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Chapter 28: A Pacific Rim State
California, with its huge economy, its fast-growing multiethnic population, and its key location on a chain of nations stretching from Chile to Japan, was rapidly establishing itself as an international leader on the Pacific Rim. During the 1980s, the state was a favored destination for immigrants from the Pacific Rim, especially Mexico and Asia. Throughout much of the decade, California's annual population growth mounted to almost 600,000—the equivalent of the entire population of the state of Delaware.
Gardner saw the University as central to California's ability to realize its potential as a Pacific Rim state. Accordingly, under his leadership the University began a series of major initiatives to direct more of its teaching, research, and public service activities to helping California consolidate its leadership in the region.
UC's Education Abroad Program (EAP), focused predominantly on the nations of Europe since the establishment of its first study center at the University of Bordeaux in 1962, doubled the number of foreign institutions at which undergraduates could choose to study. Many of the new study centers were located in Pacific Rim countries such as Korea and the Philippines. Research burgeoned on issues related to Mexico, Central and Latin America, and Asia.
Among the most exciting of the Pacific Rim initiatives was UC San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS). At the time of its founding in 1986, IR/PS was the first new professional school established at the University of California in two decades. The school is unique among American international relations programs in its emphasis on the business, economics, and politics of the Pacific Rim. It quickly gained recognition for the excellence of its faculty and programs, and today it is internationally known for its research on the Asia-Pacific region and its role in educating professionals skilled in the culture and commerce of this vital area of the world.
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Last updated 09/29/05.