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NTU President Lee Attends Successful 2nd Cross-Strait University Presidents Forum in Xiamen, China

NTU President Si-chen Lee, accompanied by Dean of International Affairs Tung Shen, attended the Second Cross-Strait University Presidents Forum at Xiamen University in China on September 6 and 7, where he presented a speech entitled "A Retrospective of Cross-Strait Higher Education Exchanges and an Outlook for the Future--An Examination Centered on National Taiwan University." The forum brought together university presidents and vice presidents from 54 universities in China and 36 universities in Taiwan, achieving an unprecedented scale for an event of this type. In his speech, President Lee looked back at Taiwan's cross-strait educational exchanges beginning from the Ching Dynasty. He pointed out that it was the period from 1945 to 1949 when cross-strait higher-education exchanges occurred on their largest scale and had the greatest influence. Lee said NTU served as one of the major platforms for these exchanges and cited former NTU president Ssu-nien Fu and former NTU professors Chien-kung Wei, Yen-chou Hong, Hsiang-yu Su and Ching-nung Tai as important figures. He noted that whether they were among Taiwan's academic elite who were pursuing their educations in China or whether they were academic leaders born in China, they all arrived at NTU during this period. Their hard work changed the Japanese-language environment of Taihoku Imperial University, transforming the institution into National Taiwan University with its Mandarin Chinese-language environment. Looking to the future, President Lee stated that in today's globalized world, universities on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait face similar challenges. He raised as examples how the commercialization of higher education challenges the basic principles of operating a university and how having English as the primary language of international education forces Chinesespeaking universities to pay a higher price and work even harder to compete with institutions in Europe and North America. Lee said that, in confronting such challenges, there are many ways universities in Taiwan and China can encourage each other and work together. He stated that once Taiwan recognizes Chinese academic courses and degrees, there will inevitably be an influence on the movements of students on both sides of the Strait that will lead to greater awareness among younger generations of the current cross-strait situation. President Lee declared that NTU will continue to play a major role as a platform for exchanges and that it will continue as well to look with great optimism to the future of cross-strait higher-education exchanges. President Lee's speech drew a high-level of affirmation and enthusiastic responses from those in attendance, while the Chinese media devoted a significant amount of page space to reporting on his statements.

Another major goal of President Lee's trip to Xiamen was to participate in the founding ceremony for the Cross-Strait Gender Research and Education Cooperation Center and preside over the unveiling of its official plaque. NTU Department of History Prof. Wei-hong Lin and other scholars from Taiwan worked for many years with their Chinese counterparts at Xiamen University to open this center. It establishment stands as a major milestone for educational exchange between Taiwan and China.

Chinese version