US lawmakers to meet Ma
Two members of the US House of Representatives said they will meet with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during a transit stop in New York City on his way to Paraguay later this month. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and the committee’s ranking member, Representative Eliot Engel, said they planned to go to New York for the meeting. Royce, a Republican who led a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan early this year, said he hopes to visit again next year to discuss trade and investment issues, while Engel, a Democrat, said he hopes to continue to improve bilateral relations. Ma is scheduled to visit Paraguay and four Caribbean allies from Aug. 11 to Aug. 22.
New AIT official starts job
Joseph Bookbinder has assumed duties as the head of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) Public Diplomacy Section, the institute said in a statement yesterday. Bookbinder took up his new post on Thursday, following former section head Sheila Paskman’s return to the US for a new posting, it said. A Foreign Service officer for 21 years, Bookbinder’s most recent overseas assignment was head of the Public Diplomacy Section at the US consulate in Hong Kong from 2009 to last year, during which time he worked on various press, cultural and education programs, the statement said. He has also served in New Dehli, India, and Chengdu and Beijing in China. His most recent domestic posting was as an assessor with the Board of Examiners from last year to this year, it added. Bookbinder, a Long Island native, holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University, the AIT said.
Center in India opens
A Taiwanese educational program at a state-funded university in India to help promote Chinese language-learning has opened. Speaking at the opening ceremony on Thursday, S.M. Sajid, president of Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, said he was grateful for Taiwan’s help in providing language teachers, because India does not have enough teachers who can teach Chinese. The education center, which teaches traditional Chinese characters, can better showcase the beauty and essence of Chinese culture, Representative to India James Tien (田中光) said. The Ministry of Education has designated National Tsing Hua University to promote higher education exchanges in India. Six other Taiwanese have been posted to two other centers in India to teach Chinese, at O.P. Jindal Global University Haryana state and at Amity University in Uttar Pradesh.
Party planned for panda
The female panda born on July 6 at Taipei Zoo will be one month old on Tuesday, and to celebrate, the zoo yesterday said it will throw a two-hour party tomorrow. The zoo will also launch a contest to formally name the cub, which is now known as “Rice Meatball” (圓仔). The cub was the result of four years of artificial insemination attempts between Tuan Tuan (團團) and Yuan Yuan (圓圓), the pandas given to Taiwan by China in 2008. Zoo officials said the cub is thriving and now weighs 1.054kg. In Chinese culture, there is traditionally a celebration for a baby’s first month. Zoo officials said its other newborns will also be included in the party: a male white rhinoceros born on Feb. 2, five raccoons born on March 23 and a siamang born on July 3. The party will take place between 10am and noon, the zoo said.