The establishment of the Taiwan Academy originates from the Republic of China President Ma Ying-Jeou’s cultural policy. Taiwan is the major Chinese cultural center where Confucianism, Buddhism, Zen, literature, architecture, arts and crafts, and traditional customs are promoted and preserved more completely as compared to the many regions influenced by Chinese culture. So far, a number of the Taiwan Academy Resource Centers have been established to disseminate information and organize seminars, workshops, and other activities that promote philosophy, literature, and arts. By doing so, the Taiwan Academy program hopes to enhance cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the international community.
Chinese culture has taken root and flourished in Taiwan. With a free and open society where diverse ethnic groups live in harmony, and with stable economic growth, Taiwan has developed a unique Chinese culture that incorporates distinctive features and values of Taiwanese culture.
The most prominent example of how Chinese culture has been preserved in Taiwan is the continual use of traditional Chinese characters. Understanding traditional Chinese characters, which have been used for over 3,000 years since the Shang Dynasty, are part and parcel of understanding Chinese culture. Home to the vast majority of traditional character users, Taiwan plays a significant role in preserving and promoting the use of traditional Chinese characters.
In academia, Taiwan’s academic and private organizations have never ceased to exert great effort into Taiwan Studies and Sinology Studies and conduct cultural exchanges with the international academia; the research quality enjoyed by Taiwan is comparable to that of the other nations.
Over the years, Taiwan has steadily progressed and developed its own uniqueness. In school and family education, Confucianism and moral principles are greatly emphasized. The arts in Taiwan — contemporary arts, ink-and-wash painting, music, dance, and theatre — reflect Taoist and Buddhist thinking while also embodying the spirit of modern Taiwan.
By fusing the contemporary with the classics in their works and performances, Taiwan’s artists have consistently received high international acclaim. In addition, the virtue of compassion and kindness practiced by the people in Taiwan leads to a large number of volunteers investing their time and effort into various social services. Taiwan has progressed and become actively involved in international humanitarian relief mission when catastrophe occurs.
Furthermore, Chinese traditional etiquette and customs have become the implicit social code that regulates the behaviors and logical thinking of people in their interaction with one another, and with nature and the spiritual world in the modern days. As shown, Chinese culture has been an integral part of the daily living practice of the people in Taiwan.
By building upon Taiwan’s unique features and strengths, and utilizing Taiwan’s advanced digital and information technology, the Taiwan Academy program focuses on three major aspects — teaching the Chinese language and the promotion of traditional Chinese characters; Taiwan studies and Sinology studies; and Taiwan’s diverse culture — to construct an integrated information platform that represent the unique characteristics of the Chinese culture.
The Taiwan Academy has also established several overseas branches that serve as an important medium for cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the international community. The Taiwan Academy is a platform where the international community can learn about the comprehensive development and accomplishment of Taiwan.
1. Establishing a Taiwan Academy digital information integration platform to serve the global internet users
With the instant and borderless features of the digital information platform, the virtual Taiwan Academy showcases Taiwan’s achievement on advanced software development, digital and information technology development, and the rich heritage of Chinese culture. The professional and informative digital database and portal integrated themes that include cultural exploration, Chinese language instruction, Sinology and Taiwan studies, and Taiwan archives. The virtual Taiwan Academy demonstrates Taiwan’s prowess as a creator of global technology and business endeavors, and provides a free platform for users around the world.
2. Promoting Mandarin Chinese instruction and traditional Chinese characters
Taiwan’s democracy is reflected in its Chinese-language teaching materials and teaching methods, which feature diversity, inclusiveness, and tolerance. These features are in sync with the world’s educational systems. Instruction using traditional characters helps the learners to better understand the cultural context. To popularize the use of traditional characters, the Taiwan Academy not only provides a high quality traditional Chinese-language online learning platform where self-learners and instructors can access innovative digital learning materials, the Academy’s centers around the world also cooperate with the local educational organizations to promote the training of the Chinese language instructors and curriculum development.
3. Invigorating the research of Taiwan Studies and Sinology and disseminating the results
The Taiwan Academy will use Taiwan’s knowledge and resources on Sinology study to integrate the research study results from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange and Taiwan’s universities to strengthen the ties with the academics of other nations. The Taiwan Academy will also collate the archives of Taiwan Studies and Sinology, set up an international information exchange platform for the studies, and host international academic exchanges, in the hope of becoming a major academic research center for Sinology and Taiwan Studies.
4. Managing scholarship programs
To enhance the global academic community’s understanding of Taiwan and stimulate research in Sinology and Taiwan Studies, the Taiwan Academy has offers information on nine scholarship awards sponsored by five Taiwan-based organizations. Scholarships such as the Mandarin Chinese Scholarship, Chinese Language Degree Scholarship, and Chinese Language Fellowship are set up to encourage students and scholars from foreign universities and research institutions to come to Taiwan to acquire a degree, engage in research, or study Mandarin Chinese.
5. Introducing Taiwan’s diverse and exquisite culture to the world
The Taiwan Academy plays an active role in promoting cultural exchanges, sharing Taiwan’s culture and developing friendships with the world. As a global citizen, Taiwan recognizes that cultural diversity is a common asset for humanity, and that international cultural interactions will lead to energetic development and revival of cultures. As such, Taiwan’s unique Chinese culture adds sparkles to the global cultural spectrum. In the future, the resource centers of the Taiwan Academy will hold hands-on cultural activities such as calligraphy and painting appreciation, floral arrangement, film lectures, and other artistic exhibitions and performances. By cooperating with local professional arts and educational organizations, the Taiwan Academy plans to offer high-quality art performances and educational activities to systematically introduce the various aspects of Taiwanese culture.
6. Establishing worldwide agencies and resource centers
In addition to e-learning, the Taiwan Academy will continue to set up physical locations in major cities of the world to connect with people of different cultural backgrounds. By offering the opportunities for people to participate in various cultural and academic exchanges and learning activities, the Taiwan Academy hopes to generate people’s interests in Taiwanese culture. With the assistance of the academic organizations that have had long-term cooperative relationship with the Academy, the Taiwan Academy will establish more resource centers to form a global network to provide useful information and promote meaningful cooperative projects.
The Taiwan Academy program was established in 2011 to mark the year when the Republic of China celebrated its 100th birthday. Therefore, the Taiwan Academy was especially established to showcase Taiwan’s unique Chinese culture and to declare the new roles Taiwan is to play in the world — a peace maker, a humanitarian relief provider, a cultural exchange promoter, a technology innovator and business developer, and a cultural pioneer.
The Taiwan Academy’s goal is to bring Chinese culture that features Taiwan’s unique characteristics to the world. With the help of advanced digital technology, the Taiwan Academy provides an immediate and boundary-breaking platform for people to learn about the culture. Through cultural interactions, Taiwan reveals its uniqueness to the world and joins the world in creating a new era of global peace and prosperity.