It is called the “Land of the Morning Calm,” perhaps so named for the gentle, fairy tale-like mists that move across Korea’s mountainous terrain at dawn. This tranquil image contrasts sharply with that of Seoul, the capital city of the Republic of Korea (South Korea), which bustles with the noise and traffic of 12 million people and the frantic energy typical of any modern metropolis. Yet both scenarios are accurate, each revealing an important part of the complex story of the Korean peninsula—

two countries with separate political ideologies, economies, and global interactions, but with a shared heritage that runs deeper than the 38th parallel that divides them. As this rich and evolving chronicle unfolds, Syracuse University is striving to comprehend and contribute to Korea’s story through student and faculty exchanges, institutional collaborations, and research partnerships. “Korea is a fascinating research site,” says political science professor Stuart Thorson of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, whose research has taken him to both countries. “After the Korean Conflict, the whole peninsula was largely reduced to rubble. Now South Korea has become one of the world’s largest economies, and that is a miracle. To see how that has happened, to witness—as a political scientist—the process of a country now making the transition from an authoritarian regime to one that is more democratic, is a really wonderful opportunity.”

Christine Fawcett Shapiro
Tsinghua
Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities, is the host of a new DIPA center.

Thorson’s involvement with Korea developed from his relationship with Jongwoo Han G’97, who came to Syracuse as a political science doctoral student and is now a Maxwell faculty member. “He helped me see South Korea as a dynamic part of Asia and as a leader in using technology for electronic government applications,” Thorson says.

Currently, the two participate in a groundbreaking University-wide research collaboration to develop the first digital library in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), working with Kim Chaek University of Technology in the capital city, Pyongyang. This project is representative of SU’s widespread interest in Korea, which has been developing for decades. Since 1973, the South Korean government has sent mid-career government officials to the Maxwell School to earn master’s degrees in public administration. This led to an increase in Korean student representation in other academic programs at the University. Currently, more than 350 South Korean students and scholars study at Syracuse each year, many of them high-placed managers in the South Korean government. The Maxwell program also helped establish SU’s reputation in South Korea as a well-respected institution, and opened doors to new partnerships. “Because of the kinds of people we’ve educated here in the past, many of our graduates have risen to positions at the highest levels of government, creating an opportunity for the school to understand the challenges and issues they face as government leaders,” says William Sullivan, director of Maxwell’s Executive Education Programs and a leader in Asian outreach initiatives. “It’s a powerful example of how the teaching and research missions of the University reinforce each other.”

Syracuse’s Korean partnerships represent a growing University-wide effort to enhance longstanding relationships and develop new initiatives across the massive Asian continent. Several SU colleges have partnerships with universities in Asian countries, including China, India, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. For example, the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) established an academic exchange with Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, uniting students and scholars from both institutions to collaborate on research. The School of Information Studies collaborated with the Library of the Chinese Academy of Science to offer the Joint Advanced Seminar for Digital Libraries in Beijing in May, and some of its faculty members were invited to return in 2006.  

Peter Koveos
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Whitman School students relax during a night out in Shanghai.

The Maxwell School’s Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs houses the South Asia Center, and is working to establish an East Asia Center, bringing together experts from across campus to provide students with more exposure to these regions. Maxwell’s Executive Education Program, which has longstanding relationships with Beijing’s Tsinghua University and the China National School of Administration, also partners with the government of India and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore to offer public policy training programs for senior Indian administrative service officers. Each year, Indian government officials spend seven weeks at the Maxwell School to learn how current public policy issues are addressed in the United States and other countries, and research specific policies with Maxwell faculty.

The Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA) has several initiatives under way in Asia, including a new center at Tsinghua University in Beijing that will welcome its first students in January. DIPA also has a center in Hong Kong, a summer internship program in Singapore, an exchange program with Yonsei University in Korea, and a  Business and Law in China summer program in Shanghai. In Japan, SU students can study at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata/Osaka or at Waseda University in Tokyo, with additional opportunities for international relations students. An expanding involvement in India, which was initiated more than 50 years ago by the Maxwell School, now encompasses the College of Arts and Sciences, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. That interest led to the establishment of a semester in South India. The program is being offered by DIPA for the first time this fall, as are opportunities for month-long individual studies or internships in India. Expanded programs, including the possible creation of a center, are expected to follow.

