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UCLA Reaches Out to Asia
Chancellor Albert Carnesale meets with Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui.

UCLA Reaches Out to Asia

UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale visits Taiwan and Hong Kong in spring 1999.

Everywhere we went in Hong Kong and Taiwan, we received a warm welcome and found that UCLA is well-represented by dedicated and accomplished alumni and friends."


This article originally appeared in UCLA Today.

BY CYNTHIA LEE
UCLA Today Staff

On a recent trip a recent trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan, Chancellor Albert Carnesale highlighted in talks with top officials, alumni, donors and friends UCLA's strong ties to Asia and the Pacific Rim and the university's hope for future cooperative ventures. It was the chancellor's first trip to Asia as UCLA's chief executive, although Carnesale has been a familiar face from previous visits while at Harvard University and as a consultant on foreign and defense policy. 

Discussions with officials ranged widely, from educational reform and UCLA's leadership role in technological innovation to admissions criteria for international students.

     "It's gratifying to know that so many people around the world have such strong affection for UCLA," Carnesale said. "Everywhere we went in Hong Kong and Taiwan, we received a warm welcome and found that UCLA is well-represented by dedicated and accomplished alumni and friends."

     While in Taiwan, the chancellor spent more than an hour in talks with the president, Lee Teng-hui. Carnesale was accompanied on the six-day Asia trip by College of Letters and Science Provost Brian Copenhaver, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs Michael Eicher and Director of International Development Judith Ecklund. The group also met with Foreign Minister Jason Hu and Premier Vincent Siew and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs North America Department Director General Shen Lyu-Shun, a Bruin parent, as well as  the mayor of Taipei, Ma Ying-jeou.

     In Hong Kong, Carnesale discussed, among other topics, the evolution of a new constitution for Hong Kong with the Honorable Mrs. Anson Chan, chief secretary for administration and the second-highest ranking official in Hong Kong's Special Administrative Region Government. UCLA leaders also met with high-ranking officials in higher education.

     Copenhaver, who travels regularly to Asia on behalf of UCLA, said the trip "was the most effective and best organized that I've experienced."

     The UCLA group arrived in Hong Kong on May 9, two days after NATO planes accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, triggering stormy protests in mainland cities. Peaceful candlelight demonstrations took place outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong.

     "It was a hot topic," Ecklund said. "Everybody asked what we thought of the bombing. The chancellor asked people how they saw it and what they felt. And people responded thoughtfully. It turned out to be an interesting time to be there."

     Ecklund said the group was asked repeatedly on the trip what UCLA is doing in Hong Kong and Taiwan. UCLA has strong relations with university officials and faculty, business leaders, government officials, foundations and — most important — with active and growing alumni groups there.

     While the number of UCLA graduates living in Hong Kong has tripled from 100 in 1992 to more than 300 today, those living in Taiwan have jumped from 75 in 1992 to more than 400. In the last school year alone, 300 students from Hong Kong and about 800 from Taiwan attended UCLA.

      UCLA programs with strong ties to Asia and the Pacific Rim include the Chinese Studies Program, the UCLA Center for Pacific Rim Studies, the USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center and the Center for Korean Studies. [Ed.: Today, UCLA has the Asia Institute with its six member centers (Buddhism, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and Comparative and Interdisciplinary Research on Asia) and two interdepartmental degree programs (East Asian Studies and Southeast Asian Studies).]