Asian tour fosters collaboration

October 18, 2006, volume 37, no. 4
By Diane Luckow

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It was a little disconcerting. SFU President Michael Stevenson looming large on the jumbotron video screens during his keynote presentation to a 4000-strong audience at Jilin University's 60th anniversary.

Jilin University, in Changchun, China, is SFU's longest-standing university partner and is now China's largest university.

For the past 21 years, the two universities have exchanged professors and students and partnered in field schools.

In honour of this long relationship, the university invited Stevenson to speak on behalf of all of their western university partners at the 60th anniversary celebrations. His was the only speech in English.

It was the start to a week-long Asian visit in which Stevenson sought to reaffirm relationships with Chinese and Korean universities and to search out new opportunities.

He spent three days visiting some of Korea's best post-secondary institutes, including the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Yonsei University, and Seoul National University.

In all cases, he broached the possibilities of dual-degree programs, joint research activities, and increased student exchanges and field schools.

"Korea is a very strong industrial country with an excellent research base," says Stevenson. "Its science and engineering students are among the best in the world."

"This trip has introduced me to some of the great potential for further collaboration with Korean institutions and for more active engagement with our local Korean businesses and communitites."

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