February 22, 2023
U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative Factsheet 2023
Outcomes of the Third High-Level Dialogue on February 22, 2023:
- To reaffirm both sides’ commitment to deepening cooperation on international education, particularly in the area of English and Mandarin Chinese language education, based on the MOU on Educational Exchange signed in December 2020.
- To take stock of achievements to date to enhance and expand existing programs for two-way educational exchange between the U.S. and Taiwan.
- Acknowledge institutionalized High-level dialogues supported by regular Working Group Meetings and the drafting of the three-year strategic plan, which elevates momentum for further cooperation under the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative and highlights shared values between Taiwan and the United States.
- To highlight the importance of cooperation on international education among like-minded, democratic partners in support of free and open education and the value of academic freedom, free of coercion and censorship.
- To identify the challenges we had in the past years and explore possible solutions.
Progress to date:
In December 2020, the United States and Taiwan launched the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative, which aims to expand opportunities for American students to learn Mandarin from Taiwanese teachers, as well as opportunities for U.S. teachers to help Taiwan reach its goal of becoming a bilingual society by 2030. Under the Biden Administration, the United States continues to implement the Education Initiative and helps ensure that U.S. campuses remain bastions of innovation and intellectual freedom, values we share with Taiwan.
To date, the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has committed to spending over US$1.8 million to increase funding to three Department of State (DoS)-managed exchange programs (NSLI-Y, CLS and Gilman). At the same time, the U.S. is seeing more Americans come to Taiwan to study Chinese and to teach English, particularly through the Fulbright ETA program. In the years to come, MOFA has pledged to provide funding to continue supporting the State Department’s language programs.
The Taiwan Ministry of Education (MOE) has jointly sponsored the “Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program” with the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. The program will last for five years. MOE has committed to providing up to US$ 25,000 each year to grant American undergraduate students of limited financial means to study Mandarin on Taiwan.
Since 2020, the United States has twice increased its annual funding to the Taiwan Fulbright program, administered by the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (FSE), and reached a total contribution of US $1 million in 2021. This has enabled FSE to increase the number of participants in several Fulbright exchange programs, both on Taiwan and in the United States.
Under the Initiative, the United States and Taiwan worked closely to make it possible for more than 200 American Fulbrighters to come to Taiwan in 2020, despite many COVID-related restrictions on travel. In the past three years, Taiwan has remained one of the largest Fulbright programs in the world.
In addition to the Fulbright Program, other U.S. government-sponsored grantees, including 45 students of the Language Flagship Program and 101 students of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) began their Mandarin learning on Taiwan for the 2022-2023 academic year.
For the outbound Taiwan teachers to the United States, FSE was able to send 39 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTA) to teach in U.S. universities and colleges in the fall of 2022. The MOE will additionally subsidize ten FLTA candidates for their living allowances and travel expenses in 2022. MOFA will also sponsor five more FLTA candidates, making a total of 15 additional FLTA participants from Taiwan.
In addition to the FLTAs, MOE and MOFA are also working together on the “Taiwan Huayu BEST Program” to facilitate U.S.-Taiwan university-to-university exchanges on Mandarin teaching.
In 2022, Taiwan was invited to join the Teachers of Critical Language Program (TCLP), which recruits K-12 teachers on Taiwan to teach Mandarin in the United States. Funded by the Department of State, the TCLP brings certified Taiwan language teachers, who serve as a cultural resource for their host schools and communities, to the United States for one year to teach Mandarin to American primary and secondary school students. In Taiwan’s 1st year of participation in 2022, 55 teachers met application requirements and eight were selected to teach Mandarin in the United States during the 2022-23 academic year. AIT plans to send eight Taiwan teachers to the United States in August 2023 for the second year of the Taiwan TCLP program.
At the same time, Taiwan’s Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) has opened 54 Taiwan Centers for Mandarin Learning in the United States, to teach Mandarin at various cities across America. The aim is to expand existing Mandarin and English language learning opportunities in the United States and on Taiwan. OCAC is working towards the goal of opening up to 100 Centers in 2025, including additional centers in the United States and Europe.
