The UCLA Asia Pacific Center has received a gift of $2 million from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, or TECO–LA. Of the total, $800,000 will create a program on Taiwan in the World and $1.2 million will establish a Taiwan Studies Endowment Fund at UCLA to help permanently support the Taiwan Studies Program.
“This generous gift significantly enriches our Taiwan Studies Program,” said Min Zhou, director of the Asia Pacific Center and UCLA’s Walter and Shirley Wang Professor of U.S.–China Relations and Communications. “It will further strengthen our vibrant community of faculty and students dedicated to studying Taiwan, as well as expand the program’s local, national and international networks. We hope that the fund will also attract donations from other institutions and individuals interested in Taiwan and supporting students from Taiwan.”
The Taiwan in the World program will promote Taiwan studies in a global context and train a new generation of scholars and professionals in Taiwanese society, history and culture. Students will gain bilingual proficiency in English and Mandarin Chinese, including the ability to read and write traditional Chinese characters.
“The Taiwan in the World program will cover Mandarin Chinese language teaching projects, in pursuit of the international education cooperation goals established by TECO–LA and the Asia Pacific Center,” said Louis M. Huang, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles. “The Taiwan in the World program also focuses on enhancing the status of Taiwan studies in the field of social sciences globally. We hope this program will become a benchmark for Taiwan–U.S. cooperation in higher education and cultivate professional talents with global visions for Taiwan and the United States.”
The Asia Pacific Center, part of the UCLA International Institute, launched the Taiwan Studies Program in 2014. The Ministry of Education of Taiwan provided initial funding for the program, and has since renewed that funding twice; the program is now supported through 2024.
In 2018 and 2019, the J. Yang and Family Foundation contributed two gifts totaling $2 million to support Taiwan studies and scholarships for students coming to UCLA from Taiwan high schools and universities. The new gift from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan will continue the program’s growth.
“I’m grateful to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles for enabling this generous gift to cement a lasting foundation for the Taiwan Studies Program at UCLA,” said Cindy Fan, UCLA vice provost for international studies and global engagement. “I have every confidence that under the outstanding leadership of Professor Min Zhou, the program will continue to be a vital intellectual asset of the Asia Pacific Center and will further broaden UCLA’s global ties.”
The Taiwan Studies Program has steadily expanded to serve as a resource on Taiwan for UCLA faculty and students and the greater Los Angeles community. It maintains relationships with National Taiwan Normal University, National Chengchi University and National Taiwan University. In addition, the UCLA Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Studies Library has been designated a Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies by the Taiwan National Central Library.
The Asia Pacific Center offers an array of public programs, conferences and lecture series, and it supports exchanges for visiting scholars, research fellowships and travel grants for faculty and students doing research on or in Taiwan. Among its recent programs were an international symposium on global Chinese entrepreneurship, a forum on the economic impact of COVID-19 from the perspectives of Taiwan and South Korea, a new course on Taiwanese language and culture. The center has also provided emergency assistance for Taiwanese students affected by COVID-19.