Taiwan Alumni Association launched in Toronto to make more Canadian scholars aware of Taiwan
The Taiwan Alumni Association in Toronto (TAAT) was officially launched at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto on November 30, 2017. The occasion was hosted by Aaron Wilson, a University of Toronto graduate student, and Joannie Fu, a University of Toronto undergraduate student. Three VIPs were invited to give remarks: Prof. Tong Lam, Director of the Global Taiwan Studies Program (GTS) at the university, Catherine Y. M. Hsu, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Toronto, and Prof. Chih C. Chao, former Vice President of Tunghai University in Taiwan. More than 50 people attended the launch, including members of the academic and business communities in the Greater Toronto Area who have studied in Taiwan with various Taiwan fellowships or grants, or who have business connections in Taiwan, and local Taiwanese community leaders. In his remarks, Prof. Lam shared his thoughts about and experience of twice receiving a Taiwan Fellowship grant. He believed that this has helped him to further his understanding of cross-strait and Asia-Pacific affairs, commenting that Taiwan’s abundant historical resources and material had led him to observe China from Taiwan’s perspective. Catherine Hsu was very happy to witness the birth of the new association, which, she believes, will become a platform for exchanges between academics working in Taiwan-related fields, and friends of Taiwan. Prof. Chao then addressed the guests, saying that he had volunteered to be TAAT’s advisor because he believed that his experiences working in both Taiwan and Canada could help TAAT to grow. He also stressed that Taiwan and Canada were already closely linked in many ways, for example, the first Canadian missionary in Taiwan George Leslie Mackay who is well-known in Taiwan (Mackay arrived in what was then called “Formosa” in 1872, and subsequently established schools and a hospital practicing Western medicine, as well as churches.); Pierre Loisel, a Canadian engineering professional who now lives in Taiwan; and he himself, a Taiwanese Canadian who has lived and worked in both Canada and Taiwan. Given these links, Prof. Chao believes that Canada and Taiwan should increase exchanges and cooperation in the future. Four students who have received Taiwan-related scholarships and awards then shared some of their wonderful memories of living and studying in Taiwan. They were Angela Hsu and Joannie Fu, recipients of the Global Taiwan Research Projects Award; Melinda Jacobs, recipient of the Social Innovation Research Group Award, and Aaron Wilson, recipient of a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. Alicia Wang, Director of Toronto TECO, gave an outline of some of the many scholarships and grants offered by the ROC government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Taiwan Fellowship, the Ministry of Education’s Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, Academia Sinica’s Taiwan International Graduate Program scholarships, the Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies offered by the Center for Chinese Studies at the National Central Library, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Fellowships and Grants, the Overseas Community Affairs Council’s Language Study Camp for Expatriate Youth, and others. She then announced this year’s Taiwan Fellowship winners from the region within the jurisdiction of TECO in Toronto: Prof. Blaine Chiasson of Wilfrid Laurier University, and Prof. Luo Hai from the University of Manitoba. Photo:More than 50 members of the academic, business, and Taiwanese communities in the Greater Toronto Area attended the launch.