Kelly Park, an incoming graduate student and alumni of the UH Mānoa school of economics and political science, along with fellow UH alumni Jasmine Asuncion, were 2 of the 30 selected outstanding scholars from the U.S. to participate in a three week fellowship program led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan under the initiative of President Ma Ying-jeou.
Mosaic Taiwan is an exchange program that gives U.S. scholars and leaders the opportunity to experience the vibrant culture of Taiwan in hopes of creating a vested interest in global affairs and international understanding. The program ran from June 15 to July 5, during which time participants took part in team-building and leadership development exercises, tours of various businesses, museums and sites, and meet and greet sessions with government officials, educators, community representatives and young leaders in Taiwan with President Ma Ying-jeou and Vice President Wu Den-yih among representatives.
“Having first hand experience living in Taiwan and building friendships with Taiwanese people and its future leaders allowed me to create personal connections and my own sense of what Taiwan is all about,” said Park. “I also realized that Hawaiʻi and Taiwan share many similarities in its character, warmness of the people and challenges that they face in the global society. With collaborative efforts and continued friendship building, I believe that we have many things to learn from each other, especially in the field of environmental sustainability, public transportation, education, and native population and business.”
Among other activities, students had the opportunity to visit the Lushan tribe in Taitung and the Bulau Bulau tribe in Yilan, two aboriginal Taiwanese tribes on the eastern coast of Taiwan. “It was truly the highlight of the program and also an intriguing experience that made me think about how the Native Hawaiian culture is preserved and practiced in Hawaiʻi,” said Park.
To learn more about Mosaic Taiwan, visit the Mosaic Taiwan website.