Training Talent for the Future

The Pacific Islands Leadership Program

2019 / January

Chen Chun-fang /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Geof Aberhart

Located in the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan shares that ocean’s precious marine resources with other island nations, as well as facing the shared threat of climate change and rising sea levels. Through the Pacific Islands Leadership Program, Taiwan is working to train a new cohort of leaders for this future, giving a precious gift to the next generation.

In the autumn of 2018, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed a group of 22 leadership fellows from 12 Pacific nations, including the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Palau and Tuvalu. They were in Taiwan to take part in the six-week Pacific Islands Leader­ship Program with Taiwan (PILP).

Connecting with the world

At the suggestion of the US Congress, the Hawaii-based East‡West Center signed a memor­andum of understanding with Taiwan in 2012 to jointly run the PILP between 2013 and 2017. Over the course of those five years, the program trained some 122 fellows from various Pacific nations. At the closing ceremony for the 2017 program, the two sides renewed the agreement for a second round, with “Generation 6” scheduled for 2018.

The training program is divided into two phases, the first of which is undertaken at the East‡West Center in Hawaii and focuses on leadership skills and team building. The second phase sees the participants move over to Taiwan.

Hosted by the Institute of Diplomacy and Inter­national Affairs (IDIA) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the program deals with issues around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other issues relevant to island nations. Their work covers climate change, environmental protection, green energy, cultural preservation, and more.

While Taiwan may not be a member of the United Nations, the country has nonetheless taken a great inter­est in the SDGs, which cover areas from the elimination of poverty and hunger to achieving food security, improv­ing nutrition, and promoting sustainable agri­culture. On some goals Taiwan has even outpaced many actual UN members, such as in the areas of women’s rights and gender equality.

In 2015, Taiwan would have ranked first in Asia and ninth in the world in terms of equality by the standards of the UN Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index (GII). As part of the PILP program, the IDIA arranged for the fellows to visit the Taiwan Women’s Center, run by the Foundation for Women’s Rights Promo­tion and Development.

The center gave the fellows a rundown on legislation such as the Act of Gender Equality in Employment and the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act, explaining how after Taiwan signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (­CEDAW) in 2007, the country then worked to internalize it as law by 2011. Vice-director Sunny ­Huang also shared that despite Taiwan’s sensitive position in the inter­national space, all manner of women’s groups nonetheless take active part in international conferences, sharing Taiwan’s achievements and experiences in gender equality and convincing many to speak up for Taiwan.

Sarah Kaut-Nasengom, a research project officer from Papua New Guinea’s National Research Institute, is a specialist in gender issues. The challenges Taiwan has faced in promoting gender equality, she says, have been similar to those faced by PNG, so she has shared contact information with foundation personnel in the hope of staying in touch after she heads home and getting more information on women’s issues in Taiwan.

All Taiwan their classroom

Starting in 2018, the second, Taiwan-based phase of the PILP has grown from four weeks to six, with the IDIA adding a number of field trips. Among these was a visit to the Council of Agriculture, where the fellows were intro­duced to Taiwan’s agricultural and fisheries policy. From there, they headed to the Fisheries Research Institute and an agri­cultural improvement station to see the results of these organizations’ research. Finally, they visited private organic farms and aqua­culture operations to meet face to face with people on the front lines. “We could really see how absorbed in it all they were by their enthusiasm and the in-depth nature of their questions,” says the group leader, Ambas­sador Victor J. Chin.

Over the course of their six weeks, the fellows traveled practically the length and breadth of Taiwan, from checking out art at Kao­hsiung’s Pier-2 Art Center to learning about Taiwan’s conservation of marine resources at the National Museum of Marine Science & Technology in Kee­lung. Energy problems are another issue of concern to many island countries, and the PILP not only included seminars on the green energy industry in Taiwan, but also visits to related companies in Tao­yuan.

With fast fashion so popular in contemporary society, we are seeing a consequent exacerbation of problems of overconsumption and resource wastage. Charles Y. ­Huang, chairman of the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, was invited to give a talk, sharing with the fellows his experi­ence with the concept of the circular economy. As an example, ­Huang discussed jeans rental stores that can be found in Europe, where consumers can have jeans to wear without having to buy them. When the jeans are worn out and unwearable, textile technology can process them into yarn from which new denim can be made, creating new jeans that can then be rented by new customers—a concrete realization of the idea of the circular economy. “I will go back, I will try and implement laws and implement policies… that will encourage education at a young age, encourage them to have that mindset that they do not need to own things, they just need to possess things,” says Tuvaluan fellow Melissa Ako.

