Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Wu confers medal on Robert Forden

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Outgoing American Institute in Taiwan Deputy Director Robert Forden, left, makes the thumbs-up sign after receiving an award from Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday conferred the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy to outgoing American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Deputy Director Robert Forden, praising him as the most deserving recipient of the award due to his contributions to the long-standing Taiwan-US relationship.

A conferment ceremony at the ministry was attended by several ministry and AIT officials, including AIT Director Kin Moy, who is also expected to leave his post this summer.

“I know that Rob has a deep fondness for Taiwan. Not the least because [his wife Chi] Jasmine (紀惠娟) is originally from Kaohsiung, but he has an abiding belief in the values we share and the interests Taiwan and the US have in common,” Wu said.

With Forden’s encouragement and support, as well as the efforts of Moy and his team, Taiwan-US relations have made remarkable progress since the two assumed their posts in 2015, including Taiwan’s inclusion in the US Global Entry program in November last year and the holding of 11 capacity-building workshops under the bilateral Global Cooperation and Training Framework, Wu said.

“Furthermore, in less than one week’s time, we will open the new AIT compound here, which is a concrete symbol of the US commitment to Taiwan,” Wu said.

After nearly nine years of construction, the AIT’s new office in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) is slated to be unveiled on Tuesday next week. The actual relocation is expected to be complete in September.

In his speech, Forden said that US-Taiwan relations have made several breakthroughs over the past three years, most significantly in how both sides worked together through two government transitions — one in Taipei in May 2016 and one in Washington in January last year — to ensure that bilateral relations stayed strong throughout the process.

Having worked at the AIT four times over the past 30 years, Forden said it was particularly impressive for him to come back to Taiwan this time, because he was able to see Taiwan’s democracy at work again during the 2016 presidential election.

“[I was] reminded of what a great example Taiwan can be for everyone throughout the region and elsewhere,” Forden said.

Forden said as Moy and he have worked to ensure that the AIT is well-positioned to continue building the strength of US-Taiwan ties, he felt confident that “we have set the AIT and US-Taiwan relations up for success for many years to come.”

Forden is scheduled to leave his post on June 18, AIT spokeswoman Sonia Urbom said yesterday.

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