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University of Mississippi Delegation Impressed by Taiwan’s Excellent Handling of the COVID-19 Crisis

The Ole Missi delegation led by Dr. Noel Wilkin, Provost and Chief Academic Officer with Dr. Chen Kuo-Jung, Dean of the College of Humanities

At the beginning of March, Dr. Noel Wilkin, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at the University of Mississippi visited Taiwan for a week, accompanied by Dr. Lee Cohen, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts; Dr. Donald Dyer, Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts; Dr. Daniel O’Sullivan, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages; Dr. Henrietta Yang, Associate Professor of Chinese; and Ms. Blair McElroy, Director of the Office of Global Engagement.

The delegation visited National Chung Cheng University and signed a memorandum of understanding for holding Summer Camps there for students in the Chinese Flagship Program and those with a Project Global Officer scholarship (these are U.S. Department of Defense scholarships for students in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to study critical languages).

The University of Mississippi established a Chinese Language Flagship Program in 2003. This is a five-year undergraduate program which now includes a nine-week summer session in Taiwan, and internship experiences. The university began a partnership with National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan in 2019, and eight University of Mississippi students participated in the first summer session, learning more of the Chinese language and about Taiwanese culture. It was a big success and received very positive feedback. National Chung Cheng University hopes to host more than 40 students for the 2020 summer session, as long as the Covid-19 situation allows it.

The delegation also visited Tamkang University and several cultural sites in Taipei and Chiayi. As well as enjoying Taiwan’s cuisine and culture, the visitors were thoroughly impressed by the way Taiwan is handling the COVID-19 crisis to stop the spread of the pandemic. For example, everywhere the delegation went, people wore masks and they had their temperature taken and sanitized their hands as they moved in and out of public buildings.

The university also is currently working with the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston to apply for Ministry of Education assistance to recruit Mandarin teachers from Taiwan.