Hendricks Chapel Choir
Captivated by China

As part of Hendricks Chapel’s 75th anniversary celebration, the Hendricks Chapel Choir embarked on a two-week musical and cultural tour of China in May. The 47-member choir, led by director G. Burton Harbison, performed its concert “An American Sampler” at venues in Beijing (two concerts), Xian, and Guilin (two concerts). The program featured a representation of 20th-century religious music, two Chinese folk songs, and a piece written by choir alumnus Fred Thayer ’63.

Reverend Thomas V. Wolfe
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Choir members and Chinese friends

During the tour, students visited the Forbidden City, stood atop the Great Wall, cruised down the Lijiang River, and saw one of the country’s most famous archaeological excavations, the site where the terra cotta warriors of China’s first emperor have been unearthed. Perhaps the trip’s most rewarding moments, though, were the concerts and the chance to connect with the Chinese people through music. “There was a genuine shared feeling of warmth and deep appreciation for music and the opportunity to share it across cultural boundaries,” says Reverend Thomas V. Wolfe G’02, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “Despite difficulties understanding each other, the international language of music communicated what was really important.”  

Choir member Jessica Kershaw ’06 says the first concert was a great experience. “The best part was when we were done singing and the audience members rushed to the stage and wanted to sing with us,” she says. “We sang one of our Chinese songs with them, and it really proves music is such a universal language. It gave me goose bumps to be able to sing with them—they understood us and we shared an amazing moment. What a testament to sharing cultures.”

The tour was also the culmination of an extraordinary career for Harbison, a Setnor School of Music professor who directed the choir since 1994. He retired at the end of the tour after 27 years at SU and a 38-year college teaching career. Harbison recalled a concert tour of the Soviet Union he took when he was a sophomore in college. “It was a life-altering experience for me,” he says. “Now it’s time to launch the next generation of students on their quest toward a better understanding of our world community and the realization that throughout the world, there are wonderful, caring people, and that music can speak universally to all that is good.”

—Kelly Homan Rodoski

“Economically, politically, and just in terms of world populations, countries in Asia—particularly India and China—are going to be dominant players in the 21st century,” says Susan S. Wadley, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Ford Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies. “Our students need to know much more about the rest of the world. They need to understand ways of thought, patterns of living, religious beliefs, and political systems in an in-depth, comprehensive way in order to provide any kind of future strength to the United States.” 

Initiatives in Asia support Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s vision for SU as an active agent in reaching out to the world. “For us to be a global university, it is important we engage beyond the boundaries of our campus and our nation,” says Cantor, who took an inaugural trip to Asia this summer, visiting with government officials, educators, and alumni in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Singapore (see “Inaugural Tour,” below). “Asia is a critically important part of the world. We have, as an institution, an impressive array of collaborations in Korea, China, Singapore, and beyond, including very high-level partnerships with universities and government agencies. Building on those relationships, and expanding our relationships with our wonderful alumni in Asia, speaks to every aspect of our educational mission.”

Such efforts are advanced by SU’s Office of Global Development (OGD), which focuses on enhancing relationships around the world to bring resources to the University to fund priorities. “For more than a decade, OGD has been active in Asia, securing gifts and grants to enable and support many academic and University initiatives,” says Thomas Harblin, vice president of global development. For example, OGD worked closely with Maxwell’s William Sullivan to arrange for equipment and funding for twin computing labs in Maxwell and the China National School of Administration to support the Executive Education Program’s collaboration there. Harblin and OGD senior director James O’Connor have secured significant financial support for a range of SU colleges and programs from alumni, parents, and friends in Asia. OGD’s work in Asia also provides such benefits as helping with the establishment of DIPA centers there, the creation of internships for DIPA students studying in China, engagement of globally respected leaders, facilitation of agreements of cooperation with leading universities, and increased applications from Asian students. In addition, in cooperation with the Office of Alumni Relations, OGD provides programming opportunities that bring together Asian alumni, students, and parents. “The importance of countries in Asia to the United States and the global economy reinforces the timeliness of SU’s strategic investment in building deep programmatic relationships of financial support and cooperation with the University’s Asian alumni and parents,” Harblin says.

 

 


Susan S. Wadley
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Susan S. Wadley, Ford Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies, has studied the Indian village of Karimpur since 1967.

