Thu, Aug 16, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Group of academics forms think tank to lift competitiveness

CASTING A WIDE NET The new organization will research topics ranging from finance and industry to education, energy and government policy

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of academics yesterday announced that they had formed a new think tank aimed at raising Taiwan's competitiveness.

"[This group] is above partisanship. We wanted to contribute the knowledge and wisdom of the academic sector to increase Taiwan's competitiveness," group convenor Jeff Lin (林建甫), an associate dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences at National Taiwan University, said at a press conference.

WIDE RANGE OF TOPICS

Lin said that the new think tank would conduct research on a wide range of topics extending from finance, industry, economics and energy to education, government policy and constitutional development.

It will also host forums every two weeks.

About 55 academics are members of the group, Lin said, adding that political and business experts would also be invited to join discussions.

"We are neither `blue' nor `green.' We are just tired of the `war' between the two parties and want to do something for the country," said Thomas Peng (彭錦鵬), an associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University.

`ON THE TABLE'

The purpose of the think tank is to "put the debate on public policy squarely on the table," Peng said.

Former premier Tan Fei (唐飛) told the press conference that alienated voters require encouragement in order to restore their desire to participate in the electoral system.

"About 4 million eligible voters chose not to vote or cast invalid votes in the last presidential election, meaning that they are fed up with politics," Tan said.

"However, voting is a right as well as responsibility. We must urge them to have their say," he said.

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