Taiwan is a leader in infectious disease prevention, disaster relief and other areas, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen said yesterday, urging Taiwanese to take pride in the nation.
Christensen made the remarks while opening the touring exhibition “US-Taiwan Relations Since 1979” at the National Taipei University (NTPU) library in New Taipei City’s Sansia District (三峽).
It is the first time that the exhibition, which has been on a nationwide tour since 2018, is visiting a university campus. It features photographs, documents and videos highlighting the AIT’s role in supporting US-Taiwan relations since the US’ Taiwan Relations Act took effect in 1979.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
Opening the exhibition along with NTPU president Lee Chen-jai (李承嘉), Christensen said in his keynote speech that the AIT’s theme this year is the US and Taiwan being “real friends” making “real progress.”
The US and Taiwan have shared values in political, economic and international issues, including “exporting solutions, rather than problems,” he said.
Exemplifying “real friends” and “real progress” in practical terms, he said that “the AIT is working with the Taiwan authorities on activities that ensure that countries throughout the Indo-Pacific and around the world understand that Taiwan is a leader in fields like infectious disease prevention, disaster relief, women’s economic empowerment and combating drug trafficking.”
“These activities reaffirm the critical need to expand Taiwan participation in the international community and its role in global problem solving,” he said.
“The latest issue of the Journal of American Medical Association highlighted just one example of this in describing Taiwan’s impressive handling of the coronavirus outbreak as a model of rapid and efficient response to the crisis,” Christensen said.
He encouraged students to “pick a place where your voice will be heard,” such as Taiwan and the US, to spend their “precious time” during the formative years of their education and career.
Christensen urged the attendees to “take pride in Taiwan,” saying that they should feel proud to represent a society whose democratic transformation and economic development are models for the world, even though “all democracies face roadblocks and gridlock.”
“And when you’re not satisfied with the direction of your society or government policies, the answer is not apathy; it’s more engagement. It’s your voice. It’s your vote,” he said.
The exhibition is to stay at NTPU until March 29, when it would travel to National Sun Yat-sen University and National Cheng Kung University in the south, Tunghai University in Taichung, National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu City, and National Taiwan University in Taipei.
The AIT chose NTPU as the first stop in the exhibition’s university tour due to its academic reputation, established history of academic exchanges as well as its beautiful campus, AIT Public Affairs Officer Jamie Dragon said.
The exhibition’s content largely mirrors that of previous tours, but also features new materials from the AIT’s celebration of its 40th anniversary, he added.
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