Worldwide Relationships

Catherine Gerard, associate director of Executive Education Programs at the Maxwell School, compares what is now occurring in parts of Asia with what was happening in the United States in the early 1920s, when the Maxwell School was founded. “That was an era when people were trying to build good government, an era of reform,” she says. “For places like Korea and China, this is their 1924. South Korea now has a democracy. They are decentralizing. They are creating local governments. They are moving toward transparency and responsiveness to citizens.” China, too, is beginning to create a government that is more citizen-focused, responsive, and transparent, she says.

Stuart Thorson
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North Korean children play a game at one of North Korea’s after-school enrichment centers.

Maxwell School Dean Mitchel B. Wallerstein G’72 visited South Korea and China this past June to promote the school’s programs and relationships in these countries, and signed two new agreements while in China. “China is a country that suddenly finds itself with a huge—and growing—middle class with rising consumer expectations,” he says. “But because it is still a communist state, with the mechanisms of government at all levels controlled by the Party, there is a growing realization that the government bureaucrats lack the modern management skills necessary to guide the world’s most dynamic and rapidly expanding economy. They are turning to places like the Maxwell School to learn as rapidly as possible how to manage a modern, upwardly mobile society.” 

SU’s relationships in Asia cross academic disciplines, geographic boundaries, and political philosophies. Collaborations in South Korea, for example, benefit students and faculty at Syracuse and at such sister institutions as Korea University, Pohang University of Science and Technology, and Yonsei University. The Whitman School contributes teaching faculty to Sejong University’s executive M.B.A. degree program, a partnership currently in its fifth year, and is interested in developing additional executive education programs in Seoul. Members of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems and ECS faculty are discussing research and development opportunities with executives at Samsung, a global leader in consumer electronics. School of Architecture professor Francisco Sanin was a visiting faculty member at the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul in 2004-05 and plans a lecture and exhibition series featuring several Korean architects and urban designers.   

The Ambassador Pyo Wook Han ’42 Lecture Series on Korean/U.S. Affairs, established in 2001, honors the distinguished career diplomat and George Arents Pioneer Medal recipient who was instrumental in establishing the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. Coordinated by Jongwoo Han and supported by The Korea Foundation and Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems, the series alternates between Syracuse and Seoul. The most recent on-campus lecture featured Young-Jin Choi, ambassador-designate to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, who spoke on nuclear non-proliferation. He was introduced by SU Trustee Goh Kun H’01, a former mayor of Seoul who has served as prime minister and acting president of South Korea. “We consider it significant that Chancellor Cantor visited Korea during her first Asia trip,” Goh says. “Her presence in Seoul with parents and students will surely contribute to further promoting Syracuse University and consolidating its relationship in Korea.”

The powerful potential of such connections can be witnessed in the current research collaboration with Kim Chaek University of Technology (KCUT), Pyongyang. “We are working with KCUT to develop the first digital library in North Korea,” says Thorson, the project’s director. “We are also encouraging them to share some of the digital resources they will have with other countries in the region, and perhaps with the United States as well.” Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund is principal investigator for the project, which is the first to partner a North Korean institution with a U.S. one in an ongoing collaboration. Syracuse University’s team includes representatives from the Maxwell School, ECS, the School of Information Studies, and University College. “This is so important, because for a long time North Korea has been isolated from the rest of the world,” Thorson says. But for digital libraries to succeed, there must be international standards that everyone abides by, he says. “So, how do you develop enough trust among people who, for a variety of reasons, may not trust each other initially, to be willing to adopt standards that are international rather than local? That’s ultimately what is happening. We’re hopeful that, over time, this effort will expand to allow scholars a window into materials that no one has seen since the 1950s—not only books and other written documents, but also other artifacts.”

Peter Koveos
su banner
College of Law professor Hilary K. Josephs, holding an SU banner, and students in the 2005 DIPA summer program in Shanghai stand in front of the campus of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

The partnership has received guidance and funding from The Korea Society, a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing relations between the two nations, as well as support from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Donald P. Gregg, president and chairman of the board of The Korea Society, values the collaboration with SU. “When I am asked why The Korea Society is involved in helping to develop an IT [information technology] exchange program with North Korea, my answer is that this excellent program with Syracuse University is transformational aid to Pyongyang, not support for the status quo,” says Gregg, former U.S. ambassador to Korea. Gregg reports that Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, reads the South Korean press on the Internet every day. “He knows about our IT project and supports it,” Gregg says. “North Korea, with encouragement from Syracuse, is building what will be one of the largest digital libraries in Asia. If IT is allowed to flower in North Korea, this will be strong evidence that Kim Jong Il is not only allowing change in his country, he is encouraging it. I am delighted to play a small role, alongside great people from Syracuse, in this transformational process.”    

