He is perhaps the only ambassador who conducts "diplomacy" and fosters a positive image of his nation by jogging for 111 days across the Sahara Desert.
When Kevin Lin (
It should come as no surprise then that the nation's most vocal proponent of soft power -- Vice President Annette Lu (
PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES
"In an age of increasing troubles and conflict, ambassadors of peace, such as those feted here today, are as important to us as ever," Lu said in a keynote speech at the ceremony.
As of yesterday, there were some 145 newly inaugurated Taiwanese Ambassadors of Peace in a global organization boasting 250,000 such "ambassadors," said Chang Bo-ya (
"If more people from more countries join [the Universal Peace Federation]," Chang told the audience, "we could make further strides in preventing war and conflict."
Established in 1999 as an NGO with "special consultative status" to the UN's Economic and Social Council, the Universal Peace Federation's primary function is to provide conflict resolution services.
Boasting thousands of politically influential supporters and "ambassadors" worldwide, the federation has been especially active in global hotspots like the Middle East, mobilizing members to facilitate dialogue between Israel and its enemies, said Chang Ching-yu (
"This is both a global and local movement," he said.
"Any global movement needs to be strong at the local level," he said. "We need to start by fostering harmonious individuals, harmonious families."
Aside from Lin, scores of doctors, goodwill volunteers and civil service workers were also feted as Ambassadors of Peace yesterday for their altruistic work at the grassroots level.
They included Chiayi City Councilor Lin Sheng-fen (
She broke the girl's fall and saved her, but suffered severe paralysis on her left side -- a lifelong injury for which Lin Sheng-fen forgave the jumper and which has spurred her to focus on protecting the rights and needs of her disabled constituents.
"I didn't die," she said as she joined the league of "peace ambassadors."
"I want to dedicate my life to bettering society," she said.
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