A group of young professionals from Russia, Israel, Mongolia and Ukraine yesterday said they are excited to visit Taiwan for this year’s International Youth Taiwan Camp program.
“I’m really looking forward to learning more about Taiwan, about its culture, about the politics as a political activist,” said Hadas Grinvalde, a 33 year-old Israeli parliamentary assistant.
Grinvalde is one of the 20 people on the 10-day government-sponsored program that began on Sunday and sends them around the nation to gain an understanding of its political, economic and cultural environment, high-tech sector, environmental initiatives and international humanitarian aid efforts.
Grinvalde said she is interested in Taiwan’s history, current development and how it perceives itself in the world.
She said she could probably help strengthen the relationship between the Israeli parliament and Taiwan after her trip.
Anna Zaytseva, a Russian opera singer and actress, said she would like to learn more about the cultural and arts scene and about opportunities for Russia and Taiwan to cooperate in opera and TV series.
Zaytseva, 32, is also a cultural adviser to the Representative Office in Taipei for the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation.
The group will visit Development Center for Biotechnology in New Taipei, a recycling park set up by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation to focus on environmental protection education, the National Center for Traditional Arts and the King Car Whisky Distillery in Yilan County, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Representative Simona Halperin said the program is a great initiative to introduce Taiwan to future leaders of the four countries, adding that the Israeli delegation comprises elites in politics, trade, music and East Asian studies.
Halperin said she hopes that the young Israelis will get to see the rich culture and history of Taiwan, its strength in high technology and the friendliness of its people.
“Taiwan is a fantastic and beautiful country, and people in Israel don’t know that,” she said.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Ko (柯森耀) said cultural and youth exchanges have become an integral part of Taiwan’s relations with other countries in recent years.
“We hope that by holding a variety of events, we can better leverage Taiwan’s soft power,” Ko said.
The International Youth Taiwan Camp program was launched in 2009 as part of the government’s efforts to promote the country’s international image, the ministry said.