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UI forges new ties with Taiwan, renews linkages with Korea
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa officials led by President Mary
Sue Coleman forged new relationships with alumni as well as education,
government and business leaders in Taiwan and renewed similar friendships
in Korea on a 10-day trip that ended Jan. 14.
Highlights of the trip included:
* A request from Taiwan's education minister for the UI to consult
on ways for that country to test its students' readiness for college.
Education Minister Jin Wu is a UI graduate, having earned master's and
doctoral degrees in hydraulic engineering.
* A state dinner with Taiwanese President Teng-hui Lee, an alumnus
of Iowa State University who praised the people of Iowa for their commitment
to education. Coleman, in return, commended Lee for his efforts to expand
* Meetings with business and foundation leaders who expressed enthusiastic
interest in providing funding for an endowed chair in Chinese studies at
* Reaffirmation of agreements with Korean universities and renewal
of ties with Korean business and research leaders, including Kwan Rim,
former associate dean in the UI College of Engineering who is now president
of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.
* Alumni gatherings in each country. More than 90 people attended
the gathering in Taipei, Taiwan, including one family with three generations
of UI alumni. The annual meeting of the UI Alumni Association of Korea
drew about 95 people, who watched a tape of the Iowa-Iowa State basketball
game and "Reflections: The Shaping of a University," the UI's
"We gained so much from this trip because it will help us achieve
our goals of strengthening the international perspective of our educational
programs and creating links with education, government and business leaders
in other countries," Coleman said. "This will provide opportunities
for our students and faculty to study abroad, encourage the enrollment
of greater numbers of students from Taiwan and Korea, and strengthen teaching
and research on East Asia at the UI."
Coleman credited UI alumni in Taiwan and Korea with making the trip
a success, noting that it was UI alumnus Jin Wu who arranged for the UI
contingent to meet with Taiwan President Lee to discuss educational reforms.
"He opened many doors for us and gave us a unique opportunity to
meet with both government and education leaders," she said. In addition
to educational testing, Taiwanese officials expressed interest in getting
the UI's help for teaching English to elementary school students, and for
establishing links in broadcasting, journalism and business.
While in Taiwan, the UI officials visited National Taiwan University,
National Taiwan Normal University, and National Cheng Chi University,
all in Taipei; and National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. They also
attended a reunion of 25 leading Taiwanese writers and publishers who have
participated in the UI's International Writing Program. While meeting
with UI alumni in Taipei, they learned that two new UI alumni groups are
being created in Tainan and Kaoshiung.
Coleman and the UI group also met with the Hua Hsia Investment Company,
which is headed by UI alumna Teresa Chou and received preliminary approval
for funding of an endowed chair in Chinese studies. Visits also were made
to other potential funding groups. "We believe the trip to Taiwan
was essential to gaining this promise of funding and to opening doors for
future support," the UI president said.
The visit to Korea allowed Coleman and others to renew friendships that
were made during a previous visit to that country in June 1996. The UI
group visited three universities in Seoul and the vicinity: Ewha Womans
University, Yonsei University and Ajou University. They also made a first-time
visit to Sung Kyun Kwan University.
The group also met with Professor Kwan Rim at the Samsung Advanced Institute
of Technology and toured the Samsung Medical Center, where they reviewed
ongoing collaborations between Samsung researchers and UI medical and engineering
Representatives of the UI group visited the Korea Foundation, which
has already provided the UI with $500,000 for an endowed chair in Korean
studies. They also met with representatives from the Daewoo Foundation,
which has contributed funding for materials used in Korean studies at the
Coleman spoke to a group of 20 Korean women who are leaders in education,
business, politics and government. "I was happy to share my experiences
as a woman in higher education and to learn first-hand from my hosts about
the changing role of women in Korean society," she noted. "We
discussed the emergence of a women's studies program at Yonsei University,
and they expressed interest in possible collaboration with our UI women's
studies doctoral program."
In addition to meeting with UI alumni from Korea, the UI group also
met with Tim Trinka, a UI alumnus from the Chicago area who has worked
in Seoul for 10 years as an attorney with a large law firm. Trinka commended
the UI group for making the trip to Korea at a time when that country's
economy is facing challenges.
"These are not the best of times for the Korean economy, but I
think it was clear that our hosts were all the more grateful that we made
this trip. We were greatly impressed at how the Korean people are pulling
together to meet their economic challenges," Coleman said. "It
was an excellent way to demonstrate that we are not just fair-weather friends."
Coleman was joined in her travels by Hauling Nieh-Engle, professor emerita
of the UI International Writing Program; Michael McNulty, associate provost
and dean of international programs; Jae-On Kim, director of the Center
for Asian and Pacific Studies; Stephen Arum, assistant dean of international
programs; and Michael New, vice president for development at the UI Foundation.