Global Conference Draws Hundreds in Korea
At the official welcome reception and dinner of the 2013 USC Global Conference, hundreds of USC alumni and leaders gathered at the Grand Hyatt in the Namsan-dong neighborhood of Seoul, as the sounds of traditional Jungjin Samulnori drums filled the halls. The evening kicked off a 3-day exploration of USC connections to Korea and the Asia Pacific region, beginning with a welcome and update from the university’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Elizabeth Garrett.
“It is hard to imagine a more dynamic place to hold this year’s conference than Seoul,” said Garrett, “Like Los Angeles, the people of this city have embraced transformation and flexibility toward that which is relevant and useful in modern contexts. Seoul has evolved as a result of bold thinking and the can-do spirit of its people – people who maximize nearby resources and integrate their rich cultural heritage with entrepreneurial vision.”
Garrett updated attendees on some of the many recent developments involving global programs, including the World Bachelor’s in Business offered through the USC Marshall School of Business and the global executive Ed.D. offered by the USC Rossier School of Education. She also gave an update on the inaugural group of USC International Artists Fellows—a distinguished group of scholar-artists that include a playwright from China, a guitarist from Russia, an animator from Brazil, and a visual artist from Mexico—who will join the university in fall of 2013.
She also acknowledged the co-chair of the event, USC Trustee Y.H. Cho, who is the chairman and CEO of Korean Air and chairman of the Hanjin Group; as well as the many other distinguished guests in attendance.
A highlight of the evening was a special citation given to Korean alumnus Young-Hoon Kang, who served as a groundbreaking political leader for the Republic of Korea as a member of its National Congress and as prime minister from 1988 to 1990, during which time he oversaw his nation’s transformative transition from military rule to a modern democracy. Kang, accompanied to the stage by his son and daughter-in-law, was visibly moved the the acknowledgment by his alma mater, delivered by USC President C. L. Max Nikias. As he stood to receive his honor, the crowd rose to a standing ovation, led by Mrs. Niki C. Nikias.
After an evening full of renewing old acquaintances and forging new friendships, the event came to a close with beautiful renditions of opera classics, sung by two Thornton opera alumni, soprano Juhye Kim and tenor Sungwook Kim, both originally from Korea.