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Release: Immediate

UI president to travel to Taiwan, Korea to meet alumni, reaffirm ties

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman will travel to Taiwan and South Korea in early January to meet with alumni, reaffirm ties with several universities in each country, and seek additional support for an endowed chair in Chinese Studies.

Coleman, along with a group of UI administrators, will leave Jan.3 for Taiwan and will spend five days there before going on to South Korea. The group will return to Iowa City Wednesday, Jan. 14.

Jae-On Kim, director of the UI Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS), says one of the main goals for the trip is to visit with UI alumni, former visiting faculty members, and past participants in the International Writing Program. Taiwan has more foreign alumni -- approximately 1,000 -- than any other country, Kim said, and a UI president has never visited the country.

Many UI alumni in Taiwan hold prominent positions in the country and could be influential in spreading word about the UI, Kim said. "In addition, many of our young alumni are very successful and will be the next leaders in business, government, and education," he said.

Michael McNulty, UI associate provost and dean of international programs, said that UI alumni in both countries are planning receptions for the group, which will aid the university's effort to support a strong alumni network in East Asia. "In the same way we endeavor to keep in touch with our alumni here in the United States, we would like to develop a stronger network of international alumni," McNulty said. "They are an important part of our university community."

The group also seeks to reaffirm and strengthen linkage agreements the UI has with National Taiwan University and National Taiwan Normal University as well as with Ajou University and Ehwa University in Korea.

In each country the UI group will be briefed by U.S. government or embassy officials. The group will also meet with the Taiwanese Minister of Education, who is a UI alumnus from the 1960s as well as with several foundations who may be able to help broaden the UI's research effort in East Asian Studies by supporting a new chair in Chinese studies within CAPS.

"Having the president visit in person to discuss the project demonstrates to Asian officials that our priorities have support at the highest levels of the university," said Stephen Arum, assistant dean of international programs.

In Korea the group will return to many of the places Coleman visited on her first visit to the country in June 1996. In addition to renewing those academic and personal friendships, the group will also visit with Kwan Rim, former associate dean of the UI College of Engineering, who is president of Samsung Advanced Research Institute.

(Editors Note: If you would like more information about the trip, both McNulty (319) 335-3565 and Arum (319) 335-0335 will be available for comment the week of Dec. 29.)