Thu, Sep 09, 2010 - Page 2 News List

ROC centennial homestay program aimed at young

100 NATIONSCouncil for Cultural Affairs chief Emile Sheng said the idea was to allow foreign youth to experience the culture of ‘ordinary Taiwanese’

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan is going to invite several hundred young foreigners to spend two weeks living with Taiwanese families as part of the celebration for the centennial anniversary of the Republic of China (ROC) next year, the Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA) said yesterday.

Council of Cultural Affairs Minister Emile Sheng (盛治仁), who doubles as chief executive officer of the ROC Centenary Foundation, told a press conference that the council plans to provide home stay opportunities to young people from 100 nations next August so they can experience “the culture of ordinary Taiwanese.”

Participants will stay with host families around the nation, not just families in major cities, he said and all their trip expenses will be covered.

“We hope to bring youngsters who have made special achievements in their own countries, such as winners of literary competitions,” Sheng said, adding that there would be two to three slots for each nation.

The council has not said which 100 nations would be included.

Sheng said the council would soon invite bids for the plan, and then it would begin to accept recommendations and applications.

A highlight of the homestay program would be a trip to Kinmen on Aug. 23 to join the inaugural ceremony of a “peace bell” made from bomb shells used in the “823 Battle,” Sheng said.

The battle began on Aug. 23, 1958, with a heavy Chinese bombardment of Kinmen — the People’s Liberation Army fired more than 30,000 shells in the first 85 minutes.

“We hope the participants will document their experiences on blogs during and after their stay in Taiwan,” Sheng said.

The council has not finished its budget proposal for the program, but Sheng said he hoped the legislature would support the plan once the budget request is submitted.

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the homestay program was meant to showcase the nation’s infrastructure and Taiwan’s soft power to youngsters from around the globe.

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