Brodhead Reaches Out to Far-flung Alums

October 1, 2006

This summer, on his first international trip since coming to Duke, President Richard H. Brodhead spent two weeks in Asia, visiting alumni and students and promoting collaboration with higher-education leaders from Hong Kong to Tokyo.

East meets West: As part of his Asian travels, Brodhead joined counterparts in Taiwan for a panel on internationalization in higher education

East meets West: As part of his Asian travels, Brodhead joined counterparts in Taiwan for a panel on internationalization in higher education

In Taipei, Taiwan, he participated in a Taipei educational forum about the future of internationalization in higher education and visited the Koo Foundation Sun-Yat Sen Cancer Center. The KF-SYSCC has ties to Duke Medical Center dating back to 1980, when Andrew Huang H.S. '69, founder of the center and a Duke professor of medicine, and R. Wayne Rundles, Huang's mentor during his residency and, later, a colleague at Duke, visited Taiwan.

During a two-day visit to Seoul, South Korea, Brodhead toured Seoul National University, the country's premier institution of higher education and a partner of the Fuqua School of Business, and met with the president of the university, Un-Chan Chung.

After South Korea, Brodhead visited Tokyo for two days before traveling to Beijing, where he met university officials and senior scholars in the liberal arts at Tsinghua University to discuss partnerships with Duke. While there, he also received an honorary doctorate and spoke about the challenges universities must grapple with in the face of major changes in "how we go about research and education." He emphasized the intellectual freedom necessary for universities to develop ideas that "may seem abstractly intellectual in the beginning, but with time, they can become the crucial building blocks for societal advances."

While in Beijing, Brodhead also met with representatives of Peking University and of the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs, which oversees the national introduction of foreign intellectual resources and sending Chinese technical and managerial professionals for overseas training.

Brodhead's visit provided a variety of opportunities to raise Duke's profile in Asia. Along the way, he met with nine prominent newspapers, including the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and the Korea Herald in Seoul. In addition, he attended an education forum sponsored by the Global Views Monthly magazine in Taiwan, participating in a panel discussion and delivering the keynote address.

Informal gatherings were also an important aspect of the trip. At alumni receptions in each city, a total of more than 400 attended, including many current Duke students home for the summer. Duke Club presidents in each country were instrumental in helping to organize Brodhead's visit. They included Danal Blessis B.S.C.E. '82, Duke Club of Hong Kong; Andrew Huang H.S. '69, Duke Club of Taiwan; Suk-Ho Bang LL.M. '85, J.D. '87, Duke Club of Korea; and Mark Militello '84, Duke Club of Japan.