Former American Institute (AIT) in Taiwan director William Stanton was granted permanent residency yesterday by the Ministry of the Interior after retiring from the post and deciding to stay in Taiwan.
“After learning that Mr Stanton has chosen to remain in Taiwan as a teacher after retiring, I’ve asked the National Immigration Agency [NIA] to assist him in obtaining a permanent alien resident certificate in recognition of his love for Taiwan and a committee [under the ministry] approved the application unanimously,” Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said at a ceremony to award Stanton permanent residency at NIA headquarters in Taipei.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to Mr Stanton for being a friend of Taiwan who can now permanently reside in Taiwan,” he added.
Stanton thanked the ministry for awarding him permanent residency and vowed to continue his work to improve Taiwan-US relations.
“From now on, I am no longer an AIT director; I’ll become just one of the small potatoes. I’ll be teaching at Taipei American School, and meanwhile, I’ll continue to help deepening relations between the Taiwan and the US,” he said.
Stanton said he feels very close to Taiwan because he learned Mandarin in the country before becoming a diplomat.
During his term as AIT director, Stanton had visited every county and city in Taiwan, including the outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Penghu and Green Island.
“I have been to many countries, but Taiwan is the friendliest of all. I love the people of Taiwan and the life in Taiwan,” he said.
With a doctorate in English literature from the University of North Carolina, Stanton will teach English and US literature at the Taipei American School.
He will teach a class on relations between Taiwan, the US and China to senior high-school students.
Permanent residency is awarded to foreign residents in Taiwan who have made a special contribution to the nation and Stanton is the 47th recipient.
He is the fourth retired diplomat to be granted permanent residency, following former Swedish representative to Taiwan Hendrik Bystrom, former Dutch representative Menno Goedhart and former Salvadoran ambassador Francisco Ricardo Santana.
Last month Stanton was awarded the Order of Brilliant Star by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for his contribution to Taiwan-US relations. Ma also gave the former diplomat, who dislikes driving, a customized EasyCard to use on Taipei’s public transportation network
Additional reporting by CNA