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UCR was honored to host two senior leaders from the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), Dr. Christopher Tremewan, secretary general, and Sherman Cheng, chief financial officer. APRU membership includes 60 leading universities from 19 economies across the Pacific Rim region. UCR joined APRU in winter 2020.
The pandemic effectively shut down international travel for two years. But now that the vaccine is more widely available and travel restrictions are easing, mobility across borders is steadily increasing. For APRU leaders, it meant an opportunity to visit their U.S. partner institutions up and down the Pacific coast. Tremewan and Cheng chose to start their tour of U.S. partner institutions at UCR. They first met with several campus leaders including chancellor Kim Wilcox, Mariam Lam, vice chancellor and chief diversity officer, Rudolfo Torres, vice chancellor for research and economic development, and Marko Princevac, vice provost of International Affairs (VPIA).
After a short tour of campus with VPIA Princevac, Tremewan and Cheng discussed collaborative opportunities for new programs with campus leaders Ken Baerenklau, associate provost, Jun Wang, assistant provost, Annette Webb, associate dean of Academic Affairs at UC Riverside Extension, and Shanon Langlie, director of marketing & communications for International Affairs. A variety of topics were explored as potential areas of collaboration including co-teaching COIL courses, expanding innovation and entrepreneurship training, international virtual student exchange opportunities for domestic students who are also working professionals, scholar research exchange opportunities, e-sports, and climate research.
In their meeting, Tremewan outlined ways that APRU is looking to expand their role as a network in order to connect institutions and amplify the work of each organization, especially when the network focuses on key issues that impact the entire pacific rim region. “Sustaining relationships is important and can be challenging in our current geopolitical climate,” said Tremewan.
Before closing out their visit, both Tremewan and Cheng remarked on the beautiful, scenic landscape of the UCR campus, which naturally led to a deeper conversation on climate related research and how a number of universities in APRU are working on pieces of the puzzle. As APRU institutions engage in substantial research that identifies positive actions to address climate change, the network itself has an opportunity to provide a neutral platform for policy discussions across the Pacific Rim region.
For UCR students and faculty, the opportunities to connect and collaborate on research with APRU member institutions are full of potential and leveraging resources across institutions can significantly increase UCR’s impact on California and the rest of the Pacific Rim region.