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2023 Taiwan Studies Program Seminar at KU Leuven: Social Life and Governance in/after the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Comparison between Taiwan and the EU

Some of the participants in the workshop

In 2017 the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) welcomed its first Taiwan Studies Chair, after signing a collaboration agreement with Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. This year, Dr. Lin Hsien-Ming, from the Center of Teacher Education at National Pingtung University, was appointed as the 2023 Taiwan Study Chair at KU Leuven.

Dr. Lin gave lectures at the Faculty of Social Sciences from April 24 to May 5, 2023,  and on May 3, he hosted a seminar entitled Social Life and Governance in/after the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Comparison between Taiwan and the EU. The seminar was attended by more than 20 academics, in person and virtually. The Education Division at the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium also attended the workshop and observed the academic exchanges between participants in Taiwan and Belgium.

The seminar was opened by Dean Steven Eggermont and Vice Dean Steven Van Wolputte, who introduced the Taiwan Studies Program and outlined what the seminar would cover. Six distinguished scholars and experts from Taiwan and from Belgium had been invited to give keynote speeches and contribute their expertise and insights to the discussions.

Dr. Lin Hsien-Ming gave a presentation on Microaggression and Negotiation Experiences of European Taiwanese Immigrants amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. Following this, Dr. Sung Yu-Hsien explored the evolution of tele counseling in Taiwan in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic, providing perspectives from psychologists. Dr. Lin Jiun-chi, a KU Leuven alumnus, gave an online presentation examining whether information disseminated by social media influencers contributes to a heightened populist attitude, utilizing a case study related to Taiwan's 2022 local elections.

The three Belgian panelists were: 1. Dr. Ching Lin Pang, from the International and European Studies program in the Faculty of Social Sciences at KU Leuven. Her presentation was titled Bridging the 'Belgian Bubble' and the 'Chinese Bubble': Coping Strategies of Chinese Female Teachers in a Chinese Heritage School; 2. Dr. Lut Lams, from the Faculty of Arts at KU Leuven, talked about Taiwan's position in the geopolitical world, emphasizing Taiwan’s using its struggle with COVID-19 as a tool for health diplomacy; and 3.  Ms. Margaux Delport, a PhD candidate studying at KU Leuven, in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, at the Leuven Biostatistics and Statistical Bioinformatics Centre. She gave an online presentation titled A Longitudinal Perspective on Perceived Vulnerability to Disease During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Belgium which KU Leuven has since published as a monograph.    

The seminar fostered vibrant discussion and interactions among the six speakers and the participants on the multifaceted impact of the pandemic, including exchanges on enhancing and advancing cooperation between KU Leuven, National Pingtung University, and National Chengchi University.