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Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at the Press Launch for the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs
March 8, 2021

AIT Director Christensen speaks at the launch of AWE
AIT Director Christensen speaks at the launch of AWE




 (as prepared for delivery)

Economic Minister Wang, honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!

Before I begin, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy International Women’s Day! It is a real pleasure to help announce today the launch of this important and meaningful training program – the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs – or AWE.  We all know that when women are successful, communities proposer, countries thrive, and the world becomes a safer and more stable place for us all.  According to the World Bank, it is estimated that empowering women has the potential to add $12 trillion to the global economy. Nothing else – neither trade agreements nor the development of new technologies – even comes close to its potential.

AWE supports two priorities for U.S.-Taiwan partnership: economic prosperity and advancing education and language learning.  As you may recall, last November, we had the inaugural U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue in the U.S.  The Dialogue highlighted cooperation of the two sides in a broad range of economic issues, including women’s economic empowerment, education and entrepreneurship.  And you may also remember that on December 2, AIT and TECRO signed an important Memorandum of Understanding and created the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative.  The U.S. and Taiwan are dedicated to deepening cooperation on education, especially regarding language learning – both Chinese and English.  So I’m especially proud to announce today that for the first time Taiwan is included in this U.S.-initiated Academy for Women Entrepreneurs program.  AWE which embraces our goals to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan economic and commercial cooperation and to enhance language learning.  There are many excellent programs in Taiwan to support women entrepreneurs; AWE is one of the few conducted entirely in English.

We especially would like to thank the Ministry of Economic Affairs for partnering with us and bringing the synergy of AWE and their Fei-Yen program.  We hope Taiwan’s women entrepreneur community will be excited about these opportunities to connect the U.S. and the world, at a time when the global economy is impacted by the pandemic.

In 2019, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs established AWE in order to empower women worldwide to fulfill their economic potential, and to create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.  AWE provides women entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and scale successful businesses.  Through AWE, participants access an online training program called “DreamBuilder” and participate in facilitated workshops supplemented with localized content, as well as networking and mentorship opportunities.  Since launching in 2019, AWE has been implemented in 53 countries in every region of the world. This year, the U.S. anticipates implementing it in more than 70 countries and aims to reach more than 7,000 women. We are more than happy to have Taiwan on board, and the 90 Taiwan participants will join more than 2,000 AWE alumnae that are actively engaged in AWE programming and ECA Alumni activities.

AWE is another example that demonstrates the U.S.’ vision on public private partnerships.  We can’t stress enough the fact that Taiwan is a leader in East Asia when it comes to empowering women and girls.  We are proud to call Taiwan one of our closest partners because we have worked together on many platforms and aspects in this area for long: From APEC, Global Cooperation & Training Framework workshops, to various outreach and educational events on Women in Tech, Women in Politics, Women in Sports, and STEM, just to name a few.  We have built close partnerships with many Taiwan partners as we continue to support women’s empowerment, and we welcome more partners from the private sector, civil society, academic, and other public entities that share the same vision to join us.

In closing, I would like to encourage all of us here to continue playing a crucial role in promoting women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship.  The U.S.-Taiwan relationship has never been more critical and one of our most important areas of cooperation is the work we are doing to support women.  Thank you.