I’d like to begin with a round of deep gratitude and thanks for our many participants who are here at this conference today, from the staff, faculty, and students who have spent many sleepless nights organizing this conference, to members of the audience who are here today. I’d also like to extend a special round of thanks to our guests who have graciously accepted our invitations to attend this conference, all of whom are distinguished scholars from across the Asia-Pacific region. Our guests include Professor Woosang Kim from Yonsei University, Professor Harry Harding from the University of Virginia, Professor Shirley Syaru Lin from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor M. Shamsul Haque from the National University of Singapore, Professor Evan Berman from the Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Alexander Tan from the University of Canterbury, Doctor Huong Le Thu from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Professor Patrick Mendis from Harvard University, Professor Sang-Chul Park from the Korea Polytechnic University, and Doctor Santanu Sarkar from the XLRI Xavier School of Management.
We also have several of our very own NCCU guests. Professor Michael Hsin-Huang Hsiao is from the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and is also the chairman of the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, and a distinguished research fellow at the Academia Sinica. Professor Liu Fu-kuo is the executive director of the Taiwan Center for Security Studies. Professor Kerry Gershaneck has been with us for the past year in the Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies.
Last but certainly not least, I’d like to give a special thank you to Director William Brent Christensen from the American Institute in Taiwan, who has taken time out of his tremendously hectic schedule to be here at our humble conference.
Here at the heart of Asia, what has been called the “Asian Century” has been keenly felt in Taiwan, and certainly at the National Chengchi University. The NCCU represents the dedication of Taiwan’s educational assets to assist leaders of the Asia-Pacific in facing the challenges of today and tomorrow, and to equip the next generation of leaders with the knowledge and capabilities to solve future problems. With us are not only a distinguished roster of renowned scholars, but also the brilliant young minds to discuss these issues and to shoulder the burdens of solution-making for these dilemmas in Asia. This conference, too, coincides with the 10th anniversary of our International Doctoral Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, which is hosting this conference today. It is through these English Taught Programs for international students and this conference that they have organized that we engage with the scholarship of the Asia-Pacific. We will spend the next two days examining the Asia-Pacific region through five themes that reflect the challenges it faces: “Democracy and Governance Innovation”, “Regional Economic Integration”, “Social and Cultural Flow”, “Globalization and Civil Society”, and “Regional Powers and Security”.
This conference would not be possible without the support from our sponsors: The Ministry of Education of the Republic of China, the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the Department of Information and Tourism, Taiwan 2.0, and – of course – the National Chengchi University. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment and support to what we’re doing here today.
Lastly, I would like to thank our new president of the NCCU, Professor Kuo Ming-cheng, who previously served as the dean of our College of Law. As a matter of fact, he has started his four-year term as president of the NCCU only last Friday. He has put forth a guiding strategy for the NCCU that capitalizes on the forces of globalization, the emphasis on social and cultural contributions, and cooperation with the government and all sectors of societies. It is this guiding principle that lies at the heart of this conference. I would like to thank him for the support he has provided for this conference, and wish him good fortune and smooth sailing throughout his term as president of the NCCU.
Once again, it is my honor to welcome you here, and I hope you will enjoy this great conference we have organized. Just as the IDAS program has been here at the NCCU for a decade, so too do we here look forward the next decade and beyond. I thank all of you for being here today, and look forward to the discussions you will have with each other one some of the greatest problems of our time.