BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie is leading a delegation to Japan and Australia, where he is pursuing opportunities to expand exchanges of students and faculty; meet with leaders in education, government, technology, culture and business; and connect with IU’s international alumni in both countries.
While in Japan, McRobbie and members of the IU delegation -- including Vice President for International Affairs David Zaret, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Brad Wheeler and School of Global and International Studies Dean Lee Feinstein -- will meet with several senior executives from Sony in the nation's capital city Tokyo to build on a partnership with Memnon Archiving Services, a Sony Group Company. IU and Memnon are partnering on IU's ambitious Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, which has led to the digitization of 250,000 precious audio, video and film items for long-term preservation.
In partnering with businesses based in Japan, IU joins Indiana firms such as Eli Lilly, Cook Medical, Urschel Laboratories and Zimmer Biomet. With 280 Japan-based companies employing more than 58,000 Hoosiers, Indiana has the largest amount of Japanese investment per capita in the nation.
"Over the years, IU has been engaged with a number of higher education institutions in Japan, a country that has invested heavily in Indiana and its workforce," McRobbie said. "We look forward to expanding upon our longstanding ties to Japan and strengthening efforts to increase the number of student and faculty exchanges and foster greater understanding of and engagement with a country increasingly important to our state's economic success."
In Japan, McRobbie will meet the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, William F. Hagerty IV, and call on the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to discuss the importance of bilateral exchanges between Japanese and U.S. universities and ways to increase student and faculty mobility between the two countries. He will also talk with representatives from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership to discuss opportunities for collaborations with IU's School of Global and International Studies to support the study of Japan at IU and cooperative research.
Members of the delegation will also attend a concert at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater Concert Hall directed by IU alumnus and world-renowned conductor Robert Ryker, who is music director of the Tokyo Sinfonia and music director of the National Philharmonic of India. The performance of Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms in celebration of the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation will also feature recent IU Jacobs School of Music graduate Johann Schram Reed.
"Ever since Takekuma Okada earned his Master of Arts degree in 1891 and became IU's first international graduate student to return home, IU has maintained close relations with Japan," Zaret said. "I look forward to renewing those relations and investigating new ways to enhance our mutual understanding."
In Australia's capital city, Canberra, McRobbie will formally extend IU's longstanding partnership with the nation's leading university, the Australian National University, which has generated exchanges of faculty, students and staff and supported collaborative research and scholarship led by the ANU-IU Pan-Asia Institute. Established in 2009 and based in IU's School of Global and International Studies, the institute works on a broad range of issues related to Asia and is one of IU's most active global partnerships activities.
"The ANU-IU Pan-Asia Institute has made many opportunities available to students and faculty at both of our world-renowned universities," McRobbie said. "In renewing Indiana University's active partnership with the Australian National University, one of genuine value based on our complementary capabilities and expertise, we will further the number of exchanges of students and faculty, while we also increase the number of scholarly and research collaborations between our two universities on a wide variety of important international issues."
The partnership renewal will take place during a joint ANU-IU summit, chaired by McRobbie and ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt. The summit will include faculty from both institutions who will discuss their work and possible future collaboration in such areas as art and design, business, cybersecurity, law, linguistics, public affairs and public health.
McRobbie, who will also meet in Canberra with several senior government officials, is an ANU alumnus and received his Ph.D. in logic in 1979 and an honorary doctorate in 2010 from the university. He also received the university's Alumnus of the Year award in 2015.
In Sydney, the delegation will visit the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. McRobbie serves on the Council of Advisors for the center, which offers many education programs, including an undergraduate major and postgraduate degrees in American studies and study abroad programs.
While in Japan and Australia, the delegation will meet with alumni who are members of active IU Alumni Association chapters in both countries.
The trip, from now until Nov. 8, is being organized by the IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs. Reports as the trip progresses will be available at a blog site, IU Goes to Japan and Australia 2017, and through official IU social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.