Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk at the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative –
Forming Global Partnerships Symposium
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Foreign Minister Wu, Deputy Magistrate Liu, Chung Cheng University President Dr. Fong, representatives from the British Council, Australia, New Zealand and Canadian offices, esteemed guests, and online friends, good morning!
I am excited to welcome you to today’s international education symposium which is a part of the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative. It has been a year since AIT and TECRO signed a Memorandum of Understanding on international education cooperation. Over the past 12 months, AIT has worked with Taiwan partners to strengthen our cooperation and collaboration on international education. Last January, AIT worked with the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange to organize a Chinese-language symposium in Taipei. In March, AIT partnered with the Ministry of Education to host a bilingual education symposium at the National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung. Now today, AIT is delighted to co-host the third and final symposium in this series with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today’s discussions will enable us to explore how each of us can build linkages with international education institutions. This symposium is truly a joint effort with many partners, including Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, National Chung Cheng University, our counterparts from other English-speaking countries and so many of you who are facilitating international education on a day-to-day basis.
People to people ties remain the bedrock of our relationship. These ties are deep and historical. Thousands of students and teachers move back and forth between our shores every year. The U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative is a concrete example of how we work together to facilitate language teaching and learning in support of both Taiwan’s and the United States’ priorities in this area.
This year AIT increased the annual appropriation to the Fulbright Taiwan Program to US$ 1 million. In addition, we have received funding support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Culture, as well as garnering support from universities and local host institutions. The robust U.S.-Taiwan relationship is enhanced and further deepened by the fact that Taiwan now houses the largest Fulbright Program in the world.
It’s a such precious opportunity to have so many international education experts gathered in Chiayi. I’d like to take a moment to again thank National Chung Cheng University for organizing a very great event despite all the COVID restrictions. Also, I’d like to express my gratitude to our partners from the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada who made the time to prepare for today’s presentations and traveled here to share their wonderful programs and education resources.
In closing, I hope you will be inspired by the speakers today and be able to form more solid partnerships thanks to informal discussions during the tea break and in the poster session. I hope this event will create synergies that not only help more Americans to come to Taiwan to learn Mandarin, but help Taiwan achieve its bilingual education goal in 2030.