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Youth ambassadors bring Taiwan to the world

Vice President Chen Chien-jen praised participants of the 2016 International Youth Ambassador Exchange Program Oct. 15 for their outstanding performance and contributions to Taiwan’s public diplomacy during an event at New Taipei City’s National Taiwan University of Arts.

“These youth ambassadors are the leaders of the next generation who will determine Taiwan’s future direction and elevate the nation’s international status,” he said while speaking during a ceremony showcasing the outcomes of this year’s program.

The event was attended by around 600 foreign dignitaries, officials and youth ambassadors, as well as their relatives and friends. The youth ambassadors staged performances that they had presented during their overseas tours, all of which were heavily influenced by the many unique ethnic groups found in Taiwan.

Launched in 2009 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the program seeks to enhance local youths’ international perspective and encourages them to explore the world and cultivate relationships. One-hundred university students took part in this year’s edition, themed “Dynamic Youth, Friendly Taiwan,” and completed six weeks of training before making three-week visits to 17 cities in 16 countries.

During their cultural visits, the students learned about cooperative programs taking place between Taiwan and various friendly countries, visited charity organizations and interacted with local young people. “By doing so, Taiwan’s younger generation can better perceive their responsibilities as citizens of the world and the active role they can play in global society,” according to the MOFA.

The youth ambassadors were divided into four groups destined for Europe and Africa, the Asia-Pacific, U.S. and Canada, as well as Asia and Africa, respectively. The vice president pointed to these groups’ brilliant performances, which had won high acclaim from receiving governments and garnered extensive media coverage.

Notably, the Asia-Pacific group, which visited such countries as Indonesia and the Philippines, “demonstrated the essence of the government’s New Southbound Policy through cultural exchanges,” Chen said, adding that the government is planning to incorporate elements of the policy and exchanges between cities, as well as new immigrants, in future youth ambassador programs.

The New Southbound Policy seeks to enhance exchanges with countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand across such diverse fields as business, culture, education and tourism. (KTJ-E)

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