As the year comes to a close, the Ministry of Culture held the "Traditions and Innovations: A Southbound Gathering" event to showcase the latest accomplishments of ongoing southbound projects and cultural exchanges on Dec. 13 at Taipei's Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
Secretary-general of the Ministry of Culture Chen Teng-chin (陳登欽) kicked off the event with Golden Melody Award winner Suming Rupi (舒米恩) and Southeast Asia Advisory Committee (東南亞事務諮詢委員會) members Chung She-fong (鍾適芳), Chen Huang-feng (陳凰鳳), and Lin Yu-shih (林育世) in attendance.
Secretary-general Chen remarked that Taiwan is a culturally diverse society and a proud member of the Austronesian community. The Ministry promotes southbound people-centric exchanges upon the principles of promoting diversity, respecting the differences between countries, and facilitating understanding and collaboration, he added.
Through exchanges with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan will be able to make greater contributions to neighboring communities and the world at large, Chen added. He then introduced the Ministry's "Youth Cultural Gardeners" project, which focuses exclusively on exchanges between the younger generations in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Additionally, to foster in-depth cultural, historical, and social collaboration between Taiwan and Southeast Asia countries, the Ministry also offers the "Grants for Cultural Exchanges and Collaborative Projects with Personnel from Southeast Asia" and “Grants for Cultural Exchanges and Collaborative Projects between (the Regions of) West Asia and South Asia with Taiwan," Chen pointed out.
Sponsored by the "Youth Cultural Gardeners" project, singer Suming led a team of youth delegates to attend the Darwin Art Festival in Australia this August, using music to interact with Aboriginal artists and explore the similarities and differences among their respective indigenous cultures to strengthen the connection between Taiwan and Australia.
Furthermore, Tainan National University of the Arts' Graduate Institute of Music worked together with Matahari Ensemble to put on a Wayang Kulit shadow puppetry show using Javanese, Indonesian, and Taiwanese languages to share the story of the earth god from Indonesian folklore in October.
The "Grants for Cultural Exchanges & Collaborative Projects with Personnel from Southeast Asia" funded a dance-and-performance exchange program between the Pingtung-based Galju Paiwan dance troupe (Galju・看路) and Cambodia's Phare Ponleu Selpak nonprofit association in July.
Another supported project was a July panel co-organized by the Southeast Asia Educational, Scientific and Cultural Association (東南亞教育科學文化協會) and Malaysia-born scholar Toh Jin-xuan (杜晉軒) to commemorate Southeast Asian victims persecuted in Taiwan during the White Terror era.
"Grants for Cultural Exchanges and Collaborative Projects between (the Regions of) West Asia and South Asia with Taiwan" sponsored many projects as well. Pingtung-based contemporary Paiwan ensemble Tjimur Dance Theatre (蒂摩爾古薪舞集) joined forces with India's Kaishiki Dance Academy to conduct in-depth exchanges, conversations, and dance workshops in May.
Moreover, Taipei-based cultural center Waley Art (水谷藝術) in association with Nepal's Gallery Mcube presented a series of joint exhibitions in September to raise awareness of the social issues faced by both Taiwan and Nepal.
More information on international grants and exchange programs between Taiwan and Southeast Asia is available here and here.