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In late April, ACYPL sent a delegation of seven to Taiwan, including a Mississippi State Legislator, two staff members of statewide elected officials, and the Executive Director of the Association of Justice in Seattle, Washington. For this exchange, ACYPL worked with our longtime partner, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO).
The program began in Washington with a briefing by officers from the Taiwan desk at the US Department of State to provide delegates with information about the US position on sovereignty issues between Taiwan and China. The briefing was followed by a lunch meeting with the entire North American TECRO team at their Twin Oaks Estate, which foreshadowed the high level of respect and courtesies the delegation would encounter during their stay in Taiwan. After lunch, the delegation met with a scholar from The Brookings Institution who provided further context and history of the relationship between China and Taiwan to prepare the delegation for a topic of conversation they encountered regularly while in Taiwan.
In Taipei, the agenda covered a wide range of topics based on the delegation’s interests. Importantly, they received a top to bottom overview of the Taiwanese legislative and political system that gave them with a strong understanding of the current political conversations in Taiwan. The visit to the Legislative Yuan was a highlight for the group, as they were able to meet with several legislators, as well as officials from the Environmental Protection Agency. Perhaps the most notable experience for the delegation was a half-day devoted to meeting with the three major political parties, the Democratic Progressive Party, Kuomintang Party, and the New Power Party. Unsurprisingly, several members of the delegation expressed that this was critical to understanding political landscape in Taiwan. One member of the delegation expressed her fascination with the parallels in political conversation between Taiwan and the US. She noted, “…it was really interesting learning that Taiwan is dealing with similar issues like what to do with monuments of the past that some people find offensive, whether to take them down or not, and economic worries over how to fund a generous retirement system, which is a problem we deal with in Mississippi.”
In addition to many informative political meetings the delegation covered in Taiwan, they also visited a Night Market, the National Palace Museum, and Taroko Natonal Park. Delegates on this exchange thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and ACYPL looks forward to its continued partnership with TECRO.