Fri, Apr 29, 2005 - Page 2 News List

International center for volunteer work founded in Taipei

HELPING OUTThe office will focus on tasks such as expanding Internet networks for volunteer efforts and sponsoring seminars and training camps


An International Resources Center (IRC) under the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) was established in Taipei yesterday, marking the first international non-governmental organization (NGO) to open such a center in Taiwan.

The IAVE-IRC -- the third office of its kind that the IAVE has established worldwide -- will focus on expanding Internet networks for international volunteer efforts, building an IAVE library, establishing a publication center and sponsoring seminars and training camps on volunteering and youth services, said Liz Burns, IAVE president and chief administrator.

Burns, who traveled to Taiwan to attend the opening of the center, and Li-chiun Cheng (鄭麗君), chairwoman of the National Youth Commission (NYC), presided over a ceremony held at the NYC headquarters to kick off the IAVE-IRC's operations.

Keen expectations

Addressing the opening ceremony, Burns expressed her keen expectations that the center will help beef up partnerships between international volunteers and their Taiwanese counterparts and will obtain enthusiastic support from Taiwanese society.

Cheng said that the opening of the center represents a physical link-up between Taiwan's volunteers and their global counterparts, and a vision that more people in Taiwan will join the "volunteer family" so that they can carry out their responsibilities as members of the civilized world.

Chiang Kuo-chiang (江國強), a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official in charge of international NGO affairs, who also spoke at the ceremony, said that the ministry plans to publish a book to give an account of its efforts in NGO work over the last five years since the ministry's NGO Committee was established.

Fresh starting point

Wendy Stratton, the first executive director of the IAVE-IRC, expressed hope that Taiwan will be a base and a fresh starting point for her to further promote international volunteerism and youth services worldwide.

Stratton, a retired geography teacher from Canada, has been involved in international volunteer services for more than 20 years.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who has long promoted volunteerism and youth services, met Burns in Taipei last year when she traveled to Taiwan at the invitation of the Asia Pacific Public Affairs Forum.

During that visit, Burns also presided over a ceremony marking the establishment of the IAVE Taiwan.

Burns, a teacher-turned-volunteer from Scotland, was elected director of the Volunteer Development Scotland in 1983. She was then chosen as chief administrator for the IAVE in 2001.

Founded in 1970, the IAVE is the only international organization with the mission of promoting, celebrating and strengthening volunteerism worldwide. Working closely with the UN Volunteers, the group was instrumental in getting the UN General Assembly to declare 2001 the International Year of Volunteers.

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