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IUPUI delegation visits Malaysia

January 24, 2017

Members of the Yong family with the IUPUI delegation only moments after they exit from the 2+ mile tram ride up the mountain.
Members of the Yong family with the IUPUI delegation moments after they exited from the 2-plus-mile tram ride up the mountain.

IUPUI delegation begins visit in Malaysia

After traveling for up to 33 hours and over 11,000 miles, the IUPUI delegation to Malaysia arrived in Kuala Lumpur to begin visits with Malaysian universities, IUPUI alumni and future Jaguars.

The goals:

  • To strengthen existing partnerships and forge foundations for new ones.
  • To recognize the success of our outstanding IUPUI alumni in Malaysia.

Delegation members:

  • Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar
  • Dean David Russomanno, School of Engineering and Technology
  • Assistant Vice Chancellor Gil Latz, Office of International Affairs
  • Professor Ali Jafari, School of Engineering and Technology
  • Tim Diemer, director of international services, School of Engineering and Technology
  • Becky Wood, assistant to the chancellor for communications

The Yong family graciously hosted the delegation for afternoon brunch and an outing in the Genting Highlands. The Yongs' three children -- Tzen Wae, Sien Wae and Mien Dee -- all graduated from IUPUI. Tzen Wae and Sien Wae studied in the School of Engineering and Technology, and Mien Dee studied finance at Kelley Indy and went on for her master’s in management information systems at Kelley in Bloomington. Mien Dee shared her excitement about receiving an IU Tried & True mailing from the alumni association.

The day was filled with the incredible beauty of the Titiwangsa Mountains, including a tram ride into skies so clear that Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, about 32 miles to the southwest, were visible.

Even with those wonders, nothing could surpass the hospitality of every member of the Yong family from Mr. and Mrs. Yong, who generously opened their lovely home to our group.

This evening the IUPUI delegation hosted a special dinner for Tan Sri Ahmed Tajuddin, pro vice chancellor of Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN); Datuk Professor Dr. Shahrin Bin Sahib, vice chancellor and president of Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka and graduate of IUPUI; and Dato’ Shaari Md Nor, director of the Tenaga Foundation, among other important guests.

Tomorrow, the IUPUI delegation will be visiting UNITEN and talking with Malaysian students there who will be coming to IUPUI to study engineering.

Watch for the update tomorrow.

Dr. Palanisamy shares a laugh with the IUPUI delegation during the visit to UNITEN
Kumaran Palanisamy shares a laugh with the IUPUI delegation during the visit to UNITEN.

IUPUI delegation visits UNITEN, a long-time educational partner

Picture this: Traffic at a standstill in one direction, but barely tapping the brakes going the other. This was the road to Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) this morning, and the IUPUI delegation was traveling in the right direction, barely needing the brakes on the way to UNITEN. When Chancellor Paydar first visited the campus in the mid-1990s, it had only one building. It appeared little changed on this visit. But the rest of the campus has unfolded like a beautiful flower. In fact, one colleague there mentioned that they had modeled the architecture on buildings at IUPUI.

A surprise to some, this statement finds its roots in the partnership between UNITEN and IUPUI that dates back to UNITEN’s earliest days as a campus. IUPUI helped shape curriculum there, has hosted hundreds of UNITEN students over the years and has advised on information technology infrastructure. In fact, professor Ali Jafari, who helped build UNITEN’s first network infrastructure, said he knows where everything is hidden on their campus.

One of the highlights of the visit was an impromptu reunion between Chancellor Paydar and his former student Kumaran Palanisamy, who is now an associate professor and director of the Institute of Sustainable Energy at UNITEN, similar to the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at IUPUI. The chancellor joked that he had brought some of Kumaran's old tests to share and discuss.

In all seriousness, Dr. Palanisamy was very interested in the possibility of partnering with IUPUI on renewable energy research. In addition, graduate education, study abroad programs and something else very interesting were discussed as ways of extending and strengthening the partnership between our universities.

