Retiring AIT head to teach at Taipei American School

FREE COUNTRY::William Stanton is the third foreign diplomat to choose to stay on in Taiwan — after Henrik Bystrom of Sweden and Menno Goedhart of the Netherlands

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jul 04, 2012 - Page 1

In a decision that departs from his predecessors, retiring American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton yesterday announced his next step — becoming a teacher at Taipei American School.

“I have enjoyed living in Taiwan so much that I have decided to stay on here to teach at the Taipei American School,” Stanton said in a speech at an AIT reception held to mark the 236th anniversary of the US’ Independence Day.

The announcement drew a round of applause from the audience of government and diplomatic officials.

“If I go back to Washington, there are lots of opportunities [to work] in think tanks or to become a lobbyist, but that’s not what I like. I hope I can stay in Taiwan,” Stanton said later in Mandarin on the sidelines of the event.

Scheduled to retire at the end of this month after a diplomatic career spanning 34 years, the 65-year-old Stanton, who holds a doctorate in English literature, said he would teach US-Taiwan-China relations, comparative government, politics and literature, including William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift and George Orwell.

“My life here in Taiwan is comfortable, and it’s convenient. Of course, things will be different after I step down [as AIT director,] since I will be then a small potato, but I am extremely happy that I can stay in Taiwan. I have made some very good friends here, and they are all very warm to me,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Stanton said that the founding fathers of the US came together and risked their lives for freedom and the universal truth that all governments derive their power from the consent of the governed on July 4, 1776.

From that day until now, people around the world, both near and far from the US, have been fighting for freedom and just government, and the people of Taiwan “know how precious freedom is” and freedom “is the fundamental shared value that brings together Americans and Taiwanese,” Stanton said.

“Having served around the world in countries that are free and countries that are not free, I can frankly say that I prefer celebrating this day in a free land like Taiwan,” said Stanton, who was appointed to the position in 2009.

Stanton is the third foreign diplomat recently to choose to continue living in Taiwan after retirement.

Henrik Bystrom, former head of Exportradet Taipei, the Swedish trade council in Taiwan, was granted permanent residency in November 2010. Menno Goedhart, the former Dutch trade representative to Taiwan, began a Dutch heritage project at National Cheng Kung University in May last year.