Memorandum signing to bolster volunteer exchanges

CNA , MADRID

Thu, Aug 19, 2004 - Page 4

The National Youth Commission (NYC) is scheduled to sign a cooperation memorandum with the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) today to further bolster exchanges between Taiwan and major volunteers group around the world.

NYC chairwoman Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) -- who is currently leading a Taiwan delegation at the 18th World Volunteer Conference being held in Barcelona -- will sign a three-way cooperation memorandum with IAVE chief administrator Liz Burns as well as Wu Ying-ming (吳英明), chairman of the IAVE Taiwan.

The 2004 World Volunteer Conference opened in Barcelona Tuesday, with some 2,000 volunteers, officials and volunteer coordinators from around the world participating.

During his keynote speech to the opening of the conference, Spanish Deputy Social and Labor Affairs Minister Amparo Val Cerce cited Cheng and praised Taiwan's longstanding devotion to volunteerism.

Meanwhile, Wu, who is director of Kaohsiung City's Human Resources Development Bureau, was elected one of the 15 new board directors of the IAVE during a board meeting, garnering the highest vote.

During the first-day discussions, five Taiwanese volunteers introduced the current situation and the future development prospects of youth participating in volunteer work and service learning in Taiwan.

The five were William Lee, volunteer team instructor of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) Taiwan; Chen Yu-hsing, volunteer with the Taiwan Information Technology Education Development Association; Kuo Yi-lan, volunteer with the National Palace Museum; Hsieh Wei-cheng, volunteer with the Taiwan Cetacean Society; and Huang Chung-pin, volunteer with the Tien Cultural Foundation.

The Taiwanese volunteers also introduced during the discussions President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) zeal in promoting volunteerism and youth services.

Chen met with Burns in Taipei during the latter's visit from April 25 to May 2. At the invitation of the Asia Pacific Public Affairs Forum, Burns also presided over a ceremony marking the establishment of the IAVE Taiwan on April 26.

Burns, a Scottish teacher-turned-volunteer, was elected director of the Volunteer Development Scotland in 1983. She was then chosen as chief administrator for the IAVE in 2001.

Not long after assuming the administratorship, Burns established the second IAVE office in Scotland. The third of its kind is expected to be established in Taiwan in the near future, Cheng said.

The IAVE office in Taiwan, according to Cheng, will be a center of resources devoted to providing and assisting in Web site coordination and integration of the IAVE's organizational system.

Founded in 1970, the IAVE is the only international organization with the mission of promoting, celebrating and strengthening volunteerism worldwide. Working closely with the United Nations Volunteers, the group was instrumental in getting the U.N. General Assembly to declare 2001 the International Year of Volunteers.

Participants in the 18th World Volunteer Conference, scheduled to be held in Barcelona from Tuesday to Saturday this week, are expected to make the world aware of what volunteer work represents; to carry out in-depth discussions on the ethical framework under which the IAVE will move forward; and to exchange views on the nature of volunteer commitments in the defense of values such as justice and human rights, according to Wu.