Vice-Chancellor sees potential for engagement with Taiwan

11 March 2014

Sydney delegates including Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence with senior staff at the National Chengchi University, Taipei
Sydney delegates including Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence with senior staff at the National Chengchi University, Taipei

Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence has led the University's first official visit to Taiwan, laying the foundations for research and alumni links with the island's leading universities.

One of the most significant high-tech economies in the Asia Pacific region and a key investor into Australia, Taiwan is also home to more than 600 University of Sydney graduates.

Dr Spence stressed the importance of university-level links and intellectual dialogue at meetings with President Ma Ying-jeou, the Vice-Minister of Education and the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs.

He also met the Presidents of some of the island's key universities, from Taiwan National University, Taiwan Normal University, Chengchi University, and Yangming University, identifying areas where future collaboration could be expanded and developed, from medicine to the humanities and language training.

Professor Kerry Brown, Executive Director of the University's China Studies Centre, said: "The delegation was able to appreciate the significant improvements in Cross Strait relations over the last few years, and the burgeoning trade, people-to-people and cultural links.

"Taiwan is a place with a strong belief in the importance of culture and with a rich experience in understanding the economies in the region, all things which partners in Australia can benefit from knowing about."

The University also held its first-ever formal event in Taiwan, an alumni reception in Taipei attended by more than 120 graduates from the 1980s onwards. Professor Brown said: "This was a reminder of our enthusiastic cohort of graduates from across the University faculties, many of whom made it clear that they are keen to have deeper links with their alma mater."

Dr Spence praised Taiwan's commitment to the knowledge economy and investment in its university system.

"We were able to appreciate the truly cosmopolitan nature of young Taiwanese and see some of the aspirations of the universities, many of which are world class in areas ranging from engineering to political and social science and medicine," said Dr Spence.

"There were clear opportunities in the study of obesity and of well-being, along with many other areas where more structured formal dialogue can be developed between researchers in the future.

"We left excited by the potential for deepening the research, economic and cultural links between Australia and Taiwan."

Contact: Richard North

Phone: 02 9351 3191

Email: 4a313b2a0211305c28272605313a26412709134d612d360f46591b