Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at the Opening Session of the Talent Circulation Summit

DIR Christensen at TCA Summit opening

November 5, 2019

Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at
The Opening Session of the Talent Circulation Summit

November 5, 2019

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Vice President Chen, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen, Minister without Portfolio Wu, ITRI and III Chairman Lee, Association for Talent Development Vice President Ito, TSMC Founder Morris Chang, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, zao an!

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you all here today to the 1st Annual Talent Circulation Summit.  I would like to begin by extending our deep thanks to Minister Shen and the Industrial Development Bureau for co-founding with us the Talent Circulation Alliance, or TCA.  I would also like to thank the Association for Talent Development for co-hosting with us today’s Summit.  You are doing on a global scale the work the TCA and its partners are trying to do here in Taiwan, and we are grateful to have you as our partner.  Special thanks also go to the Institute for the Information Industry who, in truth, have done all of the hard work to put this Summit together and who are our main implementing partner for the TCA.

The Talent Circulation Alliance is a public-private partnership that facilitates the circulation of talent between Taiwan and like-minded partners, with the goal of cultivating a deep pool of capable, internationally-integrated, and digitally savvy professionals.  Since we first launched the TCA in April of this year, we have gathered more than twenty partners – from the public and private sector, academia, and civil society, both here in Taiwan and from around the world – who are united by a common purpose:  internationalizing Taiwan’s work force for the digital age.

The TCA has four clear objectives:

First, we seek to recreate Taiwan’s success story for the digital age.  Much of Taiwan’s industry was fueled by those who studied or worked in the United States and came back to found new companies or help Taiwan existing top companies.  The same is true for Taiwan’s top leaders in government, academia, and civil society.  It was their experience gained abroad that enabled them to return to Taiwan and lead such successful careers.  The TCA seeks to recreate this story for future generations.

Second, we seek to prevent brain drain.  Brain drain occurs when top talent leaves Taiwan and never comes back.  It represents a net-loss to this vibrant democratic society.  The best way to prevent such loss of talent is to create a viable alternative – namely the robust circulation of talent between Taiwan, the United States, and other like-minded economies.

Third, we hope to grow Taiwan’s most important resource – its talent.  New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman once famously said Taiwan is his favorite place because rather than digging in the ground, “Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence.”  The TCA seeks to help Taiwan further its transition to an innovation-based economy by helping internationally integrate and digitally upgrade its industry and talent.

Fourth, we aim to expand Taiwan’s international presence.  While Taiwan’s formal diplomatic space may be constrained, expanding international professional exchange in the private sector, academia, and international NGOs will enable Taiwan to grow its international presence through greater people-to-people ties.  By connecting Taiwan’s talent to the world, we ensure its future remains firmly anchored in the free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Talent Circulation Alliance has a very simple philosophy:  Everybody is welcome to join and get involved.  Let me explain how.

We invite everyone to come to TCA-organized events.  The fact that you are here today shows you are all off to a good start!  In addition to public talks and trainings, every year we plan on organizing four major events.  Our Talent Circulation Summit will bring together all of the TCA stakeholders to explore the latest talent exchange, cultivation, and networking opportunities.  The TCA International Job Fair, organized in cooperation with our good partner All Hands Taiwan, is Taiwan’s largest international job fair connecting international companies with internationally-oriented talent.  On November 21st of this year at Huashan Park, we will be organizing in cooperation with Legislator Karen Yu and the National Development Council the 1st Annual TCA Women’s Empowerment Expo, or W-Expo.  And next Spring in cooperation with Digital Minister Audrey Tang and UBI Taiwan, we will organize the TCA Digital Society Summit which will bring together international experts to look beyond the technology to see how digital transformation will reshape society.

We also encourage everyone to seize the opportunities created by our program partners.  The TCA has dozens of public and private sector partners, who together organize three types of programs.  Our talent circulation programs create exchange opportunities for Taiwan’s talent to gain experience abroad or for foreign talent to come to Taiwan.  Our talent cultivation programs provide learning opportunities either by international experts or about the latest international trends.  And our talent connection programs network together internationally-oriented students, professionals, and companies in Taiwan.  The opportunities are endless – from AmCham’s Next Generation Leaders’ Program, to Fulbright Taiwan’s many academic exchange programs, to Microsoft’s AI Training Academy, to the many summer work and travel opportunities abroad.  You can find out more during our two afternoon sessions which will discuss opportunities created by like-minded countries and opportunities created here in Taiwan.  You can learn about all of them on the talent circulation alliance website.

The TCA will also publish an annual White Paper that seeks to identify the administrative, regulatory, and legal obstacles to the circulation of talent between Taiwan and other like-minded economies and proposes practical solutions.  The TCA White Paper will become part of the American Chamber of Commerce’s annual White Paper.  Over the next several months, we will be collecting input from everyone on what changes they would like to see to help facilitate the circulation and cultivation of talent.  We invite everyone to send in your ideas through our on-line Digital Dialogue about the White Paper which can also be found on the TCA website.

To all of the companies, industry associations, charitable foundations, and social entrepreneurs out there, we ask you to view the TCA as a platform upon which you can build your own talent circulation programs and projects – think of it as the AppStore of talent circulation where you can realize your ideas.  Since we started the TCA, we have been approached with amazing ideas, such as building connections between port authorities around the world to facilitating the free circulation of startup talent throughout the Indo-Pacific.  Pitch us your ideas, and let’s get to work!

Finally, we encourage all of you to join the TCA community on Facebook.  Through our Facebook group you can learn about all of the latest international exchange and professional skill-building opportunities and network with Taiwan’s future, internationally-oriented leaders in the private sector, government, academia, and civil society.  We hope to build a community where everyone can ask questions and support one another in their professional development.

All of us – government, the private sector, academia, civil society, students, and young-professionals – share a common vision of an internationally connected and digitally savvy Taiwan.  Through all of us coming together in the Talent Circulation Alliance, we can make this vision a reality.  The exciting news is we are just getting started.

Thank you.