September 1, 2014
Background Information No.066
As part of a continuous and diverse effort to promote youth diplomacy and increase engagement of the international community by Republic of China (Taiwan) youth through soft power, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a tour of Japan and the Republic of Korea from September 8 to 13 by Mixer, winner of the 2014 Golden Melody Award for Best Band.
A press conference was held September 1 before Mixer began its Northeast Asian tour, part of the 2014 Vocal Exchange program. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Y. P. Shih presided over the event, which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, including its dean, Nauru Ambassador to the ROC Ludwig Keke, ROK Representative to Taiwan Cho Baek-sang, and Secretary General of Japan’s Interchange Association Taipei Office Takashi Hamada. Representatives of tour sponsor CTBC Bank and Mixer’s sponsor iWant also took part in the send-off event, held in anticipation of a successful performance and cultural exchange tour of Tokyo and Fukuoka in Japan and Busan in the ROK.
Vice Minister Shih said that MOFA takes great interest in and attaches great importance to the creative thinking of and cultural trends set by young people. In recent years, the ministry has arranged for several outstanding groups to perform overseas to increase international understanding of the arts and culture of Taiwan. Mixer has attracted widespread attention as a new-generation creative band, having won the Golden Melody Award for Best Band as a first-time nominee as well as taking home the award for original music at the Genesis Music Competition held by Public Television Service earlier this year.
Mixer’s tour, aimed at introducing Taiwanese youth’s cultural creativity and dynamic success to the two Northeast Asian countries, is being funded by CTBC Bank. Its travel itinerary is orchestrated in line with MOFA’s policy to strengthen local youth’s international engagement and expand bilateral cultural exchange and cooperation, and was drawn up by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Japan and its Fukuoka office, as well as the Taipei Mission in Korea Busan Office. In addition to musical performances, TECRO in Japan arranged a visit to the ESP Musical Academy in Tokyo, and its Fukuoka office arranged a promotional performance in coordination with the Taiwan Film Renaissance program at the Focus on Asia International Film Festival Fukuoka 2014. Meanwhile, the Taipei Mission in Korea arranged for Mixer to perform with two Korean bands through the Indie Training Center in Busan.
Vice Minister Shih attributed the successful youth diplomacy endeavor to the integration of public and private resources and government-business cooperation. This carried manifold significance in that it encouraged Taiwanese youth to keep pace with global developments while fostering international exchanges with a new generation of artists. Vice Minister Shih expressed a hope that similar events would be held to expand youth exchanges and bring Taiwan’s soft power into the world spotlight. She encouraged the five-member band, in addition to promoting Taiwan’s soft power, to further enhance their creativity through cultural exchanges with Japanese and Korean youth and share their experiences with people in Taiwan.
Vice Minister Shih also discussed exchange programs that MOFA has launched in recent years to help young Taiwanese aspirants fulfill their dream of participating in international affairs. These include youth working holiday schemes, the International Youth Ambassadors Exchange Program, International Youth Culture and Study Tour to the ROC, Mosaic Taiwan fellowship program, Teen Diplomatic Envoys contest, Taiwan Fellowships and Scholarships, and Training Course on International Affairs for Future Talents in Taiwan’s NGOs. MOFA will continue to promote diverse routes to youth diplomacy, supporting youth engagement in the global community so that young people gain greater experience in international exchanges and cultivate friendships worldwide. This will also enable young people from other countries to better understand Taiwan and nurture long-term friendly relations. (E)