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President Brodhead visits Duke sites across the globe

President Richard Brodhead left Durham June 24 to embark on a three-week international tour of Duke’s satellite locations on three continents.

His trip will take him to London, China, Singapore, Tanzania and Uganda, where he will attend alumni events, speak to current students and meet with academic partners. Brodhead noted that this visit will emphasize Duke’s global interconnectedness.

“I think there’s a way in which my travel helps to underline many of the faces of our international presence,” Brodhead said, calling the trip an “absolute immersion in Duke.”

Brodhead will advance the University’s priorities through reaching out to alumni and friends of Duke, visiting academic outposts and fundraising, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, who is accompanying Brodhead in London, China and Singapore.

Brodhead will meet with a number of potential donors, one of whom is expected to make a major contribution to Duke Kunshan University, Schoenfeld said. Details about that donation, including its size, are not ready to be released, he added.

He noted, however, that Brodhead will spend more time solidifying relationships than collecting money.

“It’s not like a celebrity auction—you don’t come back with checks,” Schoenfeld said. “But certainly a part of a trip like this is going to be developing new relationships with people who might be interested in supporting Duke.”

Schoenfeld noted that he expects international donations, which currently represent only a small part of Duke’s annual fundraising, to increase following this trip.

In China, Brodhead is expected to finalize research collaborations with Fudan University and Wuhan University. The Duke Global Health Institute will enter into partnerships with the two universities, said DGHI Director Dr. Michael Merson, who now also serves as interim vice president and vice provost for global strategy and programs. Greg Jones, who previously held that position, stepped down for health reasons in June. Merson will accompany Brodhead in China, Singapore and Africa.

“These agreements are important because they lead to education and engagement opportunities for Duke students and for faculty to undertake research that could not have happened in Durham alone,” Merson said.

After visiting universities and attending alumni events in China, Brodhead will travel to Singapore to speak to the first graduating class of Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, a partnership that was finalized soon after Brodhead became president in 2004. The success of Duke-NUS is an example of a thriving university partnership, Brodhead said.

The president will also speak to prospective students at the Raffles Institution, a high school in Singapore. Despite its distance from Durham, Raffles students submit the third highest number of Duke applications of any high school worldwide, Schoenfeld said.

Brodhead said he is also excited to visit current students, particularly undergraduates participating in DukeEngage in Tanzania.

Merson noted that Brodhead is the first Duke president to take an official visit to Africa. He said the global health programs in Uganda and Tanzania are the best places to see Duke’s core values of “interdisciplinarity, internationalization and knowledge and service to society”—and this trip is a great opportunity for the president to see the results of successful global projects.

“One cannot underestimate the value of meeting our partners on their own turf, and deepening the friendship, respect and understanding of one another,” Merson said.

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