Postcards to Oxford: Hello from East Asia
June 25, 2012
Frank Maddox, associate professor of economics, has just completed a trip to China and South Korea, as part of a faculty study trip sponsored by Emory University's Halle Institute. Here is his account of the experience:
I recently returned from a trip to China and South Korea as a member of the 2012 Halle Faculty Study Trip. The purpose of the trip was two-fold. First we hosted three receptions for students who will be attending Oxford and Emory Colleges this fall. I was taken with the excitement and eager anticipation these students expressed as each spoke briefly about his/her upcoming journey half-way around the globe to attend college. (In photo at right, Maddox gathers in Nanjing with 25 students who will attend Oxford College this fall. )
Second we joined faculty from Nanjing University for a day-long conference with each faculty presenting a paper on "the Politics of the Visual." This conference was the third forum of exchange between the Emory and Nanjing faculties.
Of course a major joy of the trip consisted of myriad interactions with the people of China and South Korea (and one North Korean military guard from a distance at the DMZ). Along the way we visited numerous sites I've wanted to see all my life. (At left Maddox and and Jongdae Kim, an Oxford alumnus who works with the Halle Institute, pose alongside a Republic of Korea soldier at the Korean Demilitarized Zone.)
In Beijing we traversed Tiananmen Square before touring the Forbidden City. That was followed by a tour of the Temple of Heaven (where Henry Kissinger visited for contemplation during his trips to China) and then a feast of Peking duck. We worked off the duck next day by climbing along the Great Wall. A morning at the Summer Palace helped us mellow out as we drifted the lake in our dragon boat.
I was taken with how cosmopolitan Seoul is as I took a midnight stroll from the Hotel to the palace--the streets and parks aglow with light anticipating Buddha's birthday while the chatter of young and old alike filled the evening air.
As an economist I was particularly taken with the investment miracle that is Shanghai. From my hotel window I could see at least 10 building sites of clusters of major high-rise office and residential complexes. Our excursion to the French Concession and the Bund enforced my suspicion that Shanghai with its population of over 23 million is rapidly challenging Hong Kong as China's premier financial/economic center.