Taiwan youth ambassadors promote people-to-people contacts

September 11, 2018 Asia , India , News , OPINION/NEWS

TECC photo

 

By

Jose Kalathil

 

 

NEW DELHI: It was an evening of music, entertainment and dance, both from Taiwan and India. The occasion was the performance of Taiwan’s Youth, Citizens of the World, under the “International Youth Ambassadors Exchange Programme,” of the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organised by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India.

 

With a mission to promote Taiwan’s “New Southbound Policy,” which aims at strengthening relationship with Southeastern and South Asian countries, India especially, the youth introduced Taiwan’s art, culture, education, tourism, trade, etc. to the gathering. As an important part of the government’s efforts to promote public diplomacy, since 2009, outstanding college students selected from various universities in the country have been travelling to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and other friendly countries.

 

Out of 850 applicants this year, 75 were selected as youth ambassadors to visit six friendly countries. Three teams, consisting of 25 members each, went for a 10-day trip from August 27 to September 6, 2018 to Tuvalu and India, Solomon Islands and Thailand, Palau and the Philippines. The delegation to India, led by senior diplomat Wang Chih-fa, was accompanied by a deputy and a secretary.

 

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Chung-Kwang Tien said trade between India and Taiwan has increased from US$1 billion in 2000 to US$ 6.5 billion in 2017. Apart from promoting trade, culture and education, promotion of people-to-people contacts are essential.

 

He said the youth ambassadors have arrived from Tuvalu, the smallest country having a population of 11,320 people after travelling about 11,520 km to the biggest country and an emerging economic power having a population of 13.5 billion people.

 

In a lighter vein, he said, it took more than 25 years for him to become a diplomat, but these youths have become ambassadors at the age of 25 years.

 

The performance began with a dance by Chiu Wan Chu, a Taiwanese, who has been learning Kathak and Indian music for the last seven years in New Delhi and another with her Indian friend.

 

 

“Taiwan’s Youth, Citizens of the World,” a cultural program presented by the Taiwan Youth Ambassadors, is staged in New Delhi, Sept. 4.

 

 

In the show, that lasted about 40 minutes, the youth ambassadors demonstrated Taiwan’s famous tea leaves, folklore dancing and traditional puppet theatrics. Following an opening video sequence Ilha Formosa, which introduces the beauty as well as the culture of Taiwan, the first act presented the images of Taiwan festivals such as lion masks, fan veils, the Eight Generals and drumming, giving the audience an insight into Taiwanese traditional temple fairs and local folk beliefs.

 

The second act featured Taiwan’s mountainous beauty via a series of animations accompanied by folk songs and Taiwan’s Hakka culture as represented by tung blossoms, floral cloth and oil-paper umbrellas.

 

The third act showed traditional entertainment and toys of Taiwan including puppet plays, jump ropes, spinning tops and kites. The fourth act revolving around the theme, ‘The Glory of Taiwan,” featured dynamic dance performances and a short film showing the humanitarian aid efforts by Taiwan. With certain picturesque destinations and unique food cultures of Taiwan also on display, the energy and the passion of the Youth Ambassadors were well demonstrated. The performance received thunderous applause from the audience.

 

Visits to Mukti Ashram under the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), founded by Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi in 1980, where many Taiwanese are engaged as volunteers, Taiwan Educational Center at Jamia Milia Islamia where students are learning Mandarin, Gandhi Smriti (Gandhi Memorial) and the African-Asian Rural Development Organization, a 30-nation organisation, trying to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, were part of the programme. BBA has saved more than 80,000 children from child trafficking, sexual abuse and child labour.

 

At the TECC, they learned about India’s current economic and political developments and India-Taiwan relations. They also met members of the Taiwan Alumni Association and Taiwan Chamber of Commerce and exchanged views on Taiwan-India collaboration opportunities.

 

 

Mr. Wang Chih-fa (4th, right), Delegation Leader of the Taiwan Youth Ambassadors, presents a souvenir to Vijay Jolly (4th, left), senior BJP leader and MLA Delhi (2003-08) at the Delhi Study Group Sept. 5.

 

 

Wang Chih-fa said Taiwan is an important stakeholder in the international community and an active contributor in agriculture, medicine and technology. He hoped these Taiwanese youths, by participating in this programme, can make more foreign friends and enhance their international prospects.

 

Richard Huang, Leader of the Youth Ambassadors, said he was happy to present the beauty of Taiwan in the cultural programme and teach his Indian friends how to use chopsticks. He was also amazed at the hospitality he received in India.

 

 

 

 

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Jose Kalathil

Jose Kalathil is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. With more than three decades of experience in India and abroad, he is comfortable writing on any subject under the sun. He may be contacted at kalathil.jose@gmail.com

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