Innovation Notes from Asia...
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh is extending his Asia strategy with an innovation tour of Taiwan and South Korea – his third trip to the region since taking office in 2010. Through high-level meetings, Loh is laying the groundwork for new research and educational partnerships .
Friday, June 15, 2012
Our mission to build ties and create partnerships with South Korean researchers, universities, and industry led us to the offices of the nation's Minister of Trade, the Honorable Taeho Bark. Not only is Minister Bark delightful, but he also serves as the hub of the Korean business and innovation community. He offered his support in building UMD's network of relations here. Maryland's reputation in Korea is bolstered by its Terp alums, including Minister Bark's wife, who has a degree in economics. We hope to host them both for a visit to Maryland, and will work to arrange this.
South Korea is eager to host UMD students for study in East Asia. The government also strongly encourages its scholars to collaborate with their counterparts abroad. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is responsible for these international exchanges, as well as the nation's research parks.
At the ministry's National Institute for International Education, President and Ambassador Ha Tae-Yun greeted us warmly, explaining the need for teachers of English. He expressed appreciation for UMD’s support of the TaLK (Teach and Learn in Korea) program. Currently we send five Maryland students each semester to Korea to teach English and to advance their own studies. Can we send more, he asked? Also, there would be opportunities for professional teachers to spend some time teaching English in Korea after they graduate college, fully funded by the Korean government.
A measure of Korea's commitment to these exchanges: its government is offering 2,000 scholarships exclusively to American students at a cost of $2 million. I'll work with my team back home to explore these opportunities. My conversation with Ambassador Ha will continue in College Park later this year, as he has accepted my invitation for a visit.
Partnership Agreement: Sungkyunkwan University
We opened ties with Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) today, a prestigious private institution supported by Samsung. Our agreement of cooperation is an important beginning and provides for joint research as well as faculty and student exchanges.
University President Dr. Jun Young Kim told us of his ambitious plan to increase the number of foreign students on his campus by 50 percent. Also, he is interested in establishing dual degree programs with UMD in the areas of business, computer science and IT. Shorter study abroad programs might also be possible, he said.
Samsung provides SKKU with millions of dollars each year to support a customized education and research program for the company in the field of semi-conductors.
Later, we visited our current partner, Korea University (KU). Three years ago, they agreed to send us their students on an exchange basis. We discussed expanding our collaborations, and I invited KU President Dr. Byoung-Chul Kim to visit me in College Park.
I was honored to dine this evening at Samsung with one of our distinguished alumni - Dr. N-S (Stephen) Woo, President of Samsung's semiconductor division - the System LSI Business.
Dr. Woo has fond and vivid memories of his computer studies at Maryland with Ashok Agrawala, and his experiences reveal the power of educational exchange.
Dr. Woo got his first taste of computer engineering at a Korean School built by the United States. His teacher was a UMD professor, and Woo thrived there. When it came time to go for advanced studies, Maryland was his destination of choice, and he soon fell under Dr. Agrawala's educational spell.
Now, Dr. Woo runs a division of South Korea's largest company and supervises 13,000 employees. Among his managerial innovations: requiring all Korean employees to write their emails in English to improve their language proficiency.
Each of us has a deep commitment to innovation, and Dr. Woo demonstrated his at Samsung D'Light, where he displays the companies newsest devices.
Personalized electronic signs greeted us; a camera snapshot soon appeared on a wall screen; laptops that seemed to defy gravity; a portable language translator, a single wallet ID data card, and much more. This impressive display of the end of the research and development pipeline reinforces my determination for UMD to achieve recognition as a premier entrepreneurial and innovation research university.
We'll meet with more alumni, our most important ambassadors, tomorrow, our final day here.
Innovation Tour Day-By-Day
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