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Penn State & National Taiwan Normal University Sign Taiwan Huayu BEST Program: Bilingual Exchanges of Selected Talent Collaboration Agreement

TECO-NY Director-General James K.J. Lee (top right) and other participants at the virtual signing ceremony

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), founded in 1855, is one of the ten largest public universities in the United States and has been dubbed a “Public Ivy” due to its outstanding academic reputation. Penn State and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) established a sister university partnership in 1983.

On November 1, 2021, Penn State and NTNU signed a memorandum of understanding and a collaboration agreement to implement the Taiwan Huayu BEST: Bilingual Exchanges of Selected Talent Program. This makes Penn State the first public university in the eastern United States to collaborate with a university in Taiwan to implement this new program. James K.J. Lee, Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, Dr. Tanya Garcia, acting Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for Postsecondary and Higher Education at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania State Senator Gene Yaw, and Pennsylvania State Representative David Rowe were among those attending the signing ceremony for the commencement of this collaboration. 

The MOU between the two universities was signed by Dr. Eric J. Barron, president of Penn State and Professor Wu Cheng-Chih, president of NTNU, and the collaboration agreement for the Taiwan Huayu BEST Program was signed by Dr. Roger Brindley, Vice Provost for Global Programs at Penn State, and Professor Lin Chun-Chi, Vice President for International Affairs at NTNU.

The Huayu BEST Program is designed to promote Chinese language instruction and learning through academic collaborations between individual universities. NTNU will assist Penn State to establish a Chinese language center and will send two Chinese language instructors on exchange to Penn State. They will also promote the TOCFL Chinese language proficiency tests and Taiwanese culture. Penn State students who receive a Taiwan Huayu BEST Program Long-Term Study Scholarship will go to NTNU for in-depth Chinese language study. While they are in Taiwan, the Penn State students will also assist local elementary schools in New Taipei City in giving their students English language tutorials, and to help implement Taiwan’s English Language Proficiency Enhancement policy under the Hand-in-Hand International Companion Program.

At the signing ceremony, James K.J. Lee mentioned the U.S.–Taiwan Education Initiative that was launched last December, which emphasizes Taiwan’s critical role in providing Mandarin language instruction and the role that the US can play in helping Taiwan achieve its English proficiency goals. This mutually beneficial collaboration will help provide Penn State with valuable Mandarin learning resources and assist elementary school students in Taiwan in improving their English. 

Professor Wu Cheng-Chih, president of NTNU said that his university and Penn State have already enjoyed close partnerships for many years in areas such as research, teaching, and administration. The Taiwan Huayu BEST Program is building on this foundation and marks a new milestone in the relationship between the two universities. NTNU’s world-class Chinese language teaching and learning and the innovative digital tools used by its Overseas Mandarin Training Center will benefit Penn State’s students.