The Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan kicked off Oct. 23 in Taipei City, underscoring government commitment to expanding ties with partner countries in the region, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
After a three-year hiatus on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s session is being attended by 19 young professionals from allies Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, as well as other regional countries, the MOFA said.
During his opening remarks, Deputy Minister Tien Chung-kwang said Pacific island states face the same geopolitical tensions as Taiwan, along with many similar public health challenges. The government is committed to contributing to regional security and sustainable development by sharing Taiwan’s medical expertise and technological prowess, he added.
In response, Ambassador Bikenibeu Paeniu of Tuvalu praised Taiwan’s advanced medical technology, while Marshallese Ambassador Anjanette Kattil thanked the government for sponsoring the program and Nauru’s ambassador, Jarden Kephas, urged participants to make the most of this learning opportunity. Satu Limaye, deputy director of PILP’s co-host East West Center, said the center looks forward to developing future projects with Taiwan to promote regional prosperity.
According to the MOFA, participants completed a four-week session at EWC in Honolulu prior to arriving in Taipei. During their six-week stay in Taiwan, attendees will take part in courses on topics including circular economy, climate change, environmental sustainability, food security, marine resources and public health.
The participants will also call on the Council of Indigenous Peoples, the Ocean Affairs Council, Hsinchu Science Park and Fengshan Tropical Horticultural Experiment Branch, and meet with faculty and students at National Taiwan University and National Chengchi University, the ministry added.
PILP was proposed in 2011 by Kurt Campbell, U.S. National Security Council coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs, when he was with the State Department. A total of 158 participants from 15 countries have taken part in the initiative since its formal launch in 2013. (SFC-E)
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