Growing global partnerships

Guest post courtesy of Jennifer Piurek, director of communications and special projects, IU Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

During Lauren Robel’s trip to Taiwan in May — her third official Indiana University international visit in a six-month period — IU Bloomington’s Provost and Executive Vice President caught a glimpse into a fresh world of possibilities for IU students, particularly through partnerships with National Taiwan University and National Chiao Tung University.

Lauren Robel

Lauren Robel

Robel was invited to Taiwan as a guest of the Ministry of Education. There, she met with ministry officials, alumni and university partners, and presented a talk on IU’s new academic directions.

“Everywhere I went, I saw more opportunities to help IU students to become globally engaged citizens,” Robel said. One of the most exciting parts of the trip: discussions with the Ministry of Education about additional opportunities for bidirectional student exchange programs. “Through these programs, both sets of students will be able to make incredibly valuable connections with professors and peers from another culture while experiencing immersion in that culture.”

At the request of the Ministry of Education, Robel gave a talk on Indiana University’s New Academic Directions initiative at the Chinese Culture University in Taipei. She attended a dinner hosted by CCU Professor of Political Science Spencer Yang, who is the chair of the Taiwan Alumni Club.

The Taiwan visit followed Robel’s trips to Seoul and Shanghai in March and to Korea in December 2013. All of these trips support her campus vision for even greater international connections that increase opportunities for IU students to both study abroad and take part in overseas service projects.

Indiana University already has strong connections to Taiwan; during the past academic year, over 200 Taiwanese students were enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at IU, most on the Bloomington campus.

IU’s Maurer School of Law has active partnerships with National Taiwan University and National Chiao Tung University. Mark Janis, the Robert A. Lucas Chair of Law and director of the Center for Intellectual Property Research, recently visited NTU and is currently teaching an advanced IP course at NCTU via videoconferencing. Robel met with officials from both universities and discussed the possibility of expanding existing partnerships to include other areas and schools.

Provost Robel with members of the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.

Provost Robel with members of the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.

Robel also had a special opportunity to visit National Taipei University of the Arts, the institution with the longest history of any art institution in Taiwan. She toured the university’s facilities with President Chyi-Wen Yang, a graduate of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance in the College of Arts and Sciences. A number of accomplished directors have graduated from NTUA, including Oscar Award-winning director Ang Lee.

President Yang and Dean of Music Hwei-Jin Liu visited the Bloomington campus several years ago, and a number of NTUA students have studied in the Jacobs School of Music in recent years.

Provost Robel’s official visit to Taiwan coincided with Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie’s trip to Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Following her time in Taiwan, Robel traveled to Singapore, where she attended a ceremony in which McRobbie presented the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to Maurer School of Law alumnus and former U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, David Carden. While in Beijing, McRobbie dedicated IU’s second international gateway facility.

During her trip, Robel also met with IU Bloomington alumnus Yu-Chi Wang, Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council. Minister Wang is a graduate of the Maurer School of Law and serves as the political point person for cross-strait affairs with mainland China. He previously served as spokesman for President Ma Ying-jeou and as senior advisor on Taiwan’s National Security Council.

President McRobbie and Provost Robel have both made multiple official visits in recent years to Southeast Asia, a region of great strategic importance to Indiana University.

“It’s an honor to represent IU abroad,” Robel said. “These trips serve as a powerful reminder of this university’s ability to support the overseas engagement that leads our graduates to greater understanding of the world, richer visions of the possibilities for their lives and careers, and closer ties to IU.”

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