GMU sets gaze on East: Mason explores partnership with South Korea

by   Posted on April 26th, 2010 in Uncategorized

By Rashad Mulla, Staff Writer

George Mason University is seeking to build relationships beyond its established boundaries.

Within the last four years, Mason officials have contacted a number of universities in South Korea to explore the possibilities of setting up partnerships there. Already, Mason has recruited a number of Korean undergraduate students through admissions trips.

And in October 2009, the School of Art hosted a delegation from Kyonggi University, based in Suwon.

According to Provost Peter Stearns, the big project — still in its exploration stages — is a potential international education center in the
Incheon Free Economic Zone, directly west of Seoul. Mason officials are exploring whether such a plan is feasible, Stearns said.

“We have funded a formal feasibility study to see if conditions will allow us to set up operation[s] there,” he said. “This is a strong interest, but it is not yet a commitment. Lots of questions still need to be answered, but we’d love to do this if the conditions warrant it.”

In January, Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen (D-34th) introduced Senate Bill No. 712, which authorizes the exploration of the Incheon process.

“This partnership will establish a long-term alliance between GMU and South Korea, and effectively have a positive economic impact in Virginia,” Petersen said in a press release.

Stearns said the Incheon project is not set in stone, and still may not happen, but Mason is taking all the necessary precautions to make sure such a partnership can exist without deducting funds from the Fairfax campus.

“This has to be revenue-neutral,” Stearns said. “We would not and we cannot use tuition money or state money here to pay for things over there.”



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