In support of the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative, MOE led a delegation from Taiwan to attend the NAFSA Conference in Denver, Colorado and meetings in Washington D.C. in May and June of 2022. The delegation was comprised of representatives from Taiwan’s MOE, MOFA, OCAC, and leaders from some of Taiwan’s top universities. The purpose of the visit was to highlight U.S.-Taiwan cooperation on international education and promote additional exchange opportunities with Taiwan. A joint MOU signing ceremony for the Taiwan Huayu Best Program and sister schools was held, in addition to the U.S.-Taiwan Education Forum, demonstrating Taiwan-U.S. cooperation on education.
Since the launch of the Initiative, AIT has led a series of activities in collaboration with different Taiwan agencies. The U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative events are listed in chronological order:
AIT Supports Chinese Language Education through Its Strong Partnership with Taiwan
On January 16, 2021, AIT kicked off the first activity of the new U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative: Teaching Chinese as a Second Language Symposium in collaboration with the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange. The symposium was attended by 200 Taiwan Chinese language teachers, 60 of whom are Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTA) that were going to the United States in the summer of 2021. AIT Director Christensen delivered the opening remarks, along with Taiwan NSC Deputy Secretary General Szu-Chien Hsu, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Deputy Minister of Education Mon-Chi Lio, and OCAC Minister Chen-Yuan Tung.
AIT Supports Taiwan’s Bilingual Policy by Co-hosting Bilingual Education Symposium with the Ministry of Education
In March 2021, to support the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative, former Director Brent Christensen delivered remarks at the National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) in Kaohsiung, along with Education Minister PAN Wen-chung, NSYSU President CHENG Ying-Yao and Kaohsiung City Mayor CHEN Chi-mai. At this Bilingual Education Symposium, more than 250 English language education experts came together to discuss ways to promote Taiwan’s bilingual education. One highlight was a Fulbright session – Taiwan had the second largest English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program in the world with almost 150 ETAs co-teaching in ten localities around Taiwan.
Establishment of the “Fulbright-Taiwan Ministry of Culture, Arts Professionals Grant”
In August 2021, FSE and the Taiwan Ministry of Culture signed an MOU to establish a new grant program aimed at increasing non-academic arts exchange. After approval by the WDC-based Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, AIT Director Oudkirk – as Honorary Chair of the Fulbright Taiwan Board – witnessed the launch of the new “Fulbright-Taiwan Ministry of Culture, Arts Professionals Grant.” This was the first such grant Fulbright has established with the Taiwan Ministry of Culture.
AIT Supports Taiwan to Form Global Partnerships in Education with U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative
On November 30, 2021, Director Oudkirk, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Chiayi County Deputy Magistrate Liu Pei-dong, CCU President Fong Zhang-hua and representatives from the British Council, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada participated in the Taiwan-U.S. Education Initiative Symposium at National Chung Cheng University (CCU) in Chiayi. The event brought together more than 200 K-12 and higher education educators, central and local government officers, and international education representatives to discuss ways to form global partnerships in education.
AIT Highlights U.S.-Taiwan Education Partnership through Mandarin Teaching Symposium
On January 15 and 16, 2022, AIT, the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan) co-hosted the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative’s symposium titled “Teaching Chinese as a Second Language.” The event was attended by 200 in-person and virtual participants, including representatives from the National Security Council, MOE, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC), as well as Mandarin teachers from across Taiwan and the United States, including Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTA), MOE recruited Mandarin teachers, and OCAC’s overseas Mandarin teachers.
The Second U.S.-Taiwan High-level Dialogue Reaffirms Commitment to International Education
Following the first high-level dialogue under the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative in 2020, the second iteration was hosted by AIT and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 1, 2022 to reaffirm both sides’ commitment to deepening cooperation on international education, particularly in the area of English and Mandarin education. The dialogue was headed by Daniel Kritenbrink, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP), and U.S. attendees included U.S. Department of Education (DoE) Chief of Staff Shelia Nix, Deputy Assistant Secretary for EAP Camille Dawson, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Ethan Rosenzweig. Taiwan’s participation was led by Deputy Secretary-general of Taiwan’s National Security Council (NSC) Szu-chien Hsu and included representatives from the three partner agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Education (MOE) and Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC). During the two-hour dialogue, both sides reviewed the achievements and efforts made under the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative to date and exchanged ideas for future collaborative activities.
