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Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk
February 10, 2022


Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk
at the Press Conference on
“Sports Diplomacy: Making Taoyuan City a Pioneer Base
for Gender Equality in Sports in the Asia-Pacific Region”

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Good morning, Mayor Cheng, foreign representatives, distinguished guests and media friends.  I’m delighted to support gender equality in sports.  I’m especially happy to see so many of my fellow representatives also here today.

June 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Title IX legislation, the federal law that dismantled the barriers limiting full participation by women and girls in education and sports.  As a former high school soccer player and the mother of a female high school athlete, I am an in-person witness to the progress the United States has made on this very important subject over the past five decades.  I firmly believe sports is not only an area where we can continue to push for gender equality, but is also a platform where we can champion other priorities, such as inclusion, access, youth empowerment, health and wellness, conflict resolution and entrepreneurism.

Today’s event reflects the value that both Taiwan and the United States place on equity, inclusion, and access and demonstrates how creative policy making at the local government level can advance shared values.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mayor Cheng for his commitment to both gender equality in sports and to making Taoyuan a welcoming place for immigrants.  Taiwan is, in many ways, at the vanguard of the push for broader human rights worldwide and efforts like these at the local level help further advance our shared objectives.

I also want to acknowledge the achievements of two AIT program alumni.  Ms. Liu Po-chun and Dr. Tseng Yu-hsien participated in the State Department and espnW’s Global Mentoring Sports Program a few years ago.  Both Ms. Liu and Dr. Tseng continue to work with AIT and here in Taoyuan to facilitate gender equality in their professional fields of baseball and basketball.  Congratulations to both of you for your tireless efforts to make Taiwan a better place for women and girls, both in sports and in daily life.

Finally, I’d like to commend the city of Taoyuan for taking the initiative to translate into seven languages the teaching and training materials Ms. Liu and Dr. Tseng have created about gender equality in sports.  Taking this additional step underscores the municipal government’s commitment to making Taoyuan a welcoming place for new immigrants.  As someone who has studied Mandarin for years and years, but still struggles to read traditional characters, I can guarantee that the translations will be very important to newly arrived residents.  Thank you again and congratulations.