Students + Campus

UCLA hosts global forums to strengthen ties in Asia

The inaugural UCLA Global Forums offered alumni, parents and students living in East Asia a chance to hear from campus leaders

UCLA Global Forum in Tokyo

Alumni, parents, students and friends of the university gathered at the UCLA Global Forum in Tokyo to network, hear from campus leaders and do a spirited eight-clap together.

Three inaugural UCLA Global Forums held last month in Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo offered UCLA alumni, parents, students and supporters living in East Asia a chance to network, hear from campus leaders and discuss issues of fundamental importance to their lives. Among those speaking at these gatherings were Chancellor Gene Block, who updated attendees on the state of the university and plans for the future, and Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement Cindy Fan.

Building on the momentum created by the opening of the UCLA Asia Office last summer in Hong Kong, the forums invigorated new and established networks of Bruins and university friends across East Asia.

“We live in a global world that faces global challenges,” Block said. “UCLA is committed to forging meaningful links among countries and academic disciplines in order to bring the world’s top minds to bear on those challenges. Attending these events not only strengthens our alumni’s ties to UCLA and their fellow Bruins, it provides UCLA leaders and faculty a view of how colleagues and experts in other countries are addressing the same issues.”

A panel at the UCLA Global Forum in Tapei included Vice Provost Cindy Fan (from the left), Frank Chang, Lillian Lih-Rong Wang, Alice H. Chang and Chancellor Gene Block.

The forums drew many established professionals as well as newly minted graduates and helped strengthen extended UCLA “families” in the region.

“These Global Forums are invaluable for UCLA,” Fan said. “Our international alumni and supporters play a crucial role in helping us maintain and identify effective research and education partnerships overseas. They also assist us in recruiting stellar students and visiting faculty, as well as building a global UCLA community.”

Forum panel discussions featured high-ranking university officials, alumni, CEOs, academics, senior government officials and health experts across Asia — together with UCLA faculty — who engaged participants in lively discussions on a wide range of topics. Among the panelists were Frank Chang, Distinguished Professor at UCLA, Wintek Chair in Electrical Engineering and president-designate of National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan; Dr. Walton Li, founder and head of the ophthalmology department at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, an alumnus and a longtime supporter of UCLA; and Christine Loh, undersecretary for the environment in the Hong Kong government.

Those attending the UCLA Global Forum in Hong Kong on June 19 heard a discussion centered on medical education and environmental issues. In Taipei on June 21, speakers addressed entrepreneurship, higher education and social research. 

And in Tokyo on June 24, panelists discussed international law, business and politics. Home to the largest number of UCLA international graduates, Japan has an active alumni association that dates back decades. At the forum, one alumnus, Yoshihiko Arai, class of 1962, proudly produced his original UCLA alumni card from 1976. 

Several alumni and attendees expressed their delight about being able to maintain close links with UCLA and its leaders.

“I am inspired by Chancellor Block’s commitment to Asia and his vision for UCLA, supported by a great team of leaders,” said Steven Pan, chairman of the FIH Regent Group. 

Mark Huang, who earned a Ph.D. in 1983 in electrical engineering at UCLA and is chairman and CEO of Alfaplus Semiconductor Inc. as well as a UCLA alumni leader in Taiwan, said, “We are part of the UCLA ‘extended team’ and are happy to be involved in this meaningful endeavor.”

Martin Matsui, who earned an M.B.A. in 1987 from UCLA and is now head of external managers at Hong Kong Monetary Authority, comes from a Bruin family. Not only did his father receive an honorary UCLA degree, but his mother, sister, brother-in-law and two cousins are all UCLA graduates.

“In many ways, a university is like a delicate hothouse flower which needs to be tended and nurtured in special ways,” Matsui said. “‘Il faut cultiver son jardin,’” he said, quoting Voltaire, meaning “You must tend to your garden.” Matsui then said, “Chancellor Block seems like the right gardener-in-charge.”

This story was condensed from a longer one posted on the UCLA International Institute website, which includes pictures of the events.

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