October 28, 2019
Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at Chinese Flagship Program Launch Event
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Deputy Minister Hsu, Deputy DG Chang, Vice President Chou, Dr. Chao, former Director Stanton, distinguished guests, Chinese Overseas Flagship in Taiwan Program teachers and students, 大家好!
I have said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Taiwan is a democratic role model, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world. In addition, it’s also an amazing place to study Chinese.
Taiwan is safe; its people are friendly; and it has a rich and diverse cultural scene. No matter whether you are watching TV, chatting with local friends, or riding in a taxi, you will encounter a diverse range of opinions, on everything from the future of the Los Angeles Lakers, to Taiwan’s best night market, to elections. For these, and many other reasons, Taiwan is an ideal place for U.S. students to learn Mandarin.
I started my foreign service career in Taiwan and have gone on to take assignments of increasing responsibility in mainland China, Hong Kong, and now as Director of the American Institute Taiwan. The lessons that I learned in Taiwan as a missionary, junior officer, and advanced language student have been an important part of my success, and I strongly encourage you to make the most of your time here.
As many of you know, the United States and Taiwan are committed to international exchange and have recently launched a major new initiative called the Talent Circulation Alliance, or TCA. It seeks to facilitate not only educational exchange between Taiwan and its partners around the world, but also professional exchanges, such as internships. The Chinese Overseas Flagship in Taiwan Program is exactly the kind of program we want to support, and we wish you continued success in your studies and in your future! 加油!