An enthusiastic crowd packed the Tabaret Hall at the University of Ottawa on Wednesday evening for the official launch of the chair of Taiwan Studies at the Canadian capital’s top university.
The chair was made possible following an agreement between the university and Taiwan’s Ministry of Education.
The designated titular of the chair is professor Scott Simon from the department of sociology and anthropology, with professor Andre Laliberte of the school of political studies acting as co-chair.
The chair will be interdisciplinary and extend to fields including political studies, anthropology, sociology, economics and development.
During the ceremony, which was co-organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Simon said the university had already signed agreements with five Taiwanese universities.
“In the Faculty of Social Science, we already have two scholars who have been doing Taiwan Studies for well over a decade, with many publications. This is in addition to cutting-edge work in such fields as medicine and the hard sciences done in collaboration between [University of Ottawa] professors and Taiwanese scholars,” he said.
Laliberte said Taiwan’s unique situation could serve as inspiration for a wide number of issues.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to teach our students about this democratic republic, from which we can learn a lot in the fields of science and public policy. Taiwan has a rich political culture and a tumultuous history that is sure to inspire debate in every sector of political science,” Laliberte said. “In the field of comparative politics, Taiwan has, since 1945, served as an experiment, with implications for all the great political questions of our time ... institutional reform, the separation of power and electoral development, all of which are part of the ‘Taiwanese experiment.’”