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Engage Locally, Nationally and Globally: Penn Visits East Asia, 2011

Penn Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Seoul National University

Penn Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Seoul National University

Penn President Amy Gutmann traveled to East Asia the week of May 23, 2011, formalizing two academic partnerships, hosting alumni gatherings in Korea and Taiwan, and announcing alumni gifts to Penn’s Korean Studies Program. Gutmann was joined by faculty and leadership from the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Law.

China 2011

President Oh and President Gutmann

On May 23, Gutmann and Seoul National University (SNU) President Yeon-Cheon Oh signed a memorandum of understanding between their two universities. SNU is Korea’s oldest national university and one of its most eminent.

At the signing ceremony, Presidents Gutmann and Oh were joined by Deans Rebecca Bushnell from the School of Arts and Sciences and Denis Kinane from the School of Dental Medicine. The memorandum of understanding will facilitate further collaborative research projects and other academic activities between the two universities, including a revived Penn-in-Seoul program for 20 Penn students beginning this July.

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After the signing, Penn and SNU faculty participated in an on-campus symposium titled “Korea: From Historical and International Perspectives,” with Dean Bushnell and faculty members Jacques deLisle, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, Director of the Center for East Asian Studies, and Eugene Y. Park, Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History and Director of the Korean Studies Program.

China 2011

John Kim, C’92, WG’04 at the Penn alumni reception in Seoul

On Monday night, Gutmann announced two gifts to Penn’s Korean Studies Program at a gathering of nearly 300 Penn alumni in Seoul. Alumnus James Joo-Jin Kim (W'59, G'61, GR'63) gave $6 million to the Korean Studies Program, which will be renamed the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies, and an anonymous alumnus gave $1.5 million to establish a post-doctoral fellowship in Korean Studies. Kim’s wife Agnes and son John (C ’92, W’04) attended the event.

“Because the Republic of Korea is such an important global presence, I am especially pleased to be able to announce this gift in Seoul,” said Gutmann. “Joo-Jin Kim's generosity will enable us to expose an even wider community of students to Korea— by weaving an understanding and appreciation of the country into the fabric of academic life at Penn.”

Korea represents the third-largest country of origin for international students at Penn—comprising roughly 11 percent of all international students at the University. 1,132 alumni currently reside in Korea, and Penn had 543 graduate and undergraduate students from there in 2010-11.

On May 24, faculty from Penn’s School of Dental Medicine participated in the Penn Global Oral Health Symposium at SNU. Dean Denis Kinane and professors Syngcuk Kim, Dana Graves, Yan Yuan, Alisa Kauffman and Kelly Jordan-Sciutto took part in sessions on public and oral health.

On May 25, Gutmann hosted Penn’s first all-alumni gathering in Taipei, attended by more than 200 guests. Penn has formal relationships with seven institutions of higher learning in Taiwan, with 1,104 alumni there, and 115 students from the island nation were enrolled at Penn last year.

China 2011

Penn President Amy Gutmann with Charles Huang, C'77, WG'79 and Wellington Chow, club president at Taipei Alumni Dinner

“Penn and Taiwan have a long history of friendship and intellectual exchange,” said Gutmann at the event. “We look forward to expanding the scope of these mutually beneficial relationships in the years to come.”

At the end of the week, Penn announced an agreement with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing to develop a joint Center of Excellence in Brain Mapping for the purpose of collaborative research and education in neuroimaging. Gutmann and CAS Vice President Li Jiayang also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a cooperative research relationship and facilitate academic exchange between the two institutions.

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As part of the current agreement, researchers and scientists from Penn and the Institute of Biophysics (part of the CAS) will develop a center to advance the application of neuroimaging as well as basic science studies for detection, characterization, diagnosis, and image-guided treatment of brain diseases affecting people around the world.

"These agreements recognize a fundamental truth, and one that helps guide all of our work at Penn: the importance of academic and global partnerships," said Gutmann in her remarks. "We know that the most challenging questions, concerns, and problems of our time can only be addressed by integrating knowledge from different disciplines, fields, perspectives, institutions—and nations."

China 2011

President Gutmann with Penn faculty participants in brain mapping symposium

After the signing ceremony, faculty from the two institutions joined researchers and administrators for a symposium on neuroimaging to highlight the range of problems and methods represented by the CAS-Penn Center of Excellence in Brain Mapping, including cognitive and systems neuroscience, criminology and neuroscience, computational anatomy and physiology, and clinical and translational neurosciences.

Several Penn faculty members from the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences presented their research at the symposium, including Jim Gee, associate professor of radiologic science in radiology and director of the Penn Image Computing and Science Laboratory; Geoffrey Aguirre, assistant professor of neurology; Adrian Raine, Richard Perry University Professor and chair of the department of criminology; and Sharon Thompson-Schill, Class of 1965 Term Professor and interim director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

The foundational research of Penn neuroscientist, physician, and Lasker Award winner Seymour Kety published in 1945 on cerebral blood flow is widely seen as enabling functional brain imaging, a field which has since revolutionized the study of mental, cognitive and emotional processes. Today, Penn's neuroimaging program is recognized not only for its continued development of novel approaches for image acquisition and analysis, but also for its clinical neuroimaging programs translating these discoveries into applications that promote human health.

Read more stories about how Penn is Engaging Globally