Pacific region’s future leaders experiencing Taiwan

The Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan kicked off Sept. 26 in Taipei City, highlighting collaborative efforts among Taiwan, the U.S. and a dozen Pacific island nations to broaden the horizons of the region's future leaders.

As part of the program, 25 officials and professionals from the Asia-Pacific region will take part in a variety of learning and sightseeing activities during their five-week stay in Taiwan.

The Taipei portion of the program, following a six-week stint in Hawaii, includes discussions and workshops on such topics as aboriginal culture, agriculture and fishing industries, charity work, community development, disaster management, environmental protection, international relations and vocational training.

Participants will be able to gain a better understanding of our country's foreign policy as well as social and economic achievements, in addition to exchanging views with officials, scholars, entrepreneurs and nongovernmental organization representatives, Deputy Foreign Minister Leo Chen-jan Lee said at an event marking the start of the program in Taiwan.

Lee also drew attention to the Austronesian cultural heritage that Taiwan shares with its diplomatic allies in the Pacific region. This trip will give participants the opportunity to see how Austronesian culture has developed in Taiwan and interact with indigenous peoples, he said.

Robert Forden, deputy director of the American Institute in Taiwan, which represents U.S. interests in the country, said the U.S. and Taiwan have joined forces through the program to strengthen relations and cooperation with their Pacific island partners, adding that both sides have deep and enduring ties with these countries.

Most importantly, we also share the important values of respect for human rights, democracy, rule of law and transparency, as well as commitment to promoting peace and security across the region, Forden said.

Also attending the ceremony were the ambassadors to the Republic of China (Taiwan) from Kiribati, Palau and Tuvalu, as well as representatives from Australia, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Co-hosted with Hawaii-based education and research institution the East-West Center, PILP with Taiwan is in its fourth year and aims to enhance the capabilities and perspectives of 125 young leaders from across the Pacific by 2017. (KTJ-E)

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)