Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) is set to open the 2012 International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference today in Taipei.
Lu, founding president of BPW Taiwan, said yesterday that the conference with the theme “Empowered Women Leading Business and the Green Economy” marks a step in Taiwan’s international participation.
“Women better understand the hardships arising from a natural disaster or an economic recession. Women deserve more encouragement and support for their innovation and contribution to the green economy in the 21st century,” she said.
The conference, which is expected to attract 350 participants, caused controversy when the government rejected a visa application for the Dalai Lama, who had been invited as a special guest.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not provide a specific reason for the rejection, other than saying it was not an “opportune time,” prompting accusations that the government was bowing to Chinese pressure.
“As for His Holiness the Dalai Lama attending the conference, he is welcome to travel to Taiwan in due course; however, we need to arrange a more opportune time for his visit,” Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) wrote in his reply on Nov. 16 to BPW International president Freda Miriklis’ inquiry about the visa.
Nevertheless, the Tibetan spiritual leader will give an address highlighting “human values” and the importance of reducing the wealth gap between countries in a pre-recorded video for the conference, Lu said.
The conference runs until Monday at the Grand Hotel.