By Pacific Island Times News Staff
New connections between Guam and Taiwan were established on Wednesday as the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Guam and the University of Guam hosted six Taiwanese universities at the first-ever Taiwan-Guam University Education Summit.
“Issues like food security, sustainable food production, aquaculture… Taiwan leads in so many ways in those areas, and we could benefit from that partnership,” said Thomas Krise, UOG president.
Likewise, he said the University of Guam is valuable to the Taiwanese universities as the hub of the even broader Micronesian region with links to other regional colleges, including College of Micronesia-FSM, Palau Community College, Northern Marianas College, and the College of the Marshall Islands.
He mentioned possible opportunities for student and faculty exchange, but also for linking classes virtually to expose students to another university’s area of expertise, such as agriculture or technology. Additionally, the universities can join resources and interdisciplinary expertise for academic research on matters of interest to both islands.
Paul Chen, TECO director general, said the relationship can also extend beyond academics and education.
“Having a relationship with the University of Guam is a foundation between Taiwan and Guam,” he said. “There are many ways to strengthen the relationship … political and military interests, economic and business interests, and more importantly, people-to-people, cultural, and educational interests.”
In attendance were the presidents of National Chung Hsing University, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, National Taitung University, National Chin-Yi University of Technology, Chaoyang University of Technology, and Yuan-Ze University as well as Guam Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio and Speaker of the Guam Legislature Therese Terlaje.
The presidents each presented on their university's top programs and suggested domains for future cooperation, with Krise drawing attention to the University of Guam’s strengths in the environmental sciences, cultural studies and education, and the health sciences, including cancer research.
As an example of ways the universities can work together, Krise highlighted several regional partnerships the University of Guam has established, including a 2+2 program with Guam Community College in computer science and a 3+1 program with Northern Marianas College in criminal justice, in which students begin a four-year program at GCC or NMC and then transfer to UOG to complete it.
The University of Guam signed seven memorandums of understanding — one with each university and another with TECO.
“This is a promising signal of the recognition and commitment to developing a relationship between our two islands,” said Anita Borja Enriquez, UOG senior vice president and provost. “We hope that today’s summit will be the first of other summits.” (UOG)