Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan kicks off in Taipei

The Pacific Islands Leadership Program with Taiwan (PILP) kicked off Oct. 28 in Taipei City, underscoring the commitment of Taiwan, the U.S. and Pacific island nations to deepening cooperation and expanding exchanges.
Co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Hawaii-based East-West Center, PILP aims to bring participants up to speed on the latest political, economic, social and technological developments in Taiwan. This year’s edition involves 13 young professionals from eight countries such as allies Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.
MOFA Deputy Minister Hsu Szu-chien said during his opening ceremony address that PILP is a prime example of what can be achieved when Taiwan, the U.S. and Pacific island nations work together. Taiwan looks forward to sharing its successful experiences and collaborating with its like-minded partners in tackling global challenges such as climate change and energy shortages, he added.
According to Hsu, PILP is cultivating the leaders of tomorrow, and is one of the most important capacity-building programs in the region. It plays a pivotal role in developing practical solutions and raising awareness of how Taiwan and the Pacific island community are deeply linked through a shared Austronesian heritage, he said.
Brad Parker, political chief with the American Institute in Taiwan, said PILP is an outstanding platform for bringing together countries from across the Asia-Pacific and rest of the world. It fully demonstrates the willingness of Taiwan and the U.S. to work with the Pacific island nations, he added.
Before arriving in Taiwan, PILP participants spent four weeks attending courses at EWC. Activities scheduled during the six-week local leg include fact-finding visits to key central government agencies, field trips, seminars and workshops on topics spanning agriculture, climate change, disaster management, economic development, education, gender mainstreaming, health care, indigenous culture, green energy and environmental protection.
Participants will also visit some of Taiwan’s most popular attractions like Taipei City-based National Palace Museum, Longshan Temple and Taroko National Park.
PILP was proposed by Kurt Campbell, then assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in November 2011 and negotiated by Rajiv Shah, then administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, during a visit to Taiwan in December the same year.
The program was finalized under a five-year memorandum of understanding inked in December 2012 by the MOFA and EWC, with the two sides signing a follow-up agreement in 2017 extending the initiative for another five years. A total of 144 participants took part in the initiative through 2018. (Ray-E)
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