Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) yesterday said that her ministry would launch a program this year to provide funding for universities and institutes abroad to hold events promoting Taiwanese arts and culture.
Under the program, US$4 million will be provided over four years to select universities and institutes so that they can hold lectures, forums, workshops, exhibitions and festivals featuring Taiwanese art, literature, history, popular culture and film, the ministry said.
The ministry plans to cooperate with 40 universities and institutes under its “cultural spot” program, with seven universities so far having expressed an interest, Lung said at a press conference.
The funding is being donated by Ruentex Group chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑), she said, adding that the private sector can play an important role in promoting Taiwanese arts and culture.
Lung said the ministry would provide full funding for the events in the first year of the program, but hopes that in subsequent years, the universities and institutes will gradually assume responsibility for half of the expenses.
The seven universities that have expressed interest are the University of California, Los Angeles, and Boston University in the US, Leiden University in the Netherlands, the University of British Columbia in Canada, Heidelberg University in Germany, and London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Cambridge University in the UK, the ministry said.
In addition to launching the program, Lung said the ministry now has cultural offices in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Madrid, London, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo and Hong Kong, allowing it to create more opportunities to help Taiwanese writers and artists step onto the international stage.
“The role of overseas offices is to create bridges,” Lung said, adding that the offices are aimed at helping more writers, artists and filmmakers from Taiwan to participate in international exhibitions, competitions and cultural and artistic exchanges.
Separately, Yin announced what he hoped would become known as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize — the Tang Awards — with the aim of raising Taiwan’s profile in the international academic community.
The long-planned awards, created by Yin with the help of Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top research institution, will honor individuals, regardless of nationality, who have made outstanding contributions or who have achieved significant breakthroughs in sustainable engineering, medical and biotech research, Sinology studies and law.
A cash prize of NT$50 million will be presented to the winner in each of the four categories, making the awards more lucrative than the Nobel Prize, which gives winners the equivalent of NT$44 million.
The Tang Awards will be presented every two years, organizers said.