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Taiwan to fund US Mandarin and Taiwan studies

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan has gifted the UCLA Asia Pacific Center $2 million in funding for Mandarin language learning and the study of Taiwan.

TaiwanTaiwan and the US agreed last year to work together more closely in education. Photo: Unsplash

$800,000 will be used to create a program on "Taiwan in the World”

Around $800,000 will be used to create a program on “Taiwan in the World” and $1.2 million is earmarked to “establish a Taiwan Studies Endowment Fund”.

“The Taiwan in the World program will cover Mandarin Chinese language teaching projects, in pursuit of the international education cooperation goals established by TECO–LA and the Asia Pacific Center,” said Louis M Huang, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles.

“The Taiwan in the World program will cover Mandarin Chinese language teaching projects”

“The program also focuses on enhancing the status of Taiwan studies in the field of social sciences globally,” he continued.

“We hope this program will become a benchmark for Taiwan–US cooperation in higher education and cultivate professional talents with global visions for Taiwan and the United States.”

The Fairbank Center at Harvard University also this month signed an MoU with the East Asian country’s Ministry of Education for a “three-year initiative that will bring new funding to Taiwan Studies at Harvard University”.

Many Taiwanese universities cooperate closely with US institutions in academic, cultural and research exchange. The National Taiwan University, for example, said it had agreements with about 90 long-term partners in the US, including academic and research exchanges, as well as teaching Mandarin.

“There are quite a few scholars in the US and also in European countries that study East Asia and they may focus on Japan or Korea,” pointed out Chiapei Chou, executive vice president at National Taiwan University.

“We would really like to offer the opportunity for them to focus on Taiwan.”

The news comes as three US-based Confucius Institutes – a project run by China, which claims Taiwan as a province despite the island functioning as de facto independent nation – are scheduled to close this year, which will bring the total number of existing Confucius Institutes in the US down to 52, compared to 103 in 2017.

In December last year the US and Taiwan signed an MOU to increase bilateral cooperation in language education, with the American Institute in Taiwan’s director Brent Christensen suggesting that Taiwan could fill the gap in US Mandarin provision left by the closure of Confucius Institutes.

“The teaching skill in Taiwan has a very good reputation”

The teaching skill in Taiwan has a very good reputation,” continued Chou.

“If we send instructors overseas, we will fit into the curriculum of each university. That means most of the time we would use their materials… I think this is very different from Confucius Institutes.”

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