Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai invited a number of foreign dignitaries to a tea party on May 28 for the first time since taking office to share their views on matters concerning cultural exchanges. Lung said that although China’s rise has caught the world’s eye, Taiwan still plays a critical role in the area of international cultural exchanges, and she hopes Taiwan’s cultural centers overseas, which are to be called Taiwan Academies, can encapsulate all of Taiwan’s cultures, art, exhibitions and performances. She said they would be different in nature from China’s Confucius Institutes, but the exact way in which plans will be carried out is still unclear.
Talking to her heart’s content about the ministry’s ideas for cultural exchanges, Lung said that Taiwan has traditionally focused on cultural exchanges with the US and Europe, so she used her time with the dignitaries at the event to express her hopes of strengthening exchanges with Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Representatives from Nigeria, Finland, Israel, and Canada all expressed their wishes for enhancing cultural exchanges with Taiwan based on the special characteristics of their own national cultures as well.
Regarding issues that Taiwan and China might have to deal with in their international cultural exchanges, Lung said that because Taiwan is a free society and its liberal values as a civil society are undeniable, Taiwan should make proper use of its democracy and liberal values to fulfill its crucial role in the international arena instead of belittling itself.
However, when asked about specific ways in which the plans are to be carried out, Lung became more cautious and said that bilateral discussions must be held to decide whether the controversial name “Taiwan Academy” will indeed be accepted, as there are plans to increase the number of academies around the world from three to 11. She also said that Taiwan Academy is currently made up of approximately a dozen different government agencies working together, and she is currently holding discussions with the Cabinet so that it will fall under the control of one governing body.
1. dignitary n.
使節 (shi3 jie2)
例: The foreign dignitaries held a closed-door meeting for nearly five hours.
2. rise n.
崛起 (jue2 qi3)
例: The rise of Apple Inc hit other computer companies quite hard.
3. strategy n.
策略 (ce4 lue4)
例: What sorts of strategies did the company use in this ad?
Before the full meaning of “Taiwan Academy” can actually be realized, Lung proposed that first Taiwanese guest lecturers travel to universities around the globe to disseminate Taiwanese culture, which would include speeches given by Taiwanese artists, writers, humanities scholars, and filmmakers.
Lung also says she would like to add a Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) station to the Public Television Service (PTS), saying that, “China does not really encourage the use of local dialects, and Taiwan’s works in Hoklo are excellent.” There are currently 50 million Hoklo users throughout the world, and Taiwan has the greatest advantage when it comes to Hoklo literature, music and television dramas, but she also admits that without proper funding the only thing that can currently be done is formulating strategies.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoa)