faculty have access to the best that the world can offer," Zaret added.

During the dedication ceremony, McRobbie will present the 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. He also will present 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.

The itinerary in China also includes signing new agreements with the China University of Political Science and Law (on behalf of the IU Maurer School of Law), Tsinghua University (on behalf of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy) and Beijing Sport University (for the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington); and renewing IU's primary agreement with Tsinghua University, the top-ranked university in China. McRobbie also will meet with Max Baucus, the U.S. ambassador to China.

In Hanoi, McRobbie will meet with top U.S. and Vietnamese officials about expanding IU’s presence and particularly its contributions to the betterment of Vietnam’s government. The president will be joined by David Reingold and Anh Tran from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington. 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.

IU has nearly 10,000 alumni in the countries where McRobbie is visiting and has highly active alumni chapters in Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo. A reception for IU alumni and supporters in Vietnam will take place at the residence of David Shear, U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. McRobbie also will host receptions in Singapore and Hong Kong. During the Singapore alumni reception, he will present the Hart Benton Medallion to IU Maurer School of Law alumnus and diplomat David Carden, former U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and current partner at Jones Day, a leading international law firm.

The study of Asia at Indiana University 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 Australian National University-IU 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 form part of the core of the academic teaching and research programs in IU’s new School of Global and International Studies, which is part of IU’s College of Arts and Sciences. 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.

Reports as the trip progresses will be available at a blog site, IU Goes to Asia, as well as new website, IU Worldwide, and through official IU social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Links

Michael A. McRobbie

Michael A. McRobbie

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Media Contacts

Mark Land

Associate vice president, IU Communications

Ryan Piurek