New Memorandum of Understanding between Flanders and Taiwan
The Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium has worked to expand academic ties between Flanders and Taiwan for many years. This has resulted in several Flemish universities, such as the Catholic University of Leuven and Ghent University, and academic institutions in Taiwan forming strong, long-lasting links.
In 2014, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education and the Flemish Department of Education and Training worked to further enhance academic ties and to include other education levels, and this resulted in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation and Exchanges between the Department of Education and Training of the Flemish Community (Kingdom of Belgium) and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China (Taiwan) on July 17, 2014. This agreement covered compulsory, higher, adult and language education, as well as vocational education and training; the first such agreement that was signed by a Taiwan and a Belgian governmental authority. Within it, the Flemish Community emphasized giving priority to teacher training, quality assurance, and language, mathematics, and science and technology education. A working group would facilitate exchanges of best practices and could determine new projects.
In 2018, the MOU was renewed for another three years during a higher education delegation visit from Taiwan. Both parties wanted to continue enhancing understanding and interaction between their education institutions and government authorities, to shape the multi-faceted and cross-border cooperation strategy, and to jointly work with government agencies involved.
Since then, Taiwan has expanded the cooperation with Flanders in many fields, leading to bilateral agreements concerning public health and welfare, environmental policy, innovation and clean technologies, business and investment, employment and vocational training, science, and renewable energy, as well as education. It was therefore decided to put these separate agreements under one overarching memorandum of understanding to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and relations.
On January 19, 2022, Julie Bynens, Secretary-General of Flanders Chancellery and Foreign Office, and Harry Ho-Jen Tseng, Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the new overarching Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Flanders and Taiwan. The signing ceremony was held in hybrid mode. The Flemish delegation, led by Secretary-General Julie Bynens, and the Taiwanese delegation, led by Representative Tsai Ming-Yen from the Taipei Representative Office in Brussels, met at the Errera House for the ceremony, and the Taiwanese officials in Taipei joined virtually.
Under the new memorandum of understanding, a biannual joint commission will be established to review and enlarge cooperation.