Expanding horizons and training talent

Taiwan is home to over 90,000 non-governmental organizations, covering areas as diverse as education, the environment, medicine, and agriculture. This year’s NGO Forum, a first for the program, saw the PILP fellows exposed to the experience and enthusiasm of six of these, namely the Noord­hoff Craniofacial Foundation, the Tzu Chi Foundation, Vision Youth­Action, the Chinese Wild Bird Federation, the Tse-Xin Organic Agri­culture Foundation, and the Taipei Zoological Foundation.

Jade Cruz, of Palau, shares that prior to coming to Taiwan, she had never thought about getting involved with agriculture. Through the PILP, though, she has gained an understanding of the development of organic agriculture in Taiwan and seen how the country is working to protect the environment. Now she hopes to take that know­ledge back to Palau and begin focusing on agricultural and food safety issues there.

Philippe Lemonnier, a leadership education teaching assistant from the East‡West Center, accompanied the group to Taiwan. Coming here has opened the eyes of many of the fellows, he says, showing them that they can do more and do things differently. Their experience in Taiwan will inform their postgraduate studies in their home countries, and many of them will go on to start companies or NGOs of their own, all because they came to Taiwan.

Lori Concepcion, also of the East‡West Center, shares that “one of the Generation 4 PILP fellows actually started a project to help women in their home community after they went back to their country.” In such ways, the fellows are able to take what they learn in Taiwan and make a real difference.

Lemonnier, himself a Generation 2 fellow, says his life changed through his participation in the PILP. Originally a lawyer, his four weeks in Taiwan opened his eyes to new possibilities. After returning to French Polynesia he launched TEDxPapeete, bringing exciting speeches to his home city. He has also set up an enterprise named Pacific Ventury, using classes and workshops to help companies and individuals find their true passions, boost their leader­ship skills, tap into their potential, and prepare for the challenges of the future.

Vice President Chen ­Chien-jen also personally met with this year’s fellows, saying, “Through cooperation, we can come together to address the pressing challenges of the times, like climate change, sustainable development, environmental protection, and clean energy. To truly meet these challenges, we need to train outstanding leaders…. Only with leaders ready for the future will we be able to strike a balance between local values and the needs of modern society.” We hope that with vision and wisdom, these leaders of the future will lead the peoples of the Pacific, and of the world, toward a brighter future.

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文・陳群芳 写真・莊坤儒 翻訳・山口 雪菜











パプアニューギニアから来訪したSarah Kaut-Nasengonさんは同国国立研究院の研究員で、ジェンダー問題を専門としているが、台湾がジェンダー政策を推進する上で直面した課題は同国のそれと似ており、非常に興味深いと語った。彼女は帰国後も基金会と連絡を取り合い、台湾からより多くの情報を得たいと考えている。





また、過度の消費と資源浪費の問題について、台湾糖業の黄育徴董事長が循環経済に関する講義を行なった。生産、消費、廃棄という一般の経済モデルをいかに転換し、テクノロジーを用いて資源を循環再利用し、資源の持続可能性を確保するか。黄董事長はヨーロッパに出現したジーンズのレンタルショップを例に挙げた。自分が着る服を必ずしも所有する必要はないのである。またジーンズが傷んだら、技術でそれを繊維化すれば再び布地にでき、それをレンタルすることで循環経済が実現できる。ツバルから来たMelissa Akoさんは「この概念を持ち帰り、若者たちに『本当に全てを所有する必要があるのか』と問いかけたいと思います」と話した。


台湾では、教育や医療、環境、農業などさまざまな分野のNGOが9万団体以上活躍しており、世界各地での活動や交流を通して台湾の経験と技術を伝え広めている。そこで今回のプログラムではNGOフォーラムを開催した。外交部NGO国際事務会が連絡を取り、羅慧夫顱顔基金会、慈済基金会、願景青年行動網協会、中華民国野鳥協会、慈心有機農業発展基金会、そして動物園保育基金会の6つのNGOを招き、メンバーと熱心に経験を分かち合った。パラオから来たJade Cruzさんは、台湾に来る前は自分が農業に参加するとは考えてもいなかったが、このカリキュラムで台湾の有機農業の発展や環境保護への努力に触れ、これらの情報を母国に持ち帰り、農業や食の安全に関心を寄せていきたいと考えを語った。

