At the beginning of the new year, I extend warm greetings to all overseas compatriots invested in Taiwan's development. I offer my sincerest wishes for the well-being and safety of your families. It brings me great pleasure to acknowledge the collective efforts of the past year. Together, we confronted and overcome the multitude of challenges presented by the pandemic. This concerted efforts has led to the comprehensive restoration of our overseas compatriot works and domestic and global exchanges, propelling us towards a brand new era beyond the pandemic's grasp.
As the head of the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC), I would like to express my special gratitude to all compatriots for your concerted efforts and enthusiastic support. Your contributions have yielded fruitful results across various initiatives of the Council in the year 2023. In the coming year, the Council will persist in building upon these accomplishments, aiming to deliver even more exceptional services in response to the expectations of the overseas community. Below is an overview of the significant achievements of the past year that I am pleased to share with our global community.
Connecting Taiwan with Overseas Communities - Showcasing Taiwan's Soft Power to the World
Given the specific nature of the individuals receiving our services, in the past year, our team and I have been extensively traveling worldwide to better grasp the needs of those we serve and provide prompt responses. We have visited overseas schools, compatriot associations, and Taiwan Centers, engaging in various events arranged by Taiwanese business clubs. We have had numerous dialogues with esteemed overseas representatives, leaders of compatriot groups, educators, youth, and Taiwanese entrepreneurs, seeking to transcend the pandemic's shadow and foster deeper connections between Taiwan and the global compatriot communities.
I am profoundly grateful for the wholehearted support from our overseas compatriots. In advocating for Taiwan's international engagement, we have continuously voiced Taiwan's perspectives to global community.
In 2023, we hosted 147 events worldwide, drawing over 30,000 participants in support of Taiwan's role in the World Health Assembly (WHA). In North America alone, 46 series events of Taiwan can Help the UN were organized to bolster Taiwan's role in the United Nations (UN), amplifying Taiwan's global voice. Additionally, we facilitated visits by 25 overseas compatriot groups to Taiwan, enabling our compatriots to witness Taiwan's post-pandemic resurgence in political and economic resilience. During these visits, we communicated government policies and demonstrated our care for our compatriots abroad. Moving forward, our council is committed to consolidating our resources, aiming to provide enhanced services for our compatriots. We are poised to collaborate closely with the global Taiwanese community to jointly promote and showcase Taiwan's advantages.
Promoting Youth cultivation and Exchange Programs – Discovering brightest Youth Talents
To facilitate the sustainable development of overseas communities and help the younger generation understand overseas compatriot affairs, I prioritize the development of young talents in the overseas community. We have instituted diverse cultivation and exchange programs, including intensifying efforts to promote the Formosa Association of Student Culture Ambassadors (FASCA) - a professional training program for overseas youth and invited outstanding participants to return to Taiwan for the Senior FASCA Exchange Training Camp. We have also organized a symposium focusing on the work on compatriot associations for the youth in overseas communities, convened OCAC Summit of Global Compatriot Youth, and continued conducting the selection of Young Entrepreneur Stars. Through these multifaceted exchange initiatives, we encourage the emerging generation to engage in overseas compatriot affairs. We've identified 30 outstanding young entrepreneurs, ensuring the transmission of the legacies within the overseas compatriot community. Domestically, we've selected 64 college students to participate in the Taiwan Youth and Overseas Expatriate Bridging Program. The initiative seeks to deepen their understanding of the relevance of overseas compatriot affairs and foster fresh support for Taiwan, empowering our younger generation with the knowledge and advocacy needed to reinforce their understanding and backing for overseas compatriot affairs.
Leveraging Cultural Diversity - Strengths for Effective Mandarin Instruction
One of Taiwan's most potent strengths lies in its vibrant and diverse culture. Long recognized the inherent advantages of Taiwan's Mandarin teaching methodologies, we have been consistently promoting the Overseas Mandarin Learning Cultivation Program. By the end of 2023, we successfully established 66 Taiwan Centers for Mandarin Learning (TCML), with an additional 21 centers scheduled to commence operations in 2024. In our endeavor to foster the growth of overseas schools and Taiwan centers worldwide, we've conducted a diverse array of training sessions for teachers in overseas schools, TCML programs and online seminars for adult Mandarin instruction. Moreover, we've distributed around 730,000 self-authored teaching materials to 562 overseas schools across 30 countries, nurturing deep local connections within the global network of Mandarin education for overseas compatriots. Additionally, in 2023, to highlight and promote Taiwan's advantageous industries on the global stage, we continued our commitment by hosting the Mandarin Teaching International Summit. This platform brought together 15 domestic Mandarin smart education enterprises to exhibit their expertise. Our goal is to combine Taiwan's teaching strengths, showcasing the distinctive richness of Taiwanese Mandarin, and facilitating dialogues and exchanges with more foreign friends and overseas compatriots.