Several exchanges have taken place since 2002, with KCUT delegations visiting Syracuse four times, and an SU team traveling to Pyongyang twice. The success of these exchanges led to the Regional Scholars and Leaders Seminar, which involves scholars and government officials from North Korea, South Korea, China, and the United States. The initial activity for the annual seminar, which is expected to eventually travel to each participating institution, was a three-week training session in technical English taught by University College’s English Language Institute in Beijing this past summer. “It is a delicate balance to keep the academic relationship working without infringing on the high politics of the whole situation,” says Thorson, who is also a founding member of the National Committee on North Korea, a group of academic experts and former government officials who seek to advise the U.S. government as relationships with the country become more open

 

hong kong
Hong Kong skyline

Donald C. Doerr
Goh Kun
Chancellor Nancy Cantor visits with Trustee Goh Kun H’01 in Seoul.

Inaugural Tour

Chancellor Nancy Cantor made her inaugural trip to Asia this summer, visiting Seoul, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In an effort to strengthen the University’s ties and explore future collaborations there, she met with government and university officials, alumni, parents, and others. Among the highlights, the Chancellor:

Met with the deputy prime ministers for unification, and for science and technology, and the minister of education and human resources in South Korea.

Signed cooperation and exchange agreements with Korea University and Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), and received grant support from POSTECH for future research collaborations.

Attended a dinner hosted by SU Trustee Goh Kun H’01 that included several government ministers and the president of POSTECH as guests.

Gathered with alumni and other members of the SU family at the first SU New Student Send-Off in Seoul, hosted by Sangkoo Yun ’76, and was guest of honor at a dinner sponsored by the Korean Alumni Association and attended by 150.

Visited the DIPA Center housed in the City University of Hong Kong, where she met with University officials.

Joined 75 alumni and parents at a dinner marking the first meeting of the Hong Kong Alumni Association, where she presented Trustee Emeritus Anthony Y.C. Yeh G’49 with a gift in recognition of his support for SU initiatives in China.

Attended the first alumni-student reception in Singapore and met with students participating in the DIPA-sponsored Whitman School internship program.

Attended a globalization conference in Singapore hosted by the American Association of Universities and attended by members of the Asian Pacific Rim Universities.

For photographs of the trip, see the Alumni Photo Gallery.

A Global University  

In the University’s Academic Plan, Vice Chancellor Freund emphasizes the importance of an internationalized curriculum that broadens the worldview of students from all disciplines. She believes it is essential that, as countries in Asia enhance their global presence, SU expand its offerings in, and about, Asia. “These countries are challenging our customs, our economy, and our creativity, and we have a great deal to learn from them,” says Freund, who attended the Regional Scholars and Leaders Seminar in Beijing in August. “We can no longer assume that the United States will be in the ‘driver’s seat.’ Our students need to experience the power of Asian cultures, understand the power of their great tenacity to succeed, and recognize the importance of the contributions that Asian countries have made to improving the world. It is only by breeding familiarity and cultivating understanding that we can continue to be great—as a university, and as a country.” Likewise, the Office of Admissions reaches out to bring Asian students to campus, implementing various recruitment strategies, including an annual fall trip to the Pacific Rim.

From a business perspective, Asian countries, China in particular, are dynamic places of growth—a trend that is expected to continue for decades to come. “Syracuse University has to have a presence in these parts of the world,” says Professor Peter Koveos, Kiebach Chair in International Business at the Whitman School. Koveos has led partnerships in Shanghai since 1993, including collaborations with the College of Law, and is writing a book about China. “From a business point of view, we have to do business in China, with China, and about China,” he says. “And from an academic point of view, we have to make sure our students are aware of the business environment in China and can function effectively within that environment. We want them to be fascinated by it and enthusiastic about it.” In addition to educational partnerships in China, the Whitman School works with government organizations and financial institutions. Beginning in spring 2006, the school will offer a master’s degree in finance at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, where the College of Arts and Sciences will offer a graduate program in applied statistics. “It’s exciting,” Koveos says. “The students and faculty we send to China are always overwhelmed by the experience.”

