Ideas for collaborations with east Asia sought

UC Davis representatives recently trekked thousands of miles to meet face-to-face with leaders of east Asian institutions and convey their desire to move toward a more global community of students and scholars. In meetings set to begin soon, the delegates will share their experiences and ask for advice from the campus on how to build on that momentum.

In mid-March, Chancellor Larry Vander-hoef and a delegation of five other UC Davis administrators traveled for 11 days in east Asia, stopping at peer institutions including The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University in Japan. They also visited Seoul National University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Taking facility tours and meeting with faculty were part of the itinerary.

But going into the trip, UC Davis delegates already knew the institutions represented "the best of the best of these countries," said Bob Kerr, director of international alumni and visitors programs, who coordinated trip logistics.

"We knew enough already to say they are a peer of ours," he said. "What we especially wanted to know was what are the opportunities for exchange and collaboration?"

Overseas, the delegation's mission was greeted with much enthusiasm, and delegates themselves were treated like "kings and queens," Kerr said. One institution strung a large welcoming banner prominently across a city street; another displayed the U.S. flag throughout campus in honor of the visit.

Now it's UC Davis' job to keep that enthusiasm and momentum going, Kerr said.

"The challenge is getting the opportunities understood - to get people to go beyond their comfort zones," he said. "We want them to say, 'Hey, I could go to Japan or Korea for three months or a year.' These are life-changing opportunities at top-ranked institutions."

At the two meetings planned for the campus, delegates from the east Asia trip will begin by explaining what was communicated about UC Davis to the institutions abroad. The power point presentation delivered at each institution will be highlighted, and materials from each campus will also be available for viewing.

Then the focus will shift to brainstorming about student and faculty exchanges that could be implemented both on campus here and in Japan and Korea.

The experiences in each country were very distinct, Kerr said. So, to properly focus on the institutions visited, he said, the meetings will address opportuities in each country separately. The meeting regarding possible reciprocal exchanges and collaborations will be announced in the near future, Kerr said.

All members of the campus community are invited to attend. For more information, contact Kerr at 754-8941 or

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Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,

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