このプログラムで重視されるのは、個人の能力よりも、自分の暮らす町や国家、民族、さらには世界を成長させる能力の向上である。ハワイから随行してきたイースト・ウエスト・センターのアシスタント教員Philippe Lemonnier氏によると、多くのメンバーは台湾で視野を広げ、自分にはもっと多くのことができることに気付かされると言う。彼らは台湾の経験をもって帰国後に修士や博士の学位を取り、それから企業やNGOを立ち上げる人もいる。いずれも台湾に来たことがきっかけで行動を始めているのである。

イースト・ウエスト・センター教育部門の計画員であるLori Concepcion氏もこう話す。「第4回のプログラムに参加した人の中には、帰国後に自分の住む地域で女性をサポートするプランを実施し始めた人もいます」。台湾で学んだことが実質的な影響力をもたらしているのである。

第2回のプログラムに参加したPhilippeさんは、この太平洋島嶼国青年リーダー育成プログラムに参加したことで人生が大きく変わった。彼はもともと弁護士だったが、台湾での4週間のカリキュラムがその視野を大きく広げた。帰国後に彼はTED×Papeeteというプラットフォームを立ち上げて母国の人々を鼓舞する多くの講演会を開き、今はPacific Venturyという会社を経営している。企業や個人を対象に、生活への情熱を見出し、リーダーシップや潜在能力を向上させるさまざまなカリキュラムやワークショップを提供し、将来の課題に挑む準備をしている。




文‧陳群芳 圖‧莊坤儒 翻譯‧








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來自巴布亞紐幾內亞的Sarah Kaut-Nasengom是巴紐國家研究院研究員,專研性別議題。她表示台灣在性別政策推動上遇到的挑戰和巴紐相似,讓她對台灣的性別議題非常感興趣,所以她和基金會人員交換名片,希望回國後能保持聯繫,獲得更多台灣在婦權議題上的資訊。





面對當今社會流行的快時尚,延伸出過度消費與資源浪費的問題。台糖董事長黃育徵受邀講課,和學員們分享循環經濟的理念。一般人常見的資源生產、消費、丟棄的線性經濟模式,如何透過科技將資源循環再用,讓自然資源永續,黃育徵舉例,歐洲已有牛仔褲租借店,消費者只要租借就能達到穿著牛仔褲的目的,不需要真的擁有。而且當牛仔褲破舊損壞無法穿著時,透過紡織技術將舊牛仔褲處理成紗線,再將重獲新生的紗線製成牛仔褲或丹寧布,再回到服飾店內供客人租借,成為循環經濟的具體實踐。「這個概念讓我思考,也想帶回家和年輕世代分享,『我們是否真的需要擁有全部的東西?』」來自吐瓦魯的學員Melissa Ako表示。



大部分的學員都對台灣在國際上的醫療援助、人道關懷不陌生,但他們並不知道台灣在有機農業、環境保護、動物保育這些方面,也有蓬勃發展的NGO組織。來自帛琉的Jade Cruz就分享道,她來台灣之前從沒想過要參與農業,但在培訓課程裡了解台灣有機農業的發展,還有對環境保護所做的努力,讓她想將有機農業的訊息帶回家鄉,並開始關注農業、食品安全的議題。

不同於一般培訓計畫,多強調個人能力的提升,太平洋島國青年領袖培訓計畫強調的是能為自己的城市、國家、民族甚至是世界帶來成長與幫助。夏威夷東西中心派赴來台的隨團助教Philippe Lemonnier就提到,許多學員來台灣打開了眼界,他們知道自己可以做的更多、更不一樣 ,在台灣的經驗協助他們回國後取得碩士、博士學位,有些人因而創業或是成立NGO,他們都是因為來過台灣而開始有所行動。

東西中心教育處助理計畫員Lori Con­cep­cion也分享:「有位參與第四屆太平洋島國青年培訓計畫的學員,回國後實際在自己的社區進行一個協助女性的計畫。」將他在台灣所學化為實質影響力。

曾是第二屆學員的Philippe,就是因為參加太平洋島國青年領袖培訓計畫而有了不一樣的人生。原本是律師的他,在台灣4週的課程更開拓了他的視野。回國後他建立了TED×Papeete平台,為家鄉帶來許多振奮人心的演講。現在他還創業成立「Pacific Ventury」,透過各種課程規劃及工作坊,幫助企業或個人找到生活的熱情,提升領導力與潛能發展,做好迎接未來挑戰的準備。


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