DIPA’s new study abroad program in Beijing offers students the opportunity to spend a semester at Tsinghua University. The program will focus on contemporary China, and is expected to appeal to students who have an interest in learning about the country as an emerging global power. “Unlike most U.S. programs at Chinese universities, SU’s program will offer courses taught in English by Chinese faculty, in addition to intensive language study,” says Nirelle Galson, DIPA executive director. “It will focus on the complexities of contemporary China across disciplines, including history and geography, public policy and politics, and communications and popular media.” Tsinghua University, considered the “MIT of China,” was chosen as home for the new DIPA center, based on its excellent academic resources and the working relationship between its school of public affairs and Maxwell’s public administration program.

The center received funding from Trustee Emeritus Anthony Y.C. Yeh G’49, a longtime supporter of international education and exchanges for Chinese and SU students. He created the Hong Kong Student Fund in 1978, endowed the Anthony Y.C. Yeh Undergraduate Scholarship Fund in 1992, and helped support the Maxwell School’s relationship with the China National School of Administration in 1993. “Traveling abroad really opens your eyes and changes you,” says Yeh, a Friends of DIPA advisory board member. “The world is getting smaller and we can learn so much from each other.”

Caroline Haiyan Tong G’91, G’97, Maxwell’s director of China projects, is the Beijing center’s director. “All of this is very exciting,” she says. “I see the new center as an example of a University-wide effort to become more internationalized and to provide broader opportunities for our students—and for students from other universities—to focus, study, spend time in, and learn more about a region that will be very important to the United States throughout the 21st century.”

 

 

Getty Images
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Singapore adorned in dragon decorations

Rich in Learning

“There is a saying in Chinese that a tower of 10,000 stories begins with a single brick,” says College of Law professor Hilary K. Josephs. “So, for my part, I’ve been quietly laying brick by brick by teaching a course on the Chinese legal system.” Josephs began studying Chinese as a college freshman and went on to earn a Harvard Ph.D. in East Asian languages and civilizations, with a specialization in Chinese history and literature. She has lectured extensively in China, where she teaches Chinese law at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, often collaborating with Whitman School professors Koveos and Chen Chung. “To understand the processes of globalization, one must leave the comfort of the United States, and the comfort of looking at the world from an American perspective,” she says. “Other countries, especially Asian countries, cannot be understood from a distance.” Josephs is enthusiastic about the prospect of an enhanced University-wide Asia connection, and sees the Chancellor’s visit as a significant symbol of SU’s respect for its relationships there. “I think it is the love of education in Asian societies that has contributed mightily to their continuity, their endurance, and their growing prosperity,” she says.

Reverend Thomas V. Wolfe
BeijingTiananmen Square, Beijing, across from the entrance to the Forbidden City

English Language Institute director Geraldine de Berly, who traveled to Beijing in August with the Regional Scholars and Leaders Seminar to teach English to a group of North Korean scientists, engineers, and government officials, often witnesses this passion for learning in students from Asian countries. “The students were eager, enthusiastic, and exceedingly curious, not only about their English improvement, but also about us,” says de Berly, associate dean of academic affairs at University College. For the Beijing project, teaching sessions lasted six hours a day, six days a week, for three weeks. “It was an extremely satisfying experience for me as an instructor to teach students who wanted to absorb so much in such a short time. But I, too, learned much from them.” Koveos has had similar experiences teaching finance courses in Shanghai. “The students are just incredible,” he says. “They are so hungry for what we have to offer, which is the knowledge of Western-style business. That to me, as an educator, is an overwhelming experience. It is probably the single most important reason I keep going back.”

Maxwell’s Dean Wallerstein also expresses admiration for the discipline, work ethic, and thirst for education often demonstrated by students from Asian countries. “It is clear that many of the Asian Pacific Rim countries, as well as India, are on the move both economically and socially,” he says. “These countries are trying to achieve—and, in some cases, have already attained—the status of advanced industrialized countries.” Wallerstein considers Syracuse University fortunate to have longstanding relationships, some dating back more than five decades, with many of the leading institutions of higher education and training in these countries. “These relationships create the possibility of exciting new collaborative relationships, as well as opportunities to bring more Asian students to the SU campus and to engage more SU faculty and students in long- and short-term visits to the Asian continent,” he says. “All of this fits well with and actively promotes the Chancellor’s vision that Syracuse University should reach out to the world.”

 


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