Nov 30 2009

A Remarkable Trip

by at 3:35 pm

Well, I am back from trips to South Korea, and then after a brief interlude in DC, to Philadelphia to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I know this will sound like I’m gloating, but I must say the Eagles’ victory over the Redskins on Sunday made for a fine ending to a holiday weekend.

No, I did not try turkey with kimchee dressing…

South Korea is really remarkable, with a culture that is at once familiar and exotic. Perhaps my most interesting non-work experience was a tour of the demilitarized zone, and a chance to walk through one of the clandestine tunnels dug by North Korea to support a potential surprise attack. The tunnels are 6 x 6 feet, go about 1000 feet below ground and are pretty long. Being tall, I had to crouch my way through a few hundred meters of the so-called third tunnel, and must say that if I was one of the “attackers” they would have needed to have a stretcher and traction available for me when I exited the tunnel!

I had a chance to visit and speak at both the National Cancer Center and at Seoul National University, both of which are extremely impressive, though I spent more time in Cheonan, at Dankook University. The President of Dankook University and I discussed ways to help Dankook establish a cancer center in Cheonan, which (depending upon traffic and location in the province surrounding Cheonan) is anywhere from one to four hours away from Seoul; currently, everybody in that area (which contains well over 500,000 people) must travel to Seoul for therapy if they get a diagnosis of cancer. Even in countries as advanced as South Korea, so much work on the health care infrastructure remains to be done.

I am looking forward to this week; in particular, I’ll be attending a luncheon on Tuesday to thank the Lombardi Gala volunteers for their fabulous efforts to make the event such a wonderful success. I know I had a terrific time!

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Aug 28 2009

A quick trip to South Korea

by at 2:00 pm

Greetings from Washington, DC! I returned last night from a very interesting visit to Dankook University in South Korea, where I was accompanied by Craig Jordan, Al Fornace, Eliot Rosen, Priscilla Furth and Insoo Bae. Dankook is part of South Korea’s “World Class University” initiative, and we all participated in a “WCU” symposium held at Dankook. It was an interesting meeting, and South Korea was simply fascinating. Plus, the plane ride was so long that I had plenty of time to work on my CCSG site visit presentation.

I am looking forward to the mock site visit with our External Scientific Advisory Committee on September 9, and cannot wait for September 24 (the day after the site visit) to arrive.

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