Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) Trainees from Pacific Island nations began a six-week study program as part of the Taiwan leg of an annual leadership program for young leaders from the region in Taipei Monday.
"Your upcoming courses and visits in Taiwan have been designed to give you insight and experience that will be useful in the course of your careers," Taiwan's Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) said during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Pacific Islands Leadership Program (PILP).
Over the next few weeks, 13 participants from eight Pacific countries, including Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, will exchange views with local officials, scholars, business people, and NGO representatives in Taiwan, according to Hsu.
In addition, the participants are expected to learn about Taiwan's Austronesian cultural heritage, which Hsu described as a bridge connecting Taiwan with the Pacific Island community.
The PILP was established in 2013 with a grant from Taiwan's government in cooperation with the East-West Center, a U.S.-based institution for public diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region, to enhance the leadership capabilities of individuals in the Pacific.
Over the past six years, the project has helped train 144 future leaders from across the Pacific, Hsu said.
"In the face of climate change, natural disasters, social unrest, economic disputes, energy shortages, security threats, and other common challenges, the PILP stands as a prime example of what Taiwan, the US and Pacific Island nations can achieve when we all work together," Hsu said.
Meanwhile, Dilmei Louisa Olkeriil, Palau's Ambassador to Taiwan, encouraged the participants to learn as much as they can while in the country, especially the medical and health system, which she said "we should all learn from."
Christina Monroe, Senior Manager of the East-West Center, expressed appreciations for Taiwan's efforts to share its experience in various fields with the Pacific nations, while Bradley Parker, Political Section Chief of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), lauded Taiwan for responsibly doing its part to contribute to the region despite China's continued suppression.
This year's PILP began on September 30 with a one-month engagement in experiential learning exercises at the East-West Center campus in Hawaii, before moving to Taiwan for field study and a leadership retreat, according to the East-West Center.
The program's curriculum includes topics such as applied leadership skills, future scenario planning, social entrepreneurship and risk analysis, the center said.