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New ministry aims to set up culture centers abroad: minister

2012/04/18 21:19:20

Taipei, April 18 (CNA) Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Wednesday that the new Ministry of Culture that will be inaugurated in May will aim to establish culture centers overseas to foster international cultural exchanges.

The Council for Cultural Affairs which Lung heads will be transformed into the Ministry of Culture in May.

Speaking at her first meeting with cultural officials from Taiwan's 22 counties and cities since assuming office in February, Lung stressed the importance of cultural exchanges, saying that the ministry will include a cultural exchange department.

This department will serve as a platform connecting local governments with the international community and will increase interaction between ministry officials and foreign ambassadors in Taiwan, said Lung at the meeting, which took place in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan.

For example, she said, the department could help indigenous artists from eastern Taiwan connect with those from New Zealand, Australia and Central America so that Taiwan's indigenous artists can be promoted around the world and also learn from foreign artists.

However, she said the details about the overseas centers, including possible locations, are still under discussion.

Comparing Taiwan's rich culture to a "big reservoir," Lung said that in order for the "water of the best quality" to be channeled to the people, "there needs to be water pipes and faucets," which she said would be the role played by the centers.

Also at the meeting, she mentioned France as an example of how important cultural diplomacy can be.

The Alliance Francaise -- an international organization that promotes French language and culture around the world -- spends NT$160 billion (US$5.42 billion) every year on its work, Lung noted.

"If a country that has no diplomatic difficulties can spend so much exporting its culture, how much effort and money should Taiwan spend on building its relationships and image through culture?" she asked.

Turning to the creative industry, Lung said this sector in Taiwan is centered on movies and television, while the country's literature arena has yet to be developed in this regard.

She said the ministry will strive to promote Taiwanese literature to the world and attract international publishing houses.

(By Christie Chen)