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U.S.–Taiwan Partner Universities Unveil Mandarin Center Plaque

Dignitaries at the Mandarin Center plaque unveiling ceremony

On November 21, a delegation from Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, led by its president, Professor Margaret Mei-Hua Chen, and accompanied by Robert Lo, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston, and Andrea Yang, Director of the Education Division there, visited the University of St. Thomas (UST) to renew the sister universities’ agreement between the two universities, and to attend a ceremony unveiling a plaque at the Mandarin Center at UST. The Center was established as the result of a pioneering collaboration between the two higher learning institutions.
Among the dignitaries attending the unveiling ceremony were Dr. Richard Lukwick, the president of UST; Dr. Christopher Evans, vice president of UST; Dr. Hans Stockton, Chief International Officer at UST; and Dr. Yeh Yao-Yuan, the Chair of the Department of International Studies and Contemporary Languages and Director of the Mandarin Center, together with Prof. Shih Chung-Hsien, vice president of Wenzao; Dr. Andre Chang-Mo Hsu, Dean of the College and Operation Center of Mandarin; Dr. Yu Jane Chen, Dean of the Office of International and Cross-strait Cooperation, and Dr. Wang Chi-Hsiang from the Department of Applied Chinese at Wenzao. 
Chief Deputy Mike Lee from Harris County Sheriff's Office, and Assistant Chief Tony Huynh who leads its Administrative Operations Command, which includes Professional Development and Standards Bureau also attended. Law enforcement personnel in Houston have been able to attend Survival Mandarin and Specialized Mandarin for Law Enforcement courses taught by UST for six years now. 
UST president Dr. Richard Lukwick said he will work together with Wenzao and collaborate with TECO and Houston community leaders to promote the various projects of the Mandarin Center, and Wenzao’s president Dr. Margaret Mei-Hua Chen said that Wenzao’s College and Operation Center of Mandarin will continue to provide excellent faculty and teaching resources to consolidate the development of the Mandarin Center. Director General Lo said that he was glad to see the two universities establish the Mandarin Center in September last year and their commitment to promoting the excellency of Taiwan’s Chinese Language education.
The ceremony was followed by a luncheon hosted by UST, after which the delegation visited a class taking the Autumn semester Specialized Mandarin for Law Enforcement course at Harris County Sheriff’s Office taught by Nicole Hsiao and took part in some one-on-one conversation practice with the police officers in the class. 
The Education Division of TECO in Houston arranged visits to Rice University and the University of Houston-Downtown for the Wenzao delegation. At Rice University, they met with Dr. Caroline Levander, International Vice President of Rice University; Dr. Adria Baker, Associate Vice Provost for International Education; and Dr. Helade Scutti Santos, the Director of the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication, and discussed Taiwan’s university-to-university cooperation model for Chinese language teaching. At the University of Houston-Downtown, they met with Dr. Loren Blanchard, the university president; Dr. Deborah Bordelon, the Provost; Dr. Wendy Burns-Ardolino, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Jay Zambrano, Vice President for Advancement and University Relations. They were very interested in Wenzao’s high-tech semiconductor industry training courses, and short-term Chinese language training camps, and areas of potential cooperation, including student exchanges, joint research, and short-term internships, were marked as topics to be further discussed and explored.