As part of the Ministry of Culture's latest southward bound policy, 49 Taiwanese youths have been selected to join the first delegation of pioneers targeting Taiwan-Southeast Asia cultural exchanges.
Beginning in July 2016, these pioneers will stationed in communities scattered across Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand. Their interactions with local residents through a plethora of art forms will help deepen mutual understanding and interpersonal relations between Taiwan and Southeast Asia, and upon return, their cross-border experiences will help nurture Taiwan's ever-growing cultural dynamics.
The inaugural "Youth Cultural Gardeners - Taiwan-Southeast Asia Grants Program for Cultural Exchanges and Collaboration” received 38 submissions, in which seven teams were selected to represent the nation's diversity, ranging from budding filmmakers to indigenous youths and descendants of contemporary immigrants to Taiwan.
These talented individuals will help share unique experiences and visions from Taiwan through a youthful and modern perspective. They will also document and react to community issues in Southeast Asia through such activities as audiovisual projects, illustrations, dance and choreography, and mime performances.
At a July 12 press conference held in Taipei to introduce the grants program, Deputy Culture Minister Dr. Pierre Tzu-pao Yang (楊子葆) noted that the Ministry's new southward bound policy is rooted in people and culture. The humanities-oriented approach aims to deepen Taiwan-Southeast Asia exchanges and collaboration, and places a special emphasis on the ability of young artists and cultural professionals to identify new areas for potential multicultural collaboration.
Upon their return, these youth delegates will also contribute to the progress of social thought in Taiwan, broaden the citizenry's global perspectives, initiate closer ties among Taiwan and its Southeast Asia neighbors, and help the nation forge longstanding international ties based on mutual understanding and respect.
Six members of the Southeast Asia Advisory Committee, including Vice President Kuan Cheng-neng (官政能) of Shih Chien University, attended the July 12 press conference in support of the grants program. They also voiced their encouragement and expectations regarding the outgoing youth delegates, noting that the concept of community empowerment is fully embodied by their long-term demployment to Southeast Asian grassroots communities and academic campuses.
The committee members pointed out that such overseas immersion will help foster a well-balanced global perspective and ability to conduct further transnational exchanges, which will in turn serve as a fertile source of creativity in their individual careers down the road. The event concluded with blessings in anticipation of witnessing the enthusiasm and vitality of Taiwanese youth delegates blossom and bear fruit.
Pictured [not necessarily in order] are: The six teams selected to join the inaugural grants program; members of the First Southeast Asia Advisory Committee; Deputy Culture Minister Dr. Pierre Tzu-pao Yang; and Director Peggy Chou of the Ministry of Culture's Department of Cultural Exchanges.