IUPUI delegation to Malaysia meets with IUPUI, IU Bloomington alumni

Monday evening (Jan. 16) found the IUPUI delegation to Malaysia at the beautiful Royale Chulan Hotel. A curving, wide marble staircase took us to the second floor, where 25 to 30 alumni from IUPUI and IU Bloomington welcomed us to an incredible evening of memories, laughter and conversation. It was a little bit of the Hoosier State right here in Kuala Lumpur, and we were grateful to be embraced so warmly by the Malaysia Chapter of the IU Alumni Association.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended, but special thanks go to Roslan Shafei, president of the Malaysia Chapter of the IUAA, and to Mien Dee Yong, who did so much to make this evening a warm and inviting reminder of our alma mater.

Below are a few memories from the evening.

Mien Dee Yong and Roslan Shafei with Chancellor Paydar.
Mien Dee Yong and Roslan Shafei with Chancellor Paydar.

Roslan presents Chancellor Paydar with a gift on behalf of the Malaysian Chapter of the IUAA
Roslan Shafei presents Chancellor Paydar with a gift on behalf of the Malaysia Chapter of the IUAA.

Guests enjoy chatting over dessert.
Guests enjoy chatting over dessert.

Dean Russomanno, Dr. Jafari, and Chancellor Paydar pose with IUPUI Engineering & Technology alumni.
Dean Russomanno, Ali Jafari and Chancellor Paydar pose with IUPUI Engineering & Technology alumni.

IUPUI delegation begins day with Ministry of Education meeting and ends day with a work of art on a plate

With arms across their chests, the IUPUI delegation joins colleagues at the Ministry of Education Community College Division in signaling the ministry’s 'soaring upward' goal.
With arms across their chests, the IUPUI delegation joins colleagues at the Ministry of Education Community College Division in signaling the ministry’s "soaring upward" goal.

Did a little rain in the afternoon dampen the spirits of the IUPUI delegation in Malaysia? Not one bit. From the morning at the Ministry of Education Community College Division to the afternoon with Datuk Professor Asma Ismail, vice chancellor at Universiti Sains Malaysia, to the evening with the Yong family, the IUPUI delegation took the rain in stride.

The first meeting took place at the Ministry of Education in Putrajaya. If you are trying to envision the city, imagine if Washington, D.C., had been built about 20 years ago, so you have buildings that reflect the dignity and solidity of those in D.C. but with modern twists. The meeting was a productive exchange of ideas about the future of IUPUI partnerships in Malaysia, with a specific focus on engineering and technology graduates and online education.

Chancellor Paydar with Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail, and Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly.
Chancellor Paydar with Datuk Professor Dr. Asma Ismail and Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly.

Later in the day, members of the delegation met with Datuk Professor Asma. In addition to her position as vice chancellor of USM, she serves as president of the Malaysian National Academy of Sciences. She graduated from Indiana University in the 1980s, and in her role as vice chancellor, she is exploring opportunities for partnerships, including post-doc exchanges and collaborative programs in multiple disciplines.

Chancellor Paydar has a chance to spend time with Wae Yong, another of his former students from Malaysia.
Chancellor Paydar has a chance to spend time with Wae Yong, another of his former students from Malaysia.

At the start of the meeting, we were fortunate that Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly happened to be in the same meeting location, and he joined us briefly for a quick chat. Shazalli graduated from IU in the 1980s as well, and now he serves as regional CEO (Southeast Asia region) with Axiata, one of Asia’s largest telecommunications groups.

This evening, the IUPUI delegation hosted the Yong family at Fukuya restaurant. Fukuya, which translates into "house of happiness," lived up to its name. With breathtaking presentations, each dish deserved a pedestal and a prize spot in an exhibition of food.

After pausing to admire, we dug right in. The conversation was especially lively, ranging from the delicate process of making homemade rice wine to qualities of the best Cuban cigars to fuzzy logic. Punctuation marks throughout the evening: laughter from everyone at the table.

The Yong family joins members of the IUPUI delegation for an evening to thank the family for all that they have done and to congratulate the Yong children on their history as IUPUI Jaguars. Go Jags!
The Yong family joins members of the IUPUI delegation for an evening to thank the family for all that they have done and to congratulate the Yong children on their history as IUPUI Jaguars. Go Jags!

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