President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday expressed hope that the National Youth Commission’s “genial and amiable” image would continue even after the commission is dissolved on Tuesday.
Ma, who doubles as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, made the comment at a meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee in Taipei, during which National Youth Commission Minister Chen Yi-chen (陳以真) was asked to present a report on the commission’s interactions with the nation’s youth.
Under the government’s restructuring plan, the commission will be replaced by the Ministry of Education’s Youth Development Administration, which will be established on Tuesday. However, some of the commission’s duties will fall under the jurisdictions of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Council of Labor Affairs.
“The commission has made several great achievements since its establishment in 1966 and Chen Yi-chen has spared no effort in her work as the National Youth Commission minister, despite having known since the day she assumed the post that the commission will soon become history,” Ma said, adding that Chen’s spirit was admirable.
Expressing gratitude for Chen’s dedication, Ma said the commission had become more lively and vivacious under her leadership, a change that was truly comforting.
Ma said he hoped to see the agency’s amicable and easy-going attitude in its dealing with young people continued by the government departments that are set to carry on its missions.
Recalling his time as a student in the US, Ma said he had flown back to Taiwan just to take part in a national development research symposium held by the commission and that he was impressed by the agency’s positive influence on young people.
Ma said the agency’s influence was evidenced by the fervent response to its youth volunteer program, which has attracted more than 720,000 young people.
“As former US president John F. Kennedy once said: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,’ a remark followed about a month later by his announcement of the establishment of the Peace Corps,” Ma said.
The Peace Corps is a volunteer program that send participants to various countries to teach and facilitate democracy after undergoing a three-month training session, Ma said, adding that the program has had a significant impact on generations of young Americans.
Ma said the experience of volunteer work has also changed some of the children of his relatives, who have “become more caring, understanding, humble and diligent only after six months of volunteering abroad.”