Taiwan and State Department High-level Officials Participate in the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative Events in Denver, CO
On the sidelines of the NAFSA Conference in Denver, CO, AIT worked with the Ministry of Education to organize an array of events to promote the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative. On June 1, 2022, U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary Camille Dawson delivered opening remarks at the Taiwan-U.S. Joint signing ceremony where nine of Taiwan’s top universities signed agreements with nine U.S. universities to increase educational exchange opportunities, which had provided even more scholarship opportunities for American students to study in Taiwan. During the Taiwan-U.S. Higher Education forum, ECA DAS Ethan Rosenzweig delivered a speech to more than 50 U.S. and Taiwan education professionals about U.S. government support of international education through the new Joint Statement of Principles signed by the U.S. Secretaries of State and Education in July 2021. DAS Elkon also attended the Taiwan Night Reception held at the Grand Hyatt Denver.
U.S. and Taiwan Officials Meet at AIT/W to Discuss Deepening Educational Cooperation
After the completion of a series of U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative programs in Denver, the Taiwan delegation flew to Washington D.C. to participate in education policy-focused discussions at AIT’s Washington (AIT/W) office with a number of high-ranking State Department officials including Ambassador James Moriarty, EAP PDAS Kin Moy, EAP DAS Camille Dawson, and ECA DAS Nicole Elkon. Department of Education Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Director of International Affairs Maureen McLaughlin also participated in the discussions to support Taiwan’s bilingual education and Mandarin teaching. These discussions generated a lot of positive feedback and explored potential cooperation opportunities.
MOFA Promotes Exchanges between U.S. Government-funded Scholarship Grantees and Taiwan Government Officials
Following MOFA’s commitments to expanding the number of the State Department scholarships as mentioned above, MOFA organized an event for the U.S. grantees on October 7, 2022, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, AIT/T and the FSE. The event served as a great platform for more interaction and idea exchange between the U.S. grantees and Taiwan officials.
AIT Facilitates U.S.-Taiwan Sister School Partnerships through the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative
As part of the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative, AIT and the City of Taoyuan co-organized the “U.S. Education Initiative Symposium: Building Sister School Partnerships” on November 14-15, 2022. With the invitation from Taoyuan to its sister cities, 12 district supervisors and superintendents from Alameda County, San Bernadino County, and Dallas County traveled to Taiwan to share best practices. DAS Dawson delivered recorded remarks to highlight the success of the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative. AIT Deputy Director Jeremy Cornforth and former Taoyuan Deputy Mayor Kao An-Pang also delivered remarks to approximately 200 in-person attendees, including representatives from MOFA, MOE, OCAC as well as English language education experts and administrators from Taiwan universities and local governments. The program helped renew ties between K-12 schools in the U.S. with counterparts in Taiwan, with a focus on developing more “sister-school” and “sister-classroom” relationships.
Taiwan and Singapore Experts Discuss Ways to Promote Mandarin Education in the United States
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange, AIT hosted the third annual Mandarin Education Symposium under the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative from January 7-8, 2023. The symposium took place at the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation and attracted more than 100 in-person and 200 online participants, comprising 45 Fulbright FLTAs from Taiwan and Singapore, a dozen Taiwan and Singapore university professors, and Mandarin teachers recruited by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. In AIT Acting Deputy Director Rashad Jones’ remarks, he commended Taiwan’s support of academic freedom and diversity, which makes Taiwan a top destination for Mandarin learning. AIT CLASS Principal Carolyn Clark also highlighted the success of the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative that has facilitated more U.S.-Taiwan educational exchanges.
More information on the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative can be found on AIT’s website: https://www.ait.org.tw/u-s-taiwan-education-initiative/