University President Steven Knapp and his wife Diane returned from Asia last Monday where they spent more than a week meeting with alumni.
The pair made stops in Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok, Thailand, as part of an ongoing effort by the president to strengthen connections with alumni. For many GW graduates, the University’s D.C. location served as a springboard for careers abroad, but Knapp has said he wants to make sure physical distance from their alma mater does not weaken their ties to the college.
“The trip was inspired by the president’s vision to develop and engage the GW global and lifelong community,” said Laurel Price Jones, vice president for development and alumni relations. “The goal is to create alumni clubs that will increase GW presence and engagement in Tokyo, Bangkok and Singapore.”
It was Knapp’s second trip to Asia, which is home to more than half of GW’s international alumni.
Starting in Tokyo, Knapp met with Hirofumi Nakasone, Japanese minister of foreign affairs and Iwao Matsuda, member of the House of Councilors and president of the Judges Impeachment Court. He held several informal meetings with alumni and spoke at a Nov. 7 banquet for members of the GW community in the area.
In Bangkok, Knapp was the distinguished guest at an event co-hosted by the Thailand-United States Educational Foundation and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization’s Regional Center for Higher Education and Development. As in Tokyo, Knapp held a banquet for area alumni, parents and philanthropic contributors.
Knapp’s last stop was in Singapore, where he and Elliott School Dean Michael Brown attended a special event sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce-Singapore called “Foreign Policy Priorities for the Next U.S. President.” Knapp and Brown then met with graduate students who participated in GW’s Singapore program.
He also met informally with alumni to discuss starting up a Singapore-based alumni association. One of these alumni, Jason Moran, said he enjoyed the visit.
“I attended because I really wished to meet other alumni in the area,” he said. “(Knapp) pitched the University and threw out a number of great statistics on student body demographics, GW’s great location, new initiatives being started, new faculty being hired and new programs launched. We watched a nice little film too.”
Alumnus Ravi Alfreds attended a Nov. 13 banquet in Singapore where Knapp was a guest.
Alfreds said, “President Knapp spoke about developments to the University, as well as shared the plans and goals in connecting the alumni with the University and with each other.”