The Albright Connection (Far East Version)
message from the president
The Albright Connection
(Far East Version)
One of the best parts of my job is the opportunity to visit with Albright alumni, and I’ve connected with alumni chapters all over the country. Recently, however, I made my longest journey for Albright — to Japan and Korea. The purpose of the trip was to connect with our most eastern alumni group in Tokyo, as well as to visit four Korean universities to explore international exchange.
President Zimon in Korea You may not be aware that we have 40 Japanese alumni living in Japan and 19 current Japanese students. (In fact, the 2002 Dearden Prize in International Business was won by Takashi Sasaki ’02 from Sapporo, Japan, who just graduated summa cum laude.) What a pleasure to meet about 20 alumni in the exciting city of Tokyo. Our Japanese alumni came to this event for the same reasons all alumni do – to connect with fellow Albrightians, to hear the news about Albright and to network. We had a wonderful evening of conversation and Albright memories.
Kazushi Wakabayashi ’99, Mayumi Sasao ’97, Naoto Okura ’99, Osamu Tanaguchi ’93, Takeo Konoike ’00, Toyohisa Kurata ’97, and Sachiko Hayashi ’98 were some of the alumni in attendance. It was also a pleasure to spend time with Albright’s most famous Japanese alumnus, Nobuhiko Ochiai ’65. Perhaps Japan’s best known journalist and author of 100 books on Japanese and international politics, Nobi is our best international ambassador for Albright. Relentlessly enthusiastic about his Albright education, he mentions the College in his writings at every opportunity and has inspired many outstanding Japanese students to attend Albright during the past 30 years.
But Nobi is hardly alone in his enthusiasm for Albright. Our other Japanese alumni are equally eager to tell Albright’s story. When I arrived home, an e-mail from Akio Sashima ’97, president and CEO of Speed & Pride Corporation, was already waiting, with an offer to create an Albright-Japan website, translating our website into Japanese, and to serve as Albright-Japan liaison!
The focus of the second leg of my journey, to South Korea, was also about connections. I met with the presidents of four of Korea’s most prestigious universities to explore the possibility of connecting programs and developing exchange opportunities for Albright faculty and students. Each of the four universities has a particular strength to offer in the way of collaboration. Kosin University has opportunities for exchange in the areas of multifaith spiritual development.
President Zimon in KoreaDongseo University in Pusan, with whom we already have a partnership agreement, is Korea’s digital university, with an interdisciplinary focus blending computers with other areas such as theatre, fashion and broadcasting (similar in many ways to our own digital media program). Inchon University’s strength is economic development, and it is committed to earning recognition as the international logistics and transportation center of Asia. Finally, I visited Yonsei University in Seoul. The third largest university in Korea, Yonsei has a campus with beautiful ivy-covered halls, a highly developed international exchange program, one of the best medical schools in Asia, and teaches all courses in English. I am indebted to my good friend and Albright trustee, Dr. Daniel Yun, for spearheading the efforts in Korea and directing us to influential leaders in that rapidly growing market.
Over the years, we have been home to many, many international students, and we have also sent many Albrightians to learn about the world as an important part of their education. I believe crossing boundaries and connecting people are more important than ever, in a world where understanding between individuals and nations can spell the difference between peace and war, between establishing ties or embargoes. Everywhere and everyone we visited praised the value of a liberal arts education as key to their success and the best way to prepare for a complex global environment.
Continuing to build relationships with excellent universities across the globe can provide invaluable experiences for our students, and Korea is only a small part of our plans to connect our students and faculty with international opportunities.
Our goal is to build strong Albright connections both at home and abroad, and I am happy to say that our Japanese and Korean connections are alive and well!
Henry A. Zimon, Ph.D.