In countries in which the population density makes it difficult to gain a toehold, a group of Emory University travelers found wide berth and abundant welcome this past May.
The sites were Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong; the travelers were Board of Trustees Chairman Bradley N. Currey Jr.; President William M. Chace and his wife, JoAn; Vice President for Institutional Advancement William H. Fox and his wife, Carol; and Director of Regional Programs Alicia Franck. President Jimmy Carter and some of his key staff from The Carter Center joined the group in Tokyo.
The trip was initiated by Fox and the staff of Institutional Advancement to expand the scope of the University's external relations. According to Fox, "It now makes sense to venture beyond our own borders and establish dialogue in Asia and other parts of the world." The intent behind the trip was to establish closer ties with the University's alumni in these countries, to seek opportunities for educational exchange, and to meet individuals and identify organizations interested in Emory's mission of education, research, and service.
Despite the ambitious scope of the trip and the multiplicity of purpose, in the end it came down to moments of quiet friendship. The delegation was invited to the home of a descendant of Emory graduate Yun Ch'i-ho. A student at Oxford College in 1891, Yun made a brave passage from Seoul to join 275 other young men attending Emory at the time. Yun graduated with honors and went on to become vice minister of education and then vice minister of foreign affairs in Korea.
More than one hundred years later, Emory alumni still assume leading roles in Asian religious, political, educational, governmental, and corporate circles. Lee Hong-Koo '57Ox-'59C is chairman of the ruling New Korea Party. The "gentleman across the aisle" from Lee is Kim Dae-jung '83H, the president of the opposition NCNP.
Other visits in Korea included a meeting with the president of the Korea Foundation, a government-supported, grant-making organization that aids and develops programs in Korean studies at academic institutions worldwide. The Emory contingent also met with officials of the Sunkyong Group, which recently opened a plant in Covington, Georgia, near Oxford College. What began as a small textile factory has become a global network of trading, energy, fibers, petrochemicals, engineering, and construction companies with sales of more than $14 billion in 1992. Representatives from Emory welcomed this company as a neighbor and explored future possibilities of exchange.
The Emory visitors took time to renew ties with Yonsei University. In 1990, then-Emory President James T. Laney--now U.S. Ambassador to Korea--signed an "agreement of cooperation" in which the schools agreed to "work together toward the internationalization of higher education."
Ambassador Laney's role was invaluable in making contacts for the visitors. Ambassador and Mrs. Laney also hosted a reception for their guests. The feting never faltered, for once the group crossed over into Japan, an alumni reception was given in Tokyo at the residence of U.S. Ambassador Walter F. Mondale and Mrs. Mondale. The event attracted approximately one hundred and fifty people and had more than its share, according to Franck, of "magical moments"--one of which surely was the unexpected presentation of a traditional wedding kimono to President Chace by a group of alumni.
Meetings in Japan took place with members of YKK Corporation, Nippon Foundation (a philanthropic organization active in Japan and developing countries), and the Industrial Bank of Japan. In Hong Kong, a number of government contacts were made--for example, with the Acting Secretary for Economic Services, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, and the Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry.
Alumni in every country "delighted and impressed" the Emory contingent, notes Franck. Amid the flood of old and new faces, the travelers also made acquaintance with the cities themselves, each of which was an education for the mind and a delight for the senses.
On the return flight, a stop was made in San Francisco--a city where the Chaces spent a memorable part of their professional lives. There, the president gave a successful address to about one hundred alumni. Summarizing the adventure in Asia, President Chace said, "We came away convinced of several things. The first is that we should soon return to strengthen the bonds we created; the second is that we should more actively recruit the best students from those countries; the third is that we should create the best means for making it possible for Emory students to travel and study in those areas. All of this we can do. We look forward to returning."--S.M.C.
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