June 1, 2017
AIT Official Text #: OT-1709
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Honored guests, ladies and gentleman, good evening.
Today is a historic day for Fulbright Taiwan – I’m thrilled to be a part of the celebration of 60 years of Educational Exchange between the United States and Taiwan. As I open the events tonight I would like to give special thanks to our wonderful partners, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education and all the host institutions. I am pleased to welcome such wonderful speakers and friends as Richard Bush and Michael Sandel to Taiwan for this event. I would also like to recognize Dr. Vocke and the excellent staff of FSE for all that you do and for putting together this wonderful event. And last but not least, thank you to Fulbright Board members and the team at AIT for your hard work and support.
I’m a firm believer in the concept that Senator Fulbright had in mind when he started the Fulbright program. While my own career path has been different from many of the academics in the room, I believe that we are in many ways doing the same work. We are trying to explore and understand the world, interact with a wide range of people, and explain what we see and learn to others.
Your attendance tonight is the best example and legacy of Senator Fulbright’s prospect. You all gathered here in this room tonight are the foundation of the relationship between the United States and Taiwan. I hope that you know the important role that you play in building ties – not just this year (or next for those of you about to depart to start your Fulbright in the United States) but in the possibilities of what you will accomplish over the next ten, twenty, or sixty years!
Please allow me to read from a letter sent from Ambassador Bruce Wharton, the Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy. He writes: “Greetings and congratulations to those gathered in Taipei to celebrate 60 years of educational exchange between the United States and Taiwan. The Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship academic exchange program. This anniversary is a valuable opportunity to celebrate academic collaboration and cultural and educational ties between the United States and Taiwan. It is also a chance to recognize the partnership between the United States and Taiwan. Whether through historical research, scientific investigation, teaching English or Chinese language, or the arts, Fulbrighters are developing answers to the world’s most pressing questions, and building a more peaceful world. All of you can be truly proud on this occasion. I am delighted to commend each of you for the outstanding part you have played to advance stronger U.S. – Taiwan cultural and educational relations. Thank you for your support of this important exchange program. Again, congratulations and very best wishes.”
On behalf of AIT, let me thank the more than 100 U.S. Fulbright grantees, who spent the past grant year in Taiwan, for continuing the legacy of people-to-people ties with Taiwan. I trust that you also had a great deal of fun, enjoyed some wonderful food, and experienced Taiwan’s gracious hospitality while teaching, studying, and conducting research.
Likewise, I am pleased to congratulate the more than 50 Taiwan grantees who will soon depart for the United States. I wish you a successful year in the United States, and encourage you to build relationships with people in the United States so that the close ties between Taiwan and the U.S. will continue to strengthen. And to also have a bit of fun – try some local foods, go on a road trip, and watch a baseball game (go Twins!).