TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Ju Tzong-Ching (朱宗慶), the founder and artistic director of the Ju Percussion Group, was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) Department of NGO International Affairs to give a speech on Thursday (Aug. 8) morning.
Ju spoke on the topic of "Making friends with the world through culture and art" in the fourth presentation of the series NGO talks. In the speech, Ju shared his experience in marketing Taiwan on the international stage through soft power, according to the event's Facebook page.
Ju believes that everyone, including individuals, groups, and countries, needs friends, with whom difficulties can often be overcome more easily. While cultural diplomacy can sound daunting, culture and art are powerful tools for making friends across the world, reported the Central News Agency (CNA).
Ju pointed out that culture and art can break through language and ethnic barriers to touch and inspire people who come from different backgrounds. Art in today's world is not only about creating but also stimulating innovation in all sectors, he said
Speaking on the roles culture and art play in society, Ju referred to culture as the spring of creativity, saying those who are curious in life can be moved by art. He also added that artists often find hidden beauty in life and that creating art is a way of expressing as well as thinking.
Ju also pointed out that it is very difficult to work in the cultural and artistic fields in Taiwan due to a lack of demand in the market, lamenting that few people truly understand the hard work that goes into all the wonderful performances on stage. According to National Theater and Concert Hall's statistics, those who attend performances 3 times per year can be counted as "heavy users" of art.
Ju is optimistic about Taiwan's culture and art, saying that "in comparison to other countries, Taiwan is strong in terms of the depth of its culture." Thanks to the support of the government, 20-30 of Taiwan's performance groups have stepped onto the international stage, a "great achievement for an Asian country."
Taiwan's unique environment provides excellent nutrition for culture and art, and the most important task for the performers is to keep creating outstanding shows to attract larger audiences, said Ju. He believes that there is still a lot of potential audience waiting to be introduced to good art.
Ju describes himself as an emotional person who is both creative and continually driven by his dreams. The 64-year-old said he often jokingly tells his friends that he will only retire when he stops breathing and that he hopes to live another 30 years of active life.
Ju's full speech can be viewed on the Department of NGO International Affairs' Facebook page.