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Hong Kong inaugural meeting of Asian alumni sows seeds for expanded club efforts

Leaders of Cornell Clubs throughout Asia met with each other for the first time at the inaugural Cornell Asia Leadership Conference, March 17-18, in Hong Kong.

The more than two dozen alumni gathered to explore strategies to increase Cornell's prominence in Asia, strengthen Asian alumni participation in Cornell affairs and explore joint Asian initiatives and activities. The members hailed from cities across the region, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai and Bangalore.

The conference was organized by Mark Yuan, Hotel '96, and Stanley Sun, Hotel '00, JGSM '05, both of Hong Kong; they were joined in their sponsorship of the event by Bobby Tsai, past chairman of the International Programs Committee of the Cornell Council, and Martin Tang, a Cornell trustee.

Participants suggested ways to step up their club activities and increase involvement in the life of the university. "Alumni Affairs and Development is committed to reviewing these ideas and assisting the efforts of alumni volunteers in Asia," said Charles Phlegar, vice president for alumni affairs and development, who attended the event.

Alumni discussed how to affiliate events at Cornell Hotel Society and Johnson School alumni chapters with the Cornell Clubs. They also heard from members of the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN) in Hong Kong, who discussed their efforts to recruit superior undergraduate applicants, and brainstormed on how to strengthen "pride in Cornell."

"The group is also eager to host and hear from faculty who travel to their regions, so they can maintain intellectual ties with the university," said Banoo Parpia, director of International Alumni Affairs and Development, who also attended the event.

During the conference Tang shared his personal experiences as a student and leader and explained why he volunteers for Cornell.

Said Parpia of Tang's work: "His pioneering efforts and initiative have not only helped shape and organize Cornell activities in Hong Kong and Asia, but his commitment helps foster a conducive environment that helps nurture and groom the next generation to assume leadership and take activities forward in the region."

By meeting each other for the first time, participants were inspired to intensify their alumni networking efforts, Parpia said, adding that the event "has ushered in a new era for Cornell-Asia linkages and partnerships."

This first conference with Cornell's alumni leaders in Asia is "a significant step toward Cornell's continued and growing multifaceted international presence," she said.

-- Written by Susan S. Lang from reporting provided by Banoo Parpia.

Recent Cornell club events

Cornell Clubs throughout Asia sponsor a variety of social, educational and networking events. At the recent Cornell Asia Leadership Conference, Cornell Clubs reported on their activities. Highlights from each region include:

Other countries in Asia where Cornell alumni are based include the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Leaders from these countries were unable to attend the conference but continue to be engaged, said Parpia.

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