Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday sat down with the 22 members of the newly established Executive Yuan Youth Advisory Group and promised to meet with them every three months to exchange views on public policies.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said Jiang values very much the input of young people on government policies and would like to set up a mechanism to facilitate communication between Cabinet officials and the young.
The Cabinet recruited 27 people aged 18 to 35 to form the advisory group after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said during a speech to mark his six years in office that he would like his administration to include young people who can participate in the policy decisionmaking process.
Ma’s idea was clearly a response to the student-led Sunflower movement in March, which occupied the legislative chamber to protest the Ma administration’s attempt to push the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement through the legislature.
Among the 27 people selected from among 248 applicants, two resigned before the first meeting and three did not attend the meeting, the Executive Yuan said.
The meeting with the advisory group was closed to media.
Jiang said during his opening remarks that he would encourage each government agency to form its own advisory group for young people to advise the government about their concerns and participate in the policymaking process.
There has been a lack of communication between young adults and government officials, which has hindered youth public participation, while government officials tend to care more about people who have successful careers than young people in general, he said.
He said the government would use the platform to better communicate with young people and to encourage them to voice their views.
At the meeting, Chen Sheng-kai (陳聖凱), a member of the Youth Advisory Group who works as an executive board member at a private company, said he has long been disappointed with politics and the government.
Now, standing in front of the national flag at the Executive Yuan, he said, he felt that he is part of the country.
“Since deciding to come to the Executive Yuan, I will speak out all my real thoughts,” Chen said.
Zuvio Tech cofounder Chao Shih-lung (趙式隆) said he believes people are capable of changing the government.
“To change a governmental policy, people need to make an effort within and outside the system,” he said, expressing hope that he can contribute within the system.
A long-term social volunteer, Lin Li-chan (林麗蟬), a Cambodian married to a Taiwanese and who is now taking a master’s program in non-profit organization management at National Chi Nan University, said she wants to take different voices from all walks of life to the Executive Yuan.