Two distinguished guests praised NTU for its past achievements in education and expressed hopes to work closely with NTU in making continual contribution to the sustained development of mankind
To demonstrate NTU's determination to pursue excellence and to march into the international arena, and to celebrate NTU's 80th founding anniversary on an expanded scale, NTU's Office of International Affairs invited honored guests from 37 universities in 13 foreign countries to participate in the University's anniversary celebration ceremony. These honored guests included 19 foreign university presidents, 14 vice presidents, 23 directors of international affairs and 24 members in the entourage, comprising a total of 80 people. Dr. Matthias Winiger, Rector of Bonn University of Germany, and Dr. Hiroshi Masumoto, President of Kyoto University of Japan, were invited to give speeches at the celebration ceremony held in the morning of November 15th in the Sports Center. These two university presidents brought well wishes from the West and the East, and expressed their desire to embark upon more diversified international cooperation with NTU in the future.
Dr. Masumoto opened his remarks by a brief sentence in Chinese. He said: "Good morning, everyone. I am Hiroshi Matsumoto from Kyoto University."Then he went on to praise the proud achievements of NTU since its founding in 1928. In conclusion, he expressed his wish that Kyoto University could work with NTU in making more contributions to the sustained development of mankind in the 21st century.
In his speech, Dr. Winiger maintained that, NTU's goal to be ranked upon the top 100 universities in the world was in keeping with the Chinese proverb which said "it takes ten years to grow a tree, and one hundred years to nurture a talent." By the same token, he thought that when NTU celebrates its 100th birthday, the University would become one of the great universities in the world, as it often took a university a hundred years to achieve this goal. While lauding NTU's efforts in providing quality higher education, Dr. Winiger also extended congratulations to the University on behalf of the universities in Europe.
Another special feature of this year's anniversary celebration was that elderly alumni who are above eighty years of age were invited to return to their alma mater. In addition, more than 100 members of alumni associations from Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, New York, Southern California, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and the City of Taichung attended the ceremony.
Dr. Tung Shen, Director of the Office of International Affairs, wrote an article on how the international academic circle actively participated in NTU's 80th anniversary celebrations. Here is her article:
As Taiwan's oldest university, NTU has been actively promoting its academic diplomacy, as of now the University has formed sister school relations with 279 universities worldwide, including such famous universities as Oxford and University of Tokyo. Overall NTU has signed a total of 385 contracts with internationally renowned universities, and implemented 144 student exchange programs with them. In recent years, with the funding from Ministry of Education's "Aim for Top University" Program, NTU has made remarkable achievements in its teaching and research. In Shanghai Jiao-tong University's Global University Rankings released this year, NTU was ranked as the top university on both sides of the Taiwan Strait (including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau). The 7th Conference of Asian University Presidents (CAPs) was concurrently held at NTU along with the University's anniversary celebrations. CAPs is an international organization initiated by the Kyushu University of Japan, attended by presidents of Asian universities. At present, NTU is a member of the Oversight Committee of CAPs, so in this capacity NTU acquired the rights to host its 7th Conference. The reason that NTU hosted the CAPs Conference at a time when it celebrated its 80th founding anniversary and invited international guests on an expanded scale was because on the one hand, NTU has obtained enough international reputation and strength to attract the foreign visitors, and, on the other, NTU wanted to capitalize on this opportunity to demonstrate its determination to pursue academic excellence and to march into the international arena.
Over the past two years NTU devoted considerable efforts to expanding its relations with Southeast Asian countries. Southeast Asia ASAIHL(The Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning) is the recognized organization for university level academic exchange. Founded by the King of Thailand in 1956, ASAIHL is a peripheral organization of ASEAN's 10 + 3 nations. NTU became an official member in 2006, and was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2007. In addition, NTU obtained the rights to host the annual conference and the Board of Trustees Meeting of ASAIHL for the year 2010. To date, NTU is the only university from Taiwan to participate in ASAIHL, and its official title is "National Taiwan University of the Republic of China."
These hard-earned breakthroughs attest to the fact that NTU has established an important foothold in academic diplomacy in relation to the ASEAN members. Many members of ASAIHL came to Taiwan in November to participate in NTU's 80th anniversary celebration, including representatives from Thailand's Chulalongkorn University, Mahidol University, and Thammasat University, and the President of AIT（Asian Institute of Technology）, who currently serves as the Head of the International Secretariat of ASAIHL. In addition, important universities of Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines also sent their presidents to NTU. Where Europe and America are concerned, NTU had the honor to entertain the Vice President of Oxford University, the Rector of Bonn University, and the Dean of the University of Illinois.
Capitalizing on the occasion of its 80th founding anniversary, NTU invited many presidents and administrative heads of internationally renowned universities to come to Taipei. The major purpose in so doing is to display the University's achievements in globalization, and to demonstrate NTU's aspiration in becoming one of the top 100 universities in the world. In the area of academic diplomacy, what is remarkable about NTU is not the fact that NTU has many sister schools, or that its number of foreign students tops the nation, but rather that it participates in many international organizations such as CAPs and ASAIHL. Being able to join such organizations allows NTU to stand on an equal footing with many top universities in the world, and to engage in teaching and learning cooperation programs with them. For many years, NTU not only actively participates in the operations of these international organizations, but also introduces other universities from Taiwan to join them as a gesture of goodwill and magnanimity. In a way, academic diplomacy is like the diplomatic endeavor of a nation, much of it hinges upon the accumulation of experience and interpersonal relationships.
The 80th anniversary of the founding of NTU is an important milestone in the development of international affairs at NTU, we at the Office of International Affairs shall continue our assiduous efforts from the vantage point of the development of higher education in Taiwan, in the hope that this eighty years old university will soon become one of the top 100 universities in the world.