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New Culture Ministry to expand cultural centers abroad

2012/05/16 18:51:50

Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Wednesday that the new Ministry of Culture, which will be inaugurated May 21, will expand its overseas cultural centers from three to 14 to foster improved international cultural exchanges.

Taiwan currently has three cultural centers abroad -- in Paris, Tokyo and New York -- and the new ministry, which will be upgraded from the existing Council for Cultural Affairs, will set up 11 more centers, said Lung.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the progress of the council's transformation into a ministry, Lung said the overseas centers, to be operated by a new cultural exchange department under the ministry, will "carry out cultural diplomacy work."

However, she declined to comment further on details of the centers, including their possible locations, saying that more information will be announced May 24, when a press conference will be held to further explain the ministry's future policies.

She described the cultural exchange department, one of seven departments under the new ministry, as "unprecedented," saying that worldwide cultural exchanges have not been at the center of Taiwan's cultural policies in the past.

However, she vowed to introduce a "full-fledged" policy in this regard, saying that much of the work will center on increasing cultural exchanges between Taiwan and China.

Meanwhile that day, the ministry's new logo, which features a morning glory flower, was also unveiled.

The flower symbolizes a grassroots spirit and, as it is seen around Taiwan, invokes a shared memory among the Taiwanese, making it a suitable symbol for the ministry, said Lung.

Lung has previously said that the new ministry will aim to bridge the cultural gap between urban and rural areas, create cultural policies with an international outlook and speed up the digitalization of cultural resources.

The ministry will include elements of the Ministry of Education, the Government Information Office and the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission.

In addition to the cultural exchange department, it will also include departments dedicated to the development of the arts, the publishing industry, the cultural and creative industry, film, television and popular music, and cultural resources.

A former essayist and cultural critic, Lung has drawn wide expectations from the arts and culture sector since assuming office in February, with many hoping that her years of experience abroad and her strong persona will breathe fresh air into Taiwan's cultural policies.

(By Christie Chen)