Sun, Feb 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Burghardt named as new AIT chair

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced the appointment of Raymond Burghardt yesterday as the new chairman of the institute's board, filling the vacancy that has been open since former AIT chairwoman Therese Shaheen resigned in April 2004.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Michel Lu (呂慶龍) yesterday welcomed the appointment and expressed his wish for the continued expansion of substantive bilateral relations between Taiwan and the US.

The AIT also announced the appointment of Barbara Schrage as the AIT's Managing Director, and she remains a Board Trustee along with David Brown, an AIT statement said yesterday.

Burghardt is currently the Director of East-West Seminars at the East-West Center in Honolulu and will continue to hold that position while serving concurrently as the AIT chairman, the statement said.

Burghardt told the Taipei Times in an interview that the AIT chairman's position has been switched to a part-time job because of the general improvement in the outreach of Taiwanese officials in Washington to the Bush administration and other policy centers in the US capital.

Burghardt, 61, previously served as Ambassador to Vietnam from 2001 to 2004.

He was also the Director of the AIT in Taiwan between 1999 and 2001, where he and the then deputy director Stephen Young, who was recently appointed the new director of AIT Taipei, won praise from officials for their work in establishing communications between Washington and the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration.

"He [Young] and Ray Burghardt were instrumental in establishing channels of communication with the Chen team before the March 2000 election ... [and because of those communications], the transition in the spring of 2000 was smoother, and the US-Taiwan dimension of the transition was far smoother," former AIT chairman Richard Bush said recently.

Burghardt has also previously served as the American Consul General in Shanghai and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassies in Manila and Seoul.

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