University explores Taiwanese culture with exchange program

THE REPLICA of the Taiwan Kinmen Peace Bell sits on first floor of the Loyla Science Center. This was given to The Unviersity after its participation in Spotlight Taiwan last year. Photo by The Aquinas / Emma Black

THE REPLICA of the Taiwan Kinmen Peace Bell sits on first floor of the Loyla Science Center. This was given to The Unviersity after its participation in Spotlight Taiwan last year. Photo by The Aquinas / Emma Black

The University is one of 15 organizations in the world that has been chosen to participate in a program called Spotlight Taiwan for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The project, created by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, aims to bring examples of Taiwanese culture to various campuses and their local communities.
As noted on Spotlight Taiwan’s website, the program’s main goal is “to promote international cultural exchanges and cultivate a greater interest in and appreciation of Taiwan’s culture worldwide.”
The program recently awarded a grant of $100,000 to The University in hopes of spreading the program’s success throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. University President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., and Paul Wen-Liang Chang, director general of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, made an official agreement in August to begin the integration of Taiwanese film screenings, seminars, conferences and performances into the Scranton community.
This is the second consecutive year The University is participating, and all of the program-related events will be open to the public.
Throughout October and November, a film festival featuring the work of famous director Ang Lee is scheduled to take place.
In March, the Taipei Folk Dance Theater will be performing and organizing a workshop in the Scranton area, parallel with an international conference on Asian Studies.
In May, a replica of Taiwan’s Kinmen Peace Bell was presented to The University in a dedication ceremony to thank the school for its membership in Spotlight Taiwan as well as for promoting Taiwan through the Asian Studies program. The University is the first to have received this gift, which is temporarily located in the Loyola Science Center.
Here at The University, the Asian studies program “aims to provide students with the vital understanding of this culturally diverse and vibrant region of the world that includes China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, India and the Philippines.”
“I think this is an exciting opportunity for the university and the NEPA community. It complements and deepens our reflection on the university mission, particularly that of ‘to be in dialogue with culture’ and ‘to find God in all things,’ including cultures that are very different from ours,” said Ann Pang-White, Ph.D., director of the program and a philosophy professor at the university.

She feels that the Spotlight Taiwan project “will provide invaluable opportunities to our students and the community. The hope is that it will provide an important window for our exploration of world culturesand in turn to contribute to building a better and more caring global world.”
The integration of Taiwanese culture into our American culture will be a privilege here at The University, filled with new experiences and opportunities for students and the surrounding community alike.
The countless upcoming events will provide students with a true tast of what Taiwanese culture is all about.

 

By Breanna Forgione
News Correspondent

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