An institute administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding in Taipei with a US-based think tank to launch a program aimed at training young leaders in Pacific Island countries.
The five-year program between the ministry’s Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs and the East-West Center based in Hawaii is scheduled to start next year, Joseph Shih (石定), president of the institute, said at the signing ceremony.
“The program will see 25 participants [from the region] each year spending two months in Hawaii and one month in Taiwan,” he said.
The Taiwan portion of the training will help participants learn more about the country’s economic development and its long-standing cooperation with Pacific Island nations, Shih added.
“We hope to bring a new resource to the Pacific Islands — a generation of young leaders who will shape the future of the region,” he said.
Meanwhile, East-West President Center Charles Morrison said the program is “to provide leadership training for young Pacific Island leaders and to help them become more effective in their future jobs leading their countries.”
The program is open to any Pacific Island entity, he said.
Asked about the cooperation with Taiwan, Morrison said the nation has great experience in the region working with many Pacific Island governments and societies.
It is also important for Pacific Island leaders to learn about Taiwan’s experience in the areas of economic development, protection of resources and governance, Morrison said.
One of the purposes of the program is to help the participants better understand issues important to the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world, he said.
Taiwan can share its experience of relations in the region, including the Taiwan-China issue, he added.
The decision to launch the program came after a visit to Taiwan by US Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah last year to explore cooperation opportunities, Shih said.
The East-West Center was established by the US Congress in 1960.