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Ex-AIT chair calls for creativity when working with Taiwan at debut Yushan Forum
Ex-AIT chair calls for creativity when working with Taiwan at debut Yushan Forum

At the debut Yushan Forum, former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt on Oct. 11 called on potential partners who wish to work with Taiwan under its newly-launched New Southbound Policy to be “creative” and to make better use of private sectors given Taiwan’s unique situation in the world stage. 

During his address at the dinner reception that concluded the first day of the forum, the former AIT head praised Taiwan’s rule of law, making it a perfect destination for foreign investments.

He also noted that given Taiwan’s particular position in international arena, those who wish to work with Taiwan needs to be creative.

He pointed out that Taiwan has a unique international position and problem. For those who wish to take part in its newly launched New Southbound Policy, “We have to be creative, smart.”

Burghardt also placed emphasis on the importance of non-governmental collaboration when working with Taiwan.

“They are freer than governments, less likely to be intimidated by countries that keep Taiwan isolated,” he added.

He particularly pointed out that he was really impressed by the Yushan Forum. “You are already making tremendous progress in having that kind of cooperation,” he stressed.

Another guest speaker at the dinner, former Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay shared his experience on cultivating the youths with his speech tilted “Developing Young Leaders through Participation and Inclusion.”

“In today’s changing world, the challenge is to prepare our youth to thrive and effect their own brand of change that will contribute to the development of people,” he said.

“This means reinventing the way we govern, educate, engage, think and conceptualize programs,” he added.

Providing them with access to opportunities is not enough, the former vice president said government and private sector should also create opportunities for youths.

Meanwhile, during the earlier afternoon session II of the event, Taiwan’s Deputy Education Minister Leehter Yao (姚立德) touched the topic on the incentives the country is offering to attract more students from Southeast and South Asia to study. In his presentation under the theme of human resources, Yao said Taiwan ranks 15th among 137 countries in the latest Global Competitiveness Report released last month by World Economic Forum, largely thanks to good ranking in higher education.

As part of its ongoing New Southbound Policy, the deputy minister said Taiwan is opening arms to welcome more students from Southeast and South Asian countries with its top-notch higher education institutes. Currently, the top country of origin for international students to Taiwan is Malaysia with over 49,000 Malaysians currently studying in the country, Yao noted.

Taiwan is increasing its scholarship programs available to students in the region by 50 percent in coming years. “By 2019 we expected to have more than 58,000 students coming from the region,” he noted.

Also, starting from this year, around 4,000 additional subsidies will be available for students from Taiwan to study, do research, internships or training in Southeast and South Asian countries to make sure the exchange will be bi-directional , he added.

Speaking during the same session, Hari Purwanto, Senior Adviser to Indonesia's Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education, said his country is placing high importance in human resources in higher education sector.

“Every year there are around 5.1 million students (in Indonesia) and the number increasing,” he noted.

Purwanto said his country needs more lecturers with the rising demands of students. He believes that through education more understanding between different peoples can be achieved because “we speak the same language.” He called on regional partners, Taiwan included, to invest in the Indonesian education sector to improve the quality Indonesian universities and research institutions.

In Session III, with the theme of “Technological Innovation,” Jerry Jou (周世傑), Director General of the Department of International Cooperation and Science Education under the Ministry of Science and Technology, said Taiwan has gradually increased its budget on R&D projects over the past decade.

He also noted that the ministry has 15 liaison offices in 13 countries with the aim to enhance global and regional cooperation.

In terms of the New Southbound Policy, Jou said the core value of the policy is meant to broaden bilateral and multilateral exchanges and cooperation with regional neighbors in areas such as technology, culture and commercial, among others.

The ministry is now launching five flagship programs: namely, Joint development of science and technology talents; Policy forums and youth exchange platforms; Regional agricultural cooperation; Medical and health cooperation and industrial supply chain; and Development of innovation-oriented industries, as part of the New Southbound Policy.

During the session, Tran Diep Tuan, the President of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP) at Ho Chi Minh City, gave high credit to the New Southbound Policy, which he said his country can also benefit from.

“Although we are high behind in the region in terms of training patient training, we try to improve regional standard in Southeast Asia, also we try to integrate regionally and internationally, to increase quality and advancement training,” he noted.

“Yushan Forum: Asian Dialogue for Innovation and Progress,” a newly launched platform for regional dialogue that aims to promote the exchange of ideas across Asia Pacific, was held in Taipei from Oct. 11- 12.

With a theme of “Fostering Economic and Social Connectivity with Southeast and South Asia” this year, the event features speakers and participants from the Asia Pacific region and beyond, including India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Belgium, Croatia and the Netherlands.