This week in brief

Monday, January 21
6:30 PM – HS Honor Band Festival Concert
Centennial Hall

7:00 PM – The Story of You: A Journal-Making Workshop
Library, 2nd floor, South End

Tuesday, January 22
8:00 – 9:00 AM – Walk-in hour in the dean’s office

10:45 AM – Student Recital
Wallenberg Hall

11:30 – 11:50 AM – Reflections – Dave Elliott, ‘08
Ascension Chapel – Founders Hall

3:45 – 5:00 PM - Year of the Book "Book Studies" lecture series
Tredway Library, 2nd floor, south end

8:00 PM – Faculty Recital – Jemmie Robertson
Wallenberg Hall

Wednesday, January 23
7:00 PM – "Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues"
Sister Helen Prejean
Wallenberg Hall

7:30 PM – Visiting Guest Speaker – Dr. Margaret Morse
Larson Hall
Followed by Art Museum Reception

Thursday, January 24
10:30 – 11:20 AM – Convocation – Sister Helen Prejean
Centennial Hall

Friday, January 25
3:30 PM – Friday Conversations –Dan Corts and Esteban Loustaunau
Wilson Center

4:00 PM – JoEllen Scharer, R.N., Ph.D., President Emeritus, Trinity College of Nursing
Science 102

Saturday, January 26
No events scheduled.

Sunday, January 27
No events scheduled.

















Volume 5, Issue 16• January 21, 2008


Connections: Linking with Our Past to Help Us at Present and
Enriching the Students' Futures

– Norm Moline, Edward Hamming Professor of Geography

This fall's East Asian Fall Term was the thirteenth since that first Asian program in 1974. Five classes were offered (art, economics, history, sociology and the cross-disciplinary Seminar in East Asian Cultures) by professors Ma, Ericson, Symons, Smith, Shearer and Moline respectively. We visited nineteen cities, some for two-week stays, some for only a day: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Matsuyama and Tokyo, Japan; Taipei and Keelung, Taiwan; Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Guilin, Wuhan, Suzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an, Yan'an, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Chengde and Beijing, China, and Honolulu, Hawaii. In addition to the classes, sixty-two special group events were scheduled for afternoons, evenings or non-class days.

In trying to capture some sense of this program in a few words, I believe the word “connections” fits: mental connections with East Asia for students as their worldviews expanded in ways which should inform the rest of their lives and institutional and personal connections which enabled some events to occur.

Some examples of new “mental connections” for the students are the following:

With expanded understanding of these and many other issues, the East Asian term students now have new connections with what's happening in the larger world around them.

In a different context, we are grateful for the benefits we receive now as a result of the institutional and personal connections that have evolved with individuals and agencies within the region over the past thirty-three years. In Japanese and Chinese cultures “old friends” mean a great deal. Individuals and institutions which pay attention to these cultures for a long period of time become worthy of special attention. Our connections with Japan Air Lines, the Asai family at the Higashiyama Youth Hostel in Kyoto , the Yoyogi National Olympic Center in Tokyo , the national government and government-run national youth centers in Taiwan , and the YWCA Guest House in Hong Kong yield wonderful benefits in reduced costs, special services and personal friendships. Likewise, our reputation as the first U.S. college or university group of students allowed into the People's Republic of China in 1977 after it began to “open its doors” and an institution which has continued to bring students even in some difficult years has qualified us to be considered “old friends” and, accordingly, yields valuable benefits.

One example illustrates the values of institutional and personal connections. We always time our visit to Taiwan to be at the time of October 10 (“Double Ten”), the national holiday celebrating the origin of the Republic of China. Beginning in 1989 and continuing to the present, I have been able to secure seats for the morning event, complete with special invitations, hats and badges, for our entire group in the honored guests section adjacent to the Presidential Building. Our eighty-five seats represent about one-sixth of the seats available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This year each member of our group also received an individualized invitation to the special afternoon reception for domestic and foreign dignitaries and leading business executives at the government state house. Dressed in the best clothing brought along on the trip, we were being greeted at the door by the official national hosts when we were asked to step aside a few feet for the President of Taiwan, Chen Shuibian! For the next two hours in the hallways and rooms of the magnificent late Victorian building and the large inner garden, we were treated to a complete array of delicious Chinese, other Asian and Western food and drinks, a string ensemble, folk music groups, acrobatic performances, conversations with other guests and dignitaries, including the colorfully dressed African heads of state. As spotlights on the building and small lights along the garden paths came on to add even more fantasy to the atmosphere, many of us speculated ‘why were we, mere students and faculty from small Augustana College, at this event, one of the most impressive receptions we will experience in a lifetime?' Students and colleagues said that I must have used my “magic” to get these invitations for our group. While I did work hard for these special privileges on Double Ten, instead of “magic” I would say connections. We want students to understand and enjoy that country with its version of Chinese culture just as we want them to enjoy and learn about the People's Republic of China across the Taiwan Straits. By sustaining this interest for thirty-three years and by maintaining regular contacts with foreign affairs officials at its Chicago office between our programs, I have shown the Taiwan government that we value our connection with that country as we do with Japan , Hong Kong and China . Recognizing and rewarding this commitment, that government seeks to expand the connection by treating us as special guests for the 10-10 celebration every three years.

These examples and countless others almost daily for our three months in East Asia illustrate in various ways the values of (a) mental connections for the futures of these students as they link these 2007 experiences to subsequent international events and personal adventures and (b) connections with Augustana's institutional history in the region which bring special benefits to our programs. It is a privilege to be a co-director of this program!


Please send suggested essays to share through the newsletter to Mary Koski