Taiwan donates US$500,000 to support education programs in Syria

11/19/2020 07:13 PM
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AIT Managing Director Ingrid Larson (left) and Taiwan
AIT Managing Director Ingrid Larson (left) and Taiwan's top envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim sign the agreement. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's representative office in the U.S. Nov. 18. 2020

Washington, Nov. 18 (CNA) Taiwan on Wednesday donated US$500,000 to a United States government program that funds education in communities in northeast Syria, an area that was previously held by the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS).

The donation was made during a virtual ceremony hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO).

TECRO head and Taiwan's top envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and AIT Managing Director Ingrid Larson signed a "Funding Arrangement Regarding Stabilization Assistance in Certain Areas of Syria," which aims to help Syrian children in the liberated northeastern communities reintegrate into the formal education system.

AIT and TECRO represent the U.S. and Taiwan governments, respectively, in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

At the ceremony, Hsiao said Taiwan has an obligation to work closely with other democratic countries to jointly defend shared values and protect regional stability.

Taiwan will continue to cooperate with the U.S. and other like-minded countries to contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East regions and around the world, she said.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Atul Keshap, principal deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Taiwan's donation was an example of its global profile.

"TECRO's contribution today to support the development of moderate education in northeast Syria marks a continuing commitment to our shared values, and a concrete example of how Taiwan remains a reliable partner, a role model for democratic governance, and a force for good in the world," Keshap said.

According to an AIT press release, the education system in northeast Syria is struggling to make up for six years of severely limited foundational learning.

The donation will help to finance the Injaz program, a project to support moderate education activities in areas liberated from ISIS in northeast Syria, combat ISIS ideology and make children and youth less vulnerable to extremist ideology, the AIT said.

The effort includes initiatives such as rehabilitating water, sanitation and hygiene facilities at schools, winterizing classrooms, and providing remedial education to displaced children who do not have access to formal education, the AIT said.

Taiwan is a partner in an 83-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, initiated by the U.S. in September 2014, which aims to counter the threat posed by ISIS and ultimately ensure its defeat.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Joseph Yeh)

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