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Indiana University


Director’s Letter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

June 2014

Letter from the Director

Dear EASC Friends and Supporters,

I began writing this introduction from my hotel room outside the gates of Tsinghua University, on May 24, just after a celebration commemorating the opening of IU's China Gateway Office. President Michael McRobbie and First Lady Laurie McRobbie were present at the opening ceremony, along with a number of other IU dignitaries, administrators, and alumni. An energetic lion dance captured the exuberance of the event.

The Gateway occupies prime real estate, tucked into a suite in one of the CERNET (China Internet) buildings in Tsinghua University Science Park. IU selected a superb location for the Gateway, near a subway stop just opposite Tsinghua University's south gate, not to mention a hop, skip and a jump from Tianchu Miaoxiang, my favorite Beijing vegetarian restaurant. Administered through the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the China Gateway will be directed by colleague and East Asian Studies stalwart supporter, Professor Scott Kennedy. The Research Center on Chinese Politics and Business new China office, also directed by Professor Kennedy, is located in the Gateway office.

The Gateway opening was the second stop on a longer "President's 2014 Asia trip," that included Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. Enjoy Ryan Piurek's blog capturing highlights of the trip ( The Gateway's opening represents a grand opportunity for East Asian Studies at Indiana University, and we encourage all of you to consider visiting on your next trip to China.

Meanwhile, back in Bloomington it has been a very busy few weeks, and I am delighted to report that our massive every-four-year application to the U.S. Department of Education for reauthorization as a Title VI National Resource Center for East Asian Studies is on the verge of submission. Once again, we requested Consortium funding with UIUC's Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies. For the 2014-2018 four- year cycle Title VI priorities require substantial cooperation with community colleges, minority serving institutions, and schools of education. We have prioritized such partnerships in our proposal, in addition to robust collaboration with other IU NRCs on joint projects. We hope to report success at the end of August. Keep your fingers crossed with us and stay tuned.

I always hope to end my introduction to the spring Newsletter with light-hearted wishes for a productive summer, congratulating your full-throttle engagement of June, July and August with awards and fellowships, research, study and travel. This time I end on a more somber note, yet still celebrating a life dedicated to Indiana University and East Asian Studies.

Many of you will already know that George Macklin Wilson, Director Emeritus of EASC and Professor Emeritus of History and East Asian Languages and Cultures, died June 21 after a long illness. George lived a scholarly life profoundly engaged in the study of East Asia, particularly Japan, and was, in all ways, a public scholar of extraordinary generosity and vision. George served as IU's first Dean for International Programs, was a founding member of the Japan-American Society of Indiana, and in 2003 was honored with the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government. I don't know how else to put this. George is simply beloved by the EASC community. You may get an inkling of why by reading our interview with George in the December 2013 issue of the EASC Newsletter. A lovely tribute to George is available in the June 22 issue of the Herald-Times and is printed in full elsewhere in this newsletter.

Finally, moved and inspired by George's outstanding efforts at bridging the world of East Asian Studies scholarship and community outreach, let me make a pitch for those of you staying close to home this summer. If you happen to be in Indianapolis with kids in tow, and like the sound of playing with clay or standing eye-to-belt buckle with a general sculpted during Emperor Qin's reign, check out the interactive China Terra Cotta Warriors and "Take me there: China" exhibits at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. EASC is collaborating with the Museum to provide funding for area K-12 teachers to participate in professional development opportunities associated with the exhibits.

Embrace the season,