ICDF doing great work
After reading Juan Fernando Herrara Ramos’ interview with International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) Deputy Secretary-General Lee Pai-po (李?浡) (“The important role TaiwanICDF plays in Taiwan’s diplomacy,” May 7, page 13), I would like to share my own experience with this organization.
I worked as the ICDF’s English consultant for almost two years from 2000 to 2002. During this time, I worked on dozens of reports and articles that appeared in the ICDF’s quarterly publication: “International Cooperation and Development,” on its Web site (which for a time I redesigned). I edited many reports submitted by ICDF personnel from projects all around the world, and worked closely with a number of foreign and Taiwanese professionals and academics who were also involved.
I even edited the work of former secretary-general Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) and then-acting secretary-general Yang Tzu-pao (楊子葆).
It was a truly satisfying and rewarding experience working at this level on such important projects.
Needless to say, Taiwan’s international aid programs did not begin with the ICDF.
The nation had been distributing technical assistance and aid since it first dispatched agricultural specialists to Africa in the early 1960s, but the ICDF has now taken up this torch in impressive and highly beneficial new ways, and is a modern organization that is at the very forefront of international development — without question a major contribution in global affairs.
I could not agree more with this interview about the importance of the ICDF’s generous work and the way the organization is involved in vital development projects in areas of agricultural development, public health, human resources, education, and business and technology.
To gain an understanding of the range of work I was involved in, I worked on papers and accounts about a bamboo housing project in El Salvador, a tourism development project in Belize, a fishery workshop in the Indo-Pacific region, a Panama fishers’ loan project, cooperative flower production and marketing in Paraguay, and aquaculture development in Saudi Arabia.
It was all an amazing ride, and I felt honored to be so closely associated with these important global development projects. It gave me special satisfaction, as I had obtained a bachelor of arts in international relations from San Francisco State University and I felt this was a true “international” position.
To this day I miss my station there.
One of my key responsibilities at the ICDF was writing an introductory editorial to the quarterly publication. Here I had the honor of writing a memorial after the 9/11 attacks, in which I asked for peace to prevail, and that the ICDF and “all good and hopeful people” pledged “to forever remain involved in mankind, cultivating the best, most constructive, most life-affirming results” in their work.
In another I wrote of the dawning of a new age of possibility for the ICDF, and that the organization was “staying the course” in its efforts “to create prosperity and social stability” in nations worldwide.
A high point of my experience could have been at an anniversary celebration — the ICDF was only five years old at that time — when I (almost) met then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who had come to the office in Taipei’s Tianmu District (天母).
In one work I edited in the quarterly publication, the story Hometown (故鄉) by Chinese author Lu Xun (魯迅) offered some valuable food for thought as we move forward on this cooperative path:
There is nothing concrete about the existence of hope. It is similar to a road. Actually, there was no road before a number of people have walked the path to create it.
With such aims in mind, I look forward to all the cooperative development work that the ICDF can do in the future.
David Russell Pendery
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