Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 4 News List

COMMUNITY COMPASS: Shilin International Cultural Festival celebrates diversity

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Residents of Taipei City’s Shilin District gathered in Tianmu on Sunday for the 9th annual Shilin International Cultural Festival, an event that attracts thousands of expatriate residents.

In addition to food stalls, eight cultural artifact stalls were set up, with game and health checkup stalls organized by community clinics and hospitals also offered.

Saying that Shilin had always been culturally rich, with famous writers and painters residing in the district for the past 100 years, district Secretary-General Chen Yi-yuan (陳奕源) said the district government had every intention to continue the tradition, while bringing new blood to the community.

“We have three of Taipei’s best-known foreign schools — Taipei American School, Taipei Japanese School and Taipei European School — and many foreign diplomats live here,” he said.

Shilin is the district that has received the highest number of new immigrants — about 2,000, who came from countries such as Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia — and has the largest expatriate population. The district government is dedicated to integrating the different cultures and blending them into one diversified community, Chen said.

“We want to develop Shilin as an ‘international city’ by promoting a more globalized perspective and mutual respect among residents,” he said.

Chen said this year’s event differed from the previous ones in that seven ambassadors from the nation’s diplomatic allies were invited and featured 17 food stalls highlighting cuisine brought into the country by immigrants.

Among the guests was Honduran Ambassador Marlene Villela-Talbott, who has been to Taiwan for six years. During a speech, Villela-Talbott said she was happy to set up her office in the district and hoped to see more such events in future.

Nicaraguan Ambassador to Taiwan William Tapia, as well as Guatemalan Ambassador Ivan Espinoza Farfan, were also present.

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