Sep 1, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

It’s been a busy summer for Taiwanese higher education and international collaboration. In line with the government’s New Southbound Policy aimed at promoting educational exchange throughout South and Southeast Asian countries, multiple Taiwanese educational entities have recently signed agreements with higher education institutions in both Vietnam and the Philippines. Here’s a closer look at these partnerships, along with how they fit into the New Southbound Policy.

Taiwanese-Philippines Cooperation

In July, a 16-member delegation representing nine universities from the Southern Taiwan Universities Alliance (STUA) traveled to the Philippines to sign agreements intended to promote bilateral exchange for faculty and students while simultaneously boosting the capacity of teachers, according to the Taiwan News.

These partnerships span a number of different areas, including teacher-training programs in nursing, catering, and AI and robotics; professional services exchange across both faculty and researchers;  visiting scholars programs; and exchange in fisheries and aquaculture.

During their visit, the STUA delegation also attended a Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) conference with the goal of actively promoting and advancing cooperation with participating Philippine universities and colleges. 

Taiwanese-Vietnamese Cooperation

That same month, the National Taiwan University (NTU) signed a landmark memorandum of agreement with Vietnam National University, according to a report from Focus Taiwan. In addition to promoting exchange and establishing cooperative programs, the partnering universities also plan to create scholarships and conduct joint academic research, said NTU System President Ching-Ray Chang.

Both the Taiwanese-Philippines and Taiwanese-Vietnamese cooperation are being celebrated for their promise in enhancing exchange, improving language abilities of teachers and students, and ultimately advancing ties between countries and regions -- a primary strategy of the New Southbound Policy.

Says Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the New Southbound Policy and the role of regional exchange within it, “Soft power links countries throughout the world expend great efforts to maintain good ties with the nations of ASEAN and South Asia as well as New Zealand and Australia. Taiwan's main strengths, meanwhile, lie in its soft power in areas such as technology, people and culture. In the future, Taiwan should pay especially close attention to soft power as a core aspect of its strategy to link up with other countries. We need to take advantage of Taiwan's broad experience in medical care, education, technology, and agricultural cooperation and small and medium enterprises to promote multilateral and bilateral cooperation with the nations of ASEAN and South Asia as well as New Zealand and Australia.

Read more about studying in Taiwan.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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