Taiwan, U.S. Celebrate Fifty Years of Fulbright Academic Exchange Program in Taiwan
PR0772E | Date: 2007-11-30
AIT Director and Honorary Chairman of the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange Stephen M. Young hosted a gala dinner on November 30, 2007, to celebrate Fifty Years of Fulbright in Taiwan. Taiwan's Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Y. F. Chu, and former President of Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University Dr. William Mobley, himself a former Fulbright grantee in Taiwan, took part in the event.
"This program has created an immeasurable wealth of lasting impressions on over 2,000 participating scholars from both Taiwan and the United States of America, as well as the people with whom they have interacted," said Director Young.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and many partner organizations outside the United States, for decades the Fulbright program has increased mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and the rest of the world through the exchange of people, knowledge, and skills. Last year, the program awarded around 6,000 grants to students, teachers, professionals, and scholars to study, teach, lecture, and conduct research in the United States and for Americans to pursue similar programs outside the United States in over 150 countries.
In Taiwan, the Fulbright program is administered by the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (FSE). For 50 years, Taiwan's Fulbright program has been a pioneer in responding to professional needs emerging from the island's rapid economic and democratic development. As a result, many of Taiwan's leaders—cabinet members, university presidents, professors, artists, and social activists—are Fulbright alumni. They include Dr. Paul H.C. Chiu, former Finance Minister and Chairman of the Taiwan Fulbright Alumni Association; Dr. Sun Chen, former Minister of Defense and former President of National Taiwan University; Lin Hwai-min, Founder and Artistic Director, Cloud Gate Dance Theater; Dr. Wu Se-hwa, President, National Chengchi University; and Dr. Wu Rong-I, former Vice Premier and Chairman, Taiwan Futures Exchange.
"My experience as a Fulbright Professor in Taiwan during 1978-1979 was truly a 'peak experience' that has had a significant positive impact on my career and life, as well as that of my family," said Dr. William H. Mobley, now a Professor at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. After the Fulbright experience, Dr. Mobley moved to Texas A&M University and eventually became president of that institution. Dr. Mobley returned to Taiwan this week to celebrate Fifty Years of Fulbright in Taiwan.
Today, Taiwan's Fulbright program continues to attract a diverse mix of academics, professionals, artists, performers and writers interested in increasing their knowledge of the United States and Taiwan while exploring new avenues for professional development. This academic year 2007-2008, the program is supporting 53 Taiwan grantees and 35 U.S. grantees.
For more information on the Fulbright program, please consult the website at http://www.fulbright.org.tw.
A Personal Journey Enriched by a Fulbright Year in Taiwan
By William H. Mobley, Ph.D.
Professor, China Europe International Business School, Shanghai &
CEO, Mobley Group Pacific Limited, Hong Kong & Shanghai
Nov. 30, 2007
Congratulations on the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright in Taiwan. It is a pleasure to share some of my personal career and life experiences that were profoundly influenced by the Fulbright experience. My experience as a Fulbright Professor in Taiwan during 1978-1979 was truly a "peak experience" that has had a significant positive impact on my career and life, as well as that of my family. It was our first exposure to the region and Dr. Wu Jing-jyi and the Fulbright staff, students and faculty at National Taiwan University and at Fudan Catholic University provided a wonderful learning journey. The friends and network established during that time has continued over time and distance.
The Fulbright experience opened my eyes to the incredibly positive outcomes of the program for individual participants, for universities and indeed for the broader public. Upon my return to the U.S. after the Fulbright experience, I moved to Texas A & M University and subsequently became president of that institution. As president, I was able to champion faculty and student and international exchange, collaborative research, and stronger institutional agreements with universities in Asia. I was honored to have the opportunity to the lead the Texas Higher Education Task Force on "Internationalizing Texas Higher Education" and to appear before U. S. Congressional Committees to testify in support of the Fulbright Program and other international education initiatives. My passion and support for international learning and exchange is founded on the deep personal learning from my Fulbright in Taiwan.
After finishing my presidency at Texas A & M in 1994, I, like many, firmly believed that the "Sea Change" was underway and the Pacific Century was ahead. Thus, I moved to Hong Kong and later Shanghai, to anchor my professional and personal life in the region. My Fulbright experiences in Taiwan, the cultural, business and personal insights and network gained during that experience has been the foundation of a wonderful late career experience back in Asia.
My professional life focuses on research, writing and coaching around global leadership. A key theme in the literature is that effective leaders must develop a "global mindset", appreciative and adaptable to multiple cultures and the innovative engine of diversity. What a more positive world we would live in if all aspiring leaders had an opportunity to benefit from a Fulbright experience. In serving as Executive Editor of Advances in Global Leadership (Oxford: Elsevier Science), I have had the opportunity to invite, read, edit and learn from a number of leadership authors in Asia and globally. Helping "giving voice" to Chinese and Asia leadership authors is a primary goal of this series. The world has much to learn from these authors.
I am deeply indebted to the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange and the Fulbright Program Taiwan. My wish is that in the coming 50 years, many, many more young scholars and professionals will have the opportunity to live and learn in Taiwan and benefit from the Fulbright experience there.