Remarks by AIT Director Brent Christensen at the the Closing Ceremony of Pacific Islands Leadership Program

Remarks by AIT Director Brent Christensen at the the Closing Ceremony of Pacific Islands Leadership Program
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
AIT Official Text #: OT-1835


Remarks by AIT Director Brent Christensen
at the Closing Ceremony of Pacific Islands Leadership

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Vice Minister Liu, Mr. Nick Barker of the East-West Center, Palau Ambassador Olkeriil, distinguished participants in the Pacific Islands Leadership Program, guests and friends: good morning!

It is a great privilege for me to be here today at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan.

I would first like to express our appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs and the East-West Center for organizing this program. These kinds of initiatives are more important than ever in an increasingly complex and interdependent world, where new opportunities abound, but new challenges have also appeared.

For those of you from island countries, you understand better than anyone that even if you are living on an island far from other places, we can only tackle the challenges of the modern world by working together.

That is why it is so important that Taiwan continues to host this event every year, giving you from the Pacific islands an opportunity to contribute your ideas and take back the lessons you have learned from your partners in Taiwan and from your colleagues in other Pacific island nations.

As we say publicly at every chance we get, we see no better partner than Taiwan. Taiwan is a world leader in a wide range of economic, social, health, education, and environmental areas. The United States recognizes that Taiwan has not only addressed many challenges in these areas but, more importantly, has the willingness to share its experiences as its neighbors address these same challenges.

This is why the United States and Taiwan established the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, or GCTF, in 2015. Most of your countries have participated in GCTF programs where Taiwan has shared and promoted its best practices to help experts from across the region build capacity in their home countries. And I know that many countries represented in the room today – some of which are Taiwan’s long-standing diplomatic partners – have benefited greatly from GCTF programs.

But just as important as bringing its expertise to the world, Taiwan has demonstrated its leadership by convening partners from around the region and around the world, so they can share experiences and build lasting networks of experts. No one has all the answers; each one of you has valuable perspectives and experiences to share. So, thank you Taiwan for bringing together so many talented leaders from the Pacific Islands region. I hope the connections you all have made here will continue to bear fruit for many years.

As all of you know, the United States is a Pacific nation with deep and long-standing ties to the region. Our Indo-Pacific Strategy in an affirmation of our commitment to protect free markets, cultivate good governance, and enhance regional stability through partnerships across the Indo-Pacific. We partner with the Pacific Islands to tackle a variety of challenges, including promoting sustainable growth and prosperity, addressing environmental challenges, and strengthening our people-to-people ties. Our commitment remains strong and we look forward to working with all of you over the coming years to build an even brighter future for the entire Pacific Islands region.

In closing, let me reiterate my admiration and appreciation, both to Taiwan for hosting this Pacific Islands Leadership Program, and to all of you, the participants, for bringing your creativity and your commitment to improving the lives of your fellow citizens. We all have great hopes for you and we look forward to seeing you achieve great things as you go back home and serve your countries.