****First Taiwan-Africa Summit: heads of state from five-African allies - Kingdom ofSwaziland, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Republic of Malawi, Republic of Gambia, all places with official diplomatic links to Taiwan (unlike many allegedly exemplary democracies). Taiwan has links in "agriculture, healthcare, technology and handicrafts" with these regions and "offers opportunities for African youth to study here on the Taiwan Scholarship." The meeting was the product of thoughts between officials two years ago and had the intention of increasing communication, solidifying ties, and showing "how different Taiwan is from China, " according to James C.F. Huang, Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs. " We help African countries the way people help their friends, while China's huge investments in Africa are overly focused on...rich natural resources." In this photo, Taipei 101 and Taiwan support their love for Africa. Quotes taken from Taiwan News, Sunday, Sept. 9****ORIENTATION:
Not a lot of photos during this expedition, but a whole lot of hand-shaking, self-introducing, and meeting and greeting. We spent the weekend in Taipei at the 2007-2008 Fulbright Orientation.
Now, wondering "orientation? but he's been there a month? what's the lazy guy been up to?" Truth is, the group of us 12 ETAs have been orientated left and right, inside out, and outside in for the past month and a half. There was a process for orientating us to Taiwan. Then to Yilan, then to the Educational System, then to Teaching, then to our Co-Teachers, then to our School Cultures and Final Residency Placements...so on. We know a surprising bit about how to navigate and live in Taiwan. We all have bank accounts, Alien Resident Cards (IDs), mobile phones and Taiwan SIM cards, Scooter Licences, some with scooters and insurance, billz to pay, jobs in the community at public schools, friends and family friends in town, etc. We've been around a bit, too: Turtle Island, Keelung for the Ghost Fest, Taipei a few times, Su-Ao Cold Springs, Fulong Beach, etc. - more traveling than a lot of residents do in a year, and we've got it pegged in a month. We are oriented.
This orientation was for all the previously residing and recently arriving Fulbright grantees in the other categories. There are a number of Student Grantees doing research, and a number of professors doing work, lecturing, studying, and so on. The crowd and company were great. A lot of amazing minds. For example: Study of Confucian Analects and ritual in philosophy to show how philosophy is implemented and meaningful, Relationship between Buddhism and Science (for possible comparison to the debates between Western science and religion), Studies of the Occupational Health System, Comparative Lit Studies: Poet Wang Wei and Dante on Ultimate Reality, etc. Great things will be done this year.
This, to some, might have been an intimidating environment. Wasn't at all. In fact, we all felt very welcome and met some wonderful people. It helped as well that we had been so effectively bludgeoned by orientations beforehand, as we had some pertinent cultural and practical advice to some of these big dogs.
These were all wonderful people, and I hope to get to know more as time goes on.
Here are just a couple of shots:
****At the train station, fake trains painted on the walls behind****
****Dr. Wu - Amazing man heading the Foundation. Knowledgeable, Experienced, Straightforward, Humble, Funny, Hospitable...seems to be no end. Famous in Taiwan, as well. Expert Psychologist and Famous Performer. Couldn't be in better hands.****
****Jerry is in charge of media for the Foundation. Insta-friend****
****One small part of a buffet dinner. Shann Garden had a lot too offer, and I tried it all. This was my first time eating raw oysters of this size. Would do it again, but only to impress****
****MRT Station Halo 3 Convention****
****Steinback in Taiwan - Would love to see this****
****Curry Restaurant for Lunch****