U.S. NSEP Establishes First Chinese Overseas Flagship Center in Taiwan
An opening ceremony for the Chinese Overseas Flagship in Taiwan Program, hosted by National Taiwan University (NTU), was held at the NTU Convention Center on October 28. The Taiwan program center is the seventh Flagship Overseas Center operated by the Language Flagship. This is an initiative funded by the U.S. National Security Education Program (NSEP) to train American students to achieve professional proficiency in select foreign languages deemed critical to their country’s security and economic competitiveness.
Twelve American universities, five of which have partnerships with NTU, have been designated Chinese Flagship Centers and offer Mandarin Chinese within this program. A U.S. student who completes the undergraduate part of the program at one of these universities and achieves an advanced proficiency level (ILR-level 2) in Mandarin Chinese can apply to participate in a final Capstone Year at a Chinese Overseas Flagship Center, such as the new program center at NTU.
The Taiwan Flagship Center was established in June 2019 and 22 students from universities across the U.S. began a Capstone Year there on September 1. During their first semester, the students will undertake language and culture courses and also enroll in a regular NTU course in their own major field of study. In the second semester, they will do internships with Taiwanese businesses and organizations, immersing themselves in professional Mandarin-speaking environments.
Dr. Chao Der-Lin, the Project Director, and director of the Chinese Flagship Center at Hunter College in New York, made introductory remarks at the opening ceremony. She was followed by William Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-Chien, and Dr. Jocelyn Chin-Shu Chang, a Senior Executive Officer at the Ministry of Education. NTU officials, representatives from Mandarin Chinese teaching organizations, and officials from all 12 U.S. Chinese Flagship universities also attended.
The 22 students all introduced themselves in Chinese at the opening ceremony, and Alejandro Quintero from Hunter College, and Jesse Paxton from the University of Mississippi, spoke about their experiences in the program so far. The event ended with the students singing Believe, a song by Yang Pei-An (楊培安), a popular Taiwanese singer.