Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan wrapped up Dec. 4 in Taipei City, underscoring the government’s commitment to working with like-minded partners such as the U.S. in advancing sustainable development throughout the region.
Co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Hawaii-based East-West Center, PILP brings participants up to speed on the latest political, economic, social and technological developments in Taiwan. This year’s edition involved 13 young professionals from eight countries such as allies Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.
MOFA Vice Minister Miguel Li-jey Tsao said during the closing ceremony that PILP is a one of the highest-profile and most successful leadership training programs in the region. Given the common challenges faced by Taiwan, the U.S. and Pacific nations, the government will do even more in expanding exchanges and sharing best practices in core areas affecting the well-being and prosperity of the people.
Also attending the ceremony were EWC Vice President Karena Lyons, American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen, ambassadors to the ROC (Taiwan) from Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu, as well as officials from Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Before arriving in Taiwan, PILP participants spent four weeks attending courses at EWC. Activities scheduled during the six-week local leg included fact-finding visits to key central government agencies, field trips, seminars and workshops on topics spanning agriculture, climate change, disaster management, education, environmental protection, gender mainstreaming, green energy, health care and indigenous culture.
Some of the highlights of the cultural itinerary were a tour of Taipei-based National Palace Museum, a special performance by world-renowned drumming group U-Theatre Taiwan, and a show and workshop delivered by Taiwanese opera troupe Ming Hwa Yuan Arts and Culture Group.
PILP was proposed by Kurt Campbell, then assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in November 2011 and negotiated by Rajiv Shah, then administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, during a visit to Taiwan in December the same year.
The program was finalized under a five-year memorandum of understanding inked in December 2012 by the MOFA and EWC, with the two sides signing a five-year extension in 2017. (RAY-E)
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