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Gaining a Better Understanding of Taiwan

Spring 2012

The University of Scranton signs agreement to become first contact point of the Taiwan Academy

On Oct. 14, 2011, at the opening ceremony of the Taiwan Academy in New York – which marked the launch of the Taiwan Academy worldwide at major cities – Harold Baillie, Ph.D., provost and vice president of academic affairs at The University of Scranton, and Ambassador Andrew Kao, representing the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York, formally signed an agreement making The University of Scranton the first contact point (aka charter member) of the academy among 88 prestigious higher education institutions in 33 countries that are also becoming contact points of the academy.

According to Emile Sheng, minister of the Council of Cultural Affairs, the Taiwanese Academy will focus on promoting an understanding of Taiwan, as well as Sinology research, Taiwan’s multicultural experience, and Mandarin teaching services.

What does becoming a charter member of the academy mean to the University? Some of you may still have fond memories of the amazing Chinese Opera performance at the Scranton Cultural Center and the Carnival of Chinese Opera by the Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company, which starred opera diva Hailing Wang, in April 2011. It was an incredible feat that drew nearly 1,800 people from the greater Scranton area. Others may remember the Chinese-Taiwanese Chamber Music Group, Chai Found, which performed at the Houlihan- McLean Center in September 2011, as well as the Taiwan film festival, the photo and art exhibits, or the lecture held at the DeNaples Center and The Hope Horn Gallery in recent years. All of these activities and cultural events were generously supported and funded by the various agencies and offices of the Taiwan government via the TECO in New York.

The institutions extend the mutual collaboration of teaching and research with the signing of this agreement, providing many wonderful opportunities to our students, faculty and community. Our students and faculty will receive “priority consideration” for scholarships, fellowships, grants, exchanges of information, travel opportunities, and exclusive access to a digital database that are invaluable to teaching and research. Scranton will also become one of the key stops for first-rate performance groups and art exhibits during their United States tours. The first concrete implementation of this agreement has already taken place. One of the University’s outstanding young faculty members, James Roberts, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, was nominated and selected as a participant in the “U.S. Young Scholars Delegation to Visit Taiwan” program in December 2011. Sondra Myers, senior fellow for international, civic and cultural projects and director of the Schemel Forum, has been invited to Taiwan to visit various civil society and government groups and universities to enhance and foster mutual understanding between American and Taiwanese cultures. In addition, students Aimee Miller ’13 and Mabel M. de la Cruz ’14 have been awarded Ministry of Education Huayu Enrichment Scholarships to study Mandarin for the 2012-13 academic year. Other grant opportunities, ranging from two weeks to one year for conducting research in Taiwan on a variety of topics, are also available. These topics include the Asia-Pacific region, Cross-Strait Taiwan-China relation, Chinese studies, Taiwan studies, and other aspects of Sinology. Again, the University faculty and students will receive priority consideration in their applications.

For more information on Taiwan:


Ann Pang-White, Ph.D.