More than 100 young people, mostly university students, from all over the country joined the Youth Policy Forum, an annual national meeting organized by the National Youth Commission (NYC), to exchange their thoughts on national policy with the president and premier in Taipei yesterday.
National Youth Commission Minister Lee Yun-jie (李允傑) said the forum was held according to the guidelines of the Youth Policy White Paper and allowed young people to express their creativity and become active in public matters.
The forum is also the first phase in a series of Youth Policy Union activities by the commission, which will be followed by a youth policy development competition, a one-day visit with government senior officials and other activities.
Lee said Taiwanese youth were full of creativity and that the policy proposals presented by them this year were not only creative, but also actionable, adding that the reference and acceptance rates of policy proposals from past forums were also high, at 82.9 percent in 2009 and 88.5 percent last year.
This year, 10 winning student groups presented their policy proposals at the forum. One group said the government should integrate the cultural creative industry with the agricultural sector to help resolve youth unemployment, while another group proposed five steps to help students from China adapt to the culture in Taiwan.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) commented on each group’s policy proposals.
Later, students were asked to respond to eight questions by Ma on the contents of the winning groups’ presentations.
At the end of the session, Ma asked the students whether carbon reduction or the abolition of nuclear energy should be priorities.
In a show of hands, 136 youth said they supported addressing carbon reduction first, with 46 against.
One student said the two options were not necessarily contradictory.
“The two can be done at the same time. While carbon-reducing mechanisms are being implemented, we can develop sustainable power resources to replace nuclear power,” the student said.
In the afternoon, the youth groups presented government officials with their conclusions from a series of round-table talks in which hundreds of young people took part to discuss issues of society, technology, international affairs, culture and the environment.
The talks were held in different parts of the nation prior to the forum.
A common feature of this year’s policy suggestions was that for the proposals to succeed, cross--ministerial cooperation was necessary, Lee said when asked to summarize and contrast this year’s forum with those in the past.