Assisting Overseas Taiwanese Businesses in Transition - Creating More Business Opportunities
To connect the vast overseas communities worldwide and promote Taiwan's industrial advantages, we continue to serve as a pivotal intermediary, facilitating exchanges and collaborations between Taiwan's government, academia, industry, and the overseas compatriot communities. In 2023, we invited 424 overseas Taiwanese business leaders to Taiwan for visits and study programs. Furthermore, in line with international economic trends, such as net-zero carbon emissions, we have initiated proactive measures to address industries transitioning. These initiatives include organizing a series of seminars on innovative trends in plastic products in a low-carbon economy in Southern Africa and conducting six symposiums in five countries in line with Taiwan's New Southbound Policy. We have also facilitated the establishment of the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Service Corporation Association by Taiwanese businesses in Vietnam and Thailand, fostering cooperation by signing MOUs, and fully implementing the investigation project to support industrial upgrades. Significantly, last year marked the inaugural Overseas Taiwanese Business Net-Zero Emissions Seminar, which assisted overseas Taiwanese enterprises in aligning with the government's Net-Zero by 2050 sustainable development goals.
Looking ahead to the coming year, we are committed to intensifying our efforts. we aim to intensify our efforts further. We plan to hold an ESG Sustainability Seminar in April and May. Additionally, in July, we will welcome a global young entrepreneur delegation, providing them with opportunities to engage with Taiwan's domestic academia and industry and collectively cultivating new business prospects.
Attracting Overseas Youth for Studies and Employment in Taiwan - Facilitating Experience and Knowledge Transfer
To align with the government's population policy and create opportunities for outstanding talents within the domestic industry and overseas compatriot students, we have been devoted to assisting in talent recruitment, cultivation, and retention. We support overseas compatriot students in completing their studies and pursuing further education in Taiwan. Through initiatives such as the Industry-Academia Collaboration Program and Overseas Youth Vocational Training Program, we have actively recruited students from abroad. In 2023, the Industry-Academia Collaboration Program witnessed a record high with 4,512 applicants. Moreover, the Overseas Youth Vocational Training Program has transitioned its educational framework and saw a notable surge in enrollment from 90 students in 2022 to 417 students, positioning it as the upcoming vocational education program. To facilitate the employment of overseas compatriot students in Taiwan, we have closely coordinated across ministries, gradually easing relevant regulations. We established the i Compatriot - Global Overseas Compatriot Talent Platform offering multilingual versions tailored for students from different countries. Through its job matching feature, the platform provides information on jobs in Taiwan and offers online resume consultancy, not only retaining exceptional overseas compatriot talents sought by local businesses but also assisting graduating students in aligning their career interests and expertise, thus providing a stage for their personal career development.
Overseas Compatriot Communities Unite: Advancing Together in 2024
The steadfast support and active engagement of the worldwide overseas compatriot community have played a crucial role in advancing our council's diverse initiatives seamlessly. Particularly, in recent times, our efforts have been directed toward the promotion of significant policies such as the expansion of Taiwan Centers, enhancing the number of overseas compatriot students, and nurturing outstanding young talents within the compatriot communities. Collaborating with the global compatriot community is crucial to collectively showcasing Taiwan's strengths.
We are grateful to the global compatriots who not only engage in public affairs within their respective residing countries but also generously contribute valuable insights for Taiwan's progress. The active participation by nearly 200 representatives from the global compatriot community in the 2023 General Assembly of Council Members, Overseas Community Affairs Council, the enthusiastic involvement of over 4,000 compatriots in the National Day celebrations, and the record-high number of overseas compatriot youth returning to Taiwan for English service camps, all indicate the restoration of robust international exchanges akin to the pre-pandemic era. Moreover, the growing interest and engagement of more compatriot youth in compatriot affairs signal promising prospects for the future development in this field.
We look forward to, we are committed to uniting overseas compatriot communities for advancement together in 2024. We will persist in understanding the genuine needs of overseas compatriots, continuously reviewing existing policies, and harnessing the abundant compatriot resources globally to collectively promote the development of both the global compatriot community and Taiwan. We earnestly hope that all compatriot friends will continue your unwavering support and love for the ROC (Taiwan) in the upcoming year, upholding the values of freedom, democracy, and sustainable development in Taiwan. Once again, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the global compatriots for the support in the past year and wish all compatriots, both at home and abroad, success, good health, and peace in all your endeavors.