Taiwan should set up a cultural center in Turkey to teach Mandarin and promote cultural exchanges and mutual understanding, former minister of education Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) said in a speech yesterday.
Following the establishment of a Mandarin language center in India in 2011, the Ministry of Education should consider setting up a similar cultural center in Turkey, an important emerging Islamic country, Tzeng said.
“We hope to expand the reach of the Chinese language to more parts of the world,” Tzeng said in the speech organized by the Taipei-based Formosa Institute.
Such a center will help promote Taiwanese culture in Turkey and draw more people to Taiwan to learn how it preserves its historical heritage, he said.
“This kind of exchange is a way of exporting culture and creativity,” he said.
Tzeng, a distinguished research fellow at Academia Sinica, said he would bring up the issue with education officials.
The Ministry of Culture floated a similar concept in October last year, contending that opening a cultural center in Turkey would advance Taiwan’s cultural exchanges with the Islamic world.
Taiwan has relied greatly on networks with the US and Europe in the past, and the ministry hoped to build more connections with Latin America and the Islamic world, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said at the time.
Asked about the minister’s vision, Tzeng said the center he was proposing would focus more on teaching Mandarin.
Tzeng also spoke on globalization, saying that Taiwan needed to make more of an effort if it wanted to be part of the trend.
Taiwan had to become more open toward foreign talent by improving benefits for foreigners, he said.