Taipei forum to discuss civic movements in Asia

DRIVING FORCE::The Ministry of Culture stressed the importance of civic participation in achieving social progress and injecting creativity in cultural sectors

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - Page 3

Activists and members of non-governmental organizations (NGO) from several Asian countries will participate in a forum in Taipei this week to exchange views on the development of civic movements in the Asian countries.

The forum on Thursday and Friday will feature speakers from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and China, who will speak about such issues as the rise and power of NGOs, citizens in the Internet age, social enterprises, rural development and LGBT rights.

Among the speakers will be Taiwanese agricultural activist Yang Ju-men (楊儒門); Gao Zhan (高瞻), who created a Chinese bank for the poor; and Yu Fangqiang (於方強), founder of Nanjing Tianxiagong, a China-based group that seeks to eradicate discrimination based on gender, disabilities or HIV status.

Since the 1980s, the rise of civil awareness in Taiwan has injected creativity into the nation’s arts and cultural sectors and given rise to an open society, the Ministry of Culture, which is organizing the forum, said yesterday.

The ministry said it hopes to bring together activists and help establish a network in which participants can communicate and assist each other in their work.

“Civil participation is the driving force behind social progress,” Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said in a statement, urging people from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and China, who come from societies that have experienced different social and environmental developments, to engage in discussions and join forces.

The forum will be held at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications Convention Center.