TECRO in the US and AIT Launch a US–Taiwan Education Initiative to Expand Cooperation on Language Education
Hsiao Bi-khim, Representative of the Republic of China in the United States, and Ingrid Larson, the managing director of the Washington headquarters of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on International Education Cooperation in a virtual ceremony on December 2, 2020. They were joined by Dr. Mitchell Zais, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, Marie Royce, the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Yuri Chih, the Director of the Education Division at TECRO (the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States).
This MOU will enhance cooperation between Taiwan and the US on education in the language exchange area. As Representative Hsiao stated, there’s “no better way to strengthen the foundations of this relationship than by encouraging new exchanges and friendships among our students.”
AIT Director Christensen explained, “The Initiative is aimed at expanding access to Chinese and English language instruction, while safeguarding academic freedom.” Two appendices attached to the MOU list Taiwan-sponsored Mandarin language programs in the U.S., and U.S.-sponsored Mandarin language programs including the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI–Y).
International exchange programs for young Americans are crucial for promoting cross-cultural understanding. Programs involving cultural immersion and language study will provide more opportunities for “citizen diplomacy” and cultural dialogue between the US and Taiwan. These will include programs for American high school students to study in Taiwan while staying with a Taiwanese host family.