19 Universities in Taiwan & the US Sign Taiwan Huayu BEST Program MOUs at NAFSA 2022 Launching New Education Partnerships
Nine leading universities in Taiwan and ten universities in the US took part in a joint ceremony on June 1, signing MOUs to establish ten more Taiwan Huayu BEST Program language education partnerships. The signing ceremony was held during NAFSA 2022, the annual conference & expo of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Mon-Chi Lio, Political Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education, led a Taiwan delegation of university presidents, vice presidents and senior officials to attend NAFSA 2022, to demonstrate Taiwan’s commitment to international education.
The Taiwan Huayu BEST Program is an umbrella program launched by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education in 2021, to help meet the global demand to learn Chinese and to promote Taiwan’s quality Chinese language education. It sets up language education partnerships between outstanding universities in Taiwan and overseas. Huayu is one of several terms meaning “Mandarin Chinese” and the word BEST is an acronym that stands for Bilingual Exchanges of Selected Talent.
48 overseas universities have set up Taiwan Huayu BEST Program partnerships with a university in Taiwan. This number now includes 41 universities in the US (collaborating with 17 universities in Taiwan), as well as universities in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Benefits for the overseas partner university include having highly trained teachers & teaching assistants sent from Taiwan; scholarships for their students to improve their Mandarin Chinese proficiency in Taiwan; access to a wide variety of learning resources, including TOCFL—Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language—language proficiency testing; and assistance to establishing Mandarin Teaching and Learning Centers on their campus. The scholarship students visiting the Taiwan partner university will also spend some time helping local teachers as they teach English in nearby elementary and secondary schools, and interacting with the young students.
The US is the most popular overseas study destination for students from Taiwan which ranks 7th as the place of origin of international students at U.S. universities. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 3,900 students each year came to Taiwan from the U.S., many to study Mandarin Chinese, and they describe Taiwan as “a great place for Americans to study Mandarin Chinese. The academic environment is free and open, the island is very safe and welcoming, and Taiwanese culture is rich and diverse.”
Camille P. Dawson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Deputy Minister, Dr. Lio both spoke at the ceremony.
The joint signing ceremony was followed by a Taiwan–US Higher Education Dialogue and a Taiwan Night, both hosted by the Ministry of Education to promote Taiwan’s high-quality education and expand links with higher education in the US for future scholarly exchanges and engagement.
At the Taiwan–US Higher Education Dialogue, Prof. Su Huey-Jen, Chairperson of FICHET—the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan—moderated a dialogue between Dr. Lee Yen-Yi, Director General of the Department of International and Cross-strait Education and Ethan Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. They discussed ongoing projects and achievements of the US–Taiwan Education Initiative, celebrating the progress made so far, and the determination that Taiwan and US institutions have for continued cooperation. This reflects the friendly relationship between and shared commitment to educational and cultural exchanges of their respective agencies, and Dr. Lee said that Taiwan’s Ministry of Education will continue encouraging universities in Taiwan to engage with foreign universities to deepen international Mandarin Chinese education exchanges and cooperation.
The Taiwan Night that evening gave many people an opportunity to talk and network in a relaxed setting. Ministry of Education members of the delegation from Taiwan, personnel from the Overseas Community Affairs Council, AIT, Fulbright Taiwan, universities in Taiwan, and from their sister universities in the US and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver, gathered together for dinner. Nicole Elkon, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs also attended the reception. They are all looking forward to exploring possibilities for more collaboration in both teaching and research.
The Universities Participating in the Joint Signing Ceremony:
|1||Auburn University||National Cheng Kung University|
|2||Boise State University*||Providence University|
|3||College of New Jersey||Tamkang University|
|4||Juniata College||Shih Chien University|
|5||Michigan State University||National Taiwan University|
|6||Mississippi College||Chuan Yuan Christian University|
|7||University of California, Santa Barbara*||National Taiwan Normal University|
|8||University of Cincinnati*||National Taipei University of Technology|
|9||University of Oklahoma*||Ming Chuan University|
|10||Washington University at St. Louis||National Taiwan University|
NOTE: * indicates that the US university participated in the signing ceremony online.
Reference: Ministry of Education (R. O. C., Taiwan), https://english.moe.gov.tw/cp-117-31871-00629-1.html