March 27, 2020
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and five nongovernmental organizations pledged to promote Taiwan’s participation in and contributions to international cooperation and humanitarian assistance at a March 27 joint signing ceremony for cooperation agreements. Director General Ming-chi Scott Lai of the Department of NGO International Affairs signed agreements with Good Neighbors Taiwan, Pu-hsein Educational Foundation and the Amitofo Charity Association Executive Committee Board (ACA), the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation (NCF), Zhi-Shan Foundation (ZSF) Taiwan, and the Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH).
At the ceremony, Director General Lai praised Taiwan’s diverse and dynamic NGOs, which have flourished thanks to social progress, economic growth, and democratic transformation over the past decades. Taiwan’s NGOs have actively promoted international cooperation and development assistance programs through engagement with international organizations and participation in international conferences. In recent years, Taiwan’s NGOs have excelled at fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities as members of the international community, especially in such areas as humanitarian assistance, medical services, gender equality, and educational exchanges, he said. Their collective efforts have also increased Taiwan’s visibility and enhanced Taiwan’s image internationally.
On behalf of MOFA, Director General Lai expressed appreciation and esteem for the international cooperation efforts of the five NGOs over the years, which have helped promote Taiwan’s soft power and warm power. He added that MOFA will continue to strengthen cooperation with partner NGOs to boost participation in the world community and allow Taiwan to shine.
Cooperation agreements were signed for the following five projects:
1. The India Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Project in Sarjapur, India, to be conducted by Good Neighbors Taiwan, will construct wells and water towers, as well as holding drinking water educational activities to reduce water-borne disease, increase the number of people with access to clean drinking water, and improve local sanitary conditions in general.
2. The Traditional Chinese Overseas Teaching Project, an ongoing program run jointly by Pu-hsein Educational Foundation and the ACA, will place Taiwanese teachers in seven primary and secondary schools established by Amitofo Care Centers in Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Namibia. The project, which teaches African orphans Taiwanese culture, Mandarin, and traditional Chinese characters, has benefited over 9,000 students since its inception in 2013.
3. The 2020 New Southbound Policy Countries NCF Seed Medical Practitioner Training Program, in cooperation with Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, will bring regional medical professionals to Taiwan to learn the latest technology and invite physicians from the region to participate in the Asia-Pacific Craniofacial Annual Conference to benefit from Taiwan’s experience and technology. This will enhance the craniofacial medical environment and quality in the region, as well as promoting bilateral and multilateral medical and health cooperation.
4. The 2020 Central Vietnam Reading Promotion Project: Taiwan-Vietnam Enhanced Cooperation Plan, conducted by ZSF Taiwan, will invite Vietnamese education officials and educators to Taiwan for visiting schools. Taiwanese educators will also visit Vietnam to evaluate the results of the reading promotion project’s teacher-training program. Additionally, Taiwan and Vietnam will collaborate to develop localized teaching materials to enhance exchanges and cooperation in academic and educational fields. Through this project, ZSF Taiwan has been promoting reading for the past 11 years and has established reading rooms and conducted teacher training in 200 local primary schools in central Vietnam.
5. The GOH 2020 Asian Girl Empowerment Project will hold human-rights advocacy technology camps and host the Asian Girls Awards to enhance gender-equality education. Through the project, the GOH will share Taiwan’s experience and achievements in women’s empowerment and youth human rights with Asian countries and the international community.
At the ceremony, the NGO representatives introduced their projects and received feedback. Attendees brainstormed methods to better integrate the resources of both the public and private sectors so as to synergize efforts and achieve public diplomacy objectives. (E)