Chancellor's Friday Letters

News from Asia

News from Asia

April 16, 2010

Dear Friends,

I have traveled this week to South Korea and Japan to visit with many of our partners in education and research. Indeed, I write this letter to you on Friday morning from Tokyo (and with the magic of the international dateline, it will be sent to you late Thursday night!).

Earlier this week, our small UCR delegation visited with the leadership of Chungnam National University, where we agreed to strengthen our research partnership in areas of sustainable and renewable energy and other technologies, and to enhance the exchange of students and faculty. This campus, one of the largest and among the most highly regarded in South Korea, is located in Daejeon, which is considered to be the “Silicon Valley” of South Korea.

We also received a major gift from the Overseas Koreans Foundation. This $2.7 million gift will allow us to establish a research center on the UCR campus to study questions related to Korean Americans. Named for Young-Oak Kim, a World War II hero who also worked for peace in his community, the center will fulfill a longtime goal of Ethnic Studies Professor Edward T. Chang (http://newsroom.ucr.edu/news_item.html?action=page&id=2306).

We visited with UCR alumni and current students studying in South Korea at a stunning and gracious dinner hosted by one of UCR’s strongest friends, Ms. Kathy Seung, who traveled from Los Angeles just for our visit.

We met with faculty and students studying in a partnership between UCR Extension and Winglish TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). And finally, we enjoyed the most engaging interactions with students and faculty at the Gangnam-UCR International Education Center in the Gangnam-gu District City.

Gangnam-gu is Riverside’s sister city in South Korea, and is one of 12 gu (local government districts) that, in aggregate, comprise Seoul. We carried a letter from Mayor Ron Loveridge to their Mayor, and visited with amazing students who are mastering English along with their other studies. Their aspirations range from becoming an international art curator, or a world class musician, to a “bridge” – a diplomat who brings global society closer together.

This fall, the aspiring musician, Won-jun Jung, is on his way to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He wrote the lyrics and composed the music for a song for me titled “Living the Promise,” which he performed, accompanying himself on guitar. One stanza said:

“For me, I’m also living the promise
My dream is to play the blues all night long…”

He has Arlo Guthrie and Bob Dylan written all over him….

In Japan, we were hosted by Chancellor Noriko Mizuta of Josai International University (JIU), where we met with students and faculty. We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with JIU for many years. About 1,800 students from JIU have studied at UCR Extension from several weeks to a year at a time. Sometimes they stay on campus, and other times in the homes of local families throughout our city.

To a person, the stories about the warm and enduring friendships, and professional partnerships were indeed moving. I was honored and humbled by the honorary doctorate that was conferred on me in a formal ceremony that I will remember my whole life.

This morning, I’ll take the bullet train to Sendai, which is Riverside’s sister city in Japan, and discuss progress on a memorandum of understanding among four partners: The UCR Bourns College of Engineering, Tohoku University, and the two cities of Sendai and Riverside.

I hope this short narrative gives you a glimpse of UCR’s efforts at internationalization. We have faculty and students engaged in meaningful, productive and enjoyable partnerships in every corner of the globe. The knowledge, understanding and appreciation that emerge from the various areas of study they engage in are brought back to the classrooms, studios and laboratories in Riverside, and thus benefit the educational experience for all students who study with us.

Indeed, our goal is for all our graduates to be prepared to live, work, compete and prosper in our global society.

Warm regards.


Tim White, Chancellor

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Many Hands Work the Garden
Get in the mood for Earth Week with pictures of UCR’s own community garden. I was there for the dedication and it is satisfying to see our students taking the garden to their hearts and their hands. They, along with staff and faculty, have organized a lineup of activities from acoustic concerts in the garden to seminars on composting, recycling and green design.

Solving Problems Collaboratively
UCR is again well-represented at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University Conference. ¬†Eight students and one alumna will be pursuing projects that address education, health care and peace.

Sweet and Sustainable Eating
Grab a cloth bag and shop at the HUB from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 21 for fresh vegetables and fruits grown here in the community.

Wondering what else is going on at UCR? It’s all listed at http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

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