Tsai Ing-wen announces launch of new foundation

‘LIGHTING A MATCH’::Tsai says that the foundation will develop charity projects and public policy, but it will be free from partisanship. It launched its Web site on Sunday

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Aug 07, 2012 - Page 3

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday officially announced the establishment of her foundation, the Thinking Taiwan Foundation, an organization which aims to develop charity projects and public policy.

“While it takes piles of cash to fill up a room, you can light up a room with a match. And that is what we’re trying to do,” said Tsai, who will chair the foundation, at the opening ceremony.

The foundation aimed to light three matches for Taiwan — deliberation and discussion of public policy, action to show compassion to local communities and acting as a catalyst for social action through participation, Tsai said of her first major move after losing the January presidential election.

“The ultimate goal would be to further the power of thinking, the power of action and the power of society,” said Tsai, whom many supporters expect to make another run for president in 2016.

Public policy is important because it would determine Taiwan’s future, which is bleak in many people’s eyes at present, she said.

Her foundation is determined to commit to charity works because over the years she has seen so many ordinary citizens and organizations get involved to help society move forward, she added.

The two primary goals are all about the people, she said.

“The most beautiful thing about Taiwan is its people. Without these passionate and sincere people, Taiwan would be a hollow place,” she said.

That was also why Tsai intended to make the foundation, which is funded from the NT$120 million (US$4 million) election subsidy Tsai received, free from political ideology and partisanship.

Among the board members of the foundation are former DPP secretary-general Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), Tsai’s running mate in the presidential election; former Chunghwa Telecom chairman Hochen Tan (賀陳旦); former deputy chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Chang Ching-sen (張景森); journalist Antonio Chiang (江春男); and political commentator Yao Li-ming (姚立明).

Former finance minister Lin Chuan (林全) will serve as the foundation’s chief executive director.

The “Thinking Taiwan Forum” Web site, which was launched on Sunday, will play an integral part of public policy and social issues deliberation, Lin said.

The Web site will publish articles written by young professionals, academics, activists and prominent writers in six broad categories: including democracy, law, China affairs, economic affairs, society and culture.

The foundation also plans to hold open and closed-door conferences and workshops on various topics, Lin said.

According to Lin, the first closed-door conference on Taiwan’s future economic development model is scheduled to be held on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15. The conference will have panel discussions on macroeconomics, cross-strait economy, global economy, governance and a general discussion.

While the foundation will try to avoid political influence, Tsai will not shy from making political comments as a politician and a former presidential candidate, Lin said.

Tsai’s political affairs will be handled by her office, rather than the foundation, Lin said.