Written by Val Thompson, August 10 to 25, 2022
I was invited by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston to participate in an official delegation to Taiwan consisting of members of U.S. and Canada academia and business advisors. This is the first program the Taiwanese government has sponsored since the pandemic. It included cultural visits and meetings with senior Taiwanese government officials, ministries and institutes. So far, we’ve heard expressions of appreciation for the US continued support of Taiwan, as well as some clear requests for more.
In the wake of Congresswoman and US Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi’s visit, and that of a U.S. congressional delegation during my visit. The government of Taiwan is clearly enlisting international support. In a meeting with Dr. Chiu, Dean of Medicine University of Taiwan who mentioned, Taiwanese officials strongly requested support from other democratic nations. Dr. Chiu noted Taiwan’s appreciation of the US support, but he pointed out that “democratic nations” need to work more closely together in working to strengthen democracy. The democratic nations around the world have been too conservative regarding strengthening democratic values in this region.
Our first stay was at the Beautiful Madison Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, The host hotel was extremely polite and I felt a high degree of Taiwanese hospitality! From there we visited Songshan Cultural and Creative Park Taiwan’s creative hub. We enjoyed presentations of designs, visual and cross-disciplenary events: we visited the Taipei Art Museum where some of the most beautiful and interesting art I’ve seen anywhere in Asia!
Also as we toured the city of Taipei, we visited the Chung-Hua institution for Economic Research, seen as an international policy think-tank.
Our delegation visited the National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall established by the Ministry of Culture to collect, research and archive artifacts and to promote art and cultural activities.
A most interesting visit was the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) founded in 2018 with the goal of promoting comprehensive ties between Taiwan and 10 ASEAN countries.
Another interesting visit was Neihu Technology Park, the first metropolitan technology park in Taiwan. In the spiritual heart of Taiwan, we visited the Wanhua Longshan Temple.
The US-Canadian delegation visited the Hsinchu Science Park. The park is recognized as a global top-leading IC industrial supply chain in upstream, midstream and downstream offering a cross-domain industry solution in diversified high-tech solutions in the energy industries.
The delegation was dazzled with a visit to the Kavalan Distillery in Yilan. The distillery is a pioneer in the art of single malt whiskies. The distillery is located in the right region that offers a combination of intense heat and humidity to create a smoothness and fruity character! Personally, I was very impressed with the City of Yilan, my favorite!
I could go on forever writing about the wonderful visit as a US citizen and all the cultural engagements that made the country so unique. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t traveled to Taiwan, iF you have the opportunity — take it. And I’m very pleased to have taken it!
However, the visit to Taiwan was enjoyable, exciting and most interesting.