Taiwanese students to visit Indonesia, New Zealand as teen diplomatic envoys

Foreign ministry hopes students will acquire global insight through their trip to host nations

A group of 12 high school students will visit Indonesia and New Zealand on Jan. 30. (MOFA photo)

A group of 12 high school students will visit Indonesia and New Zealand on Jan. 30. (MOFA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A dozen Taiwanese high school students will set out on an 11-day trip to Indonesia and New Zealand as teenage diplomatic envoys for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Students from Wu-Ling Senior High School in Taoyuan, St. Dominic Catholic High School in Kaohsiung, and Ching Cheng High School in Changhua attended a flag presentation ceremony at the foreign ministry on Monday morning (Jan. 20). MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) gave the mandate to Wu Wen-ling (吳文齡), a senior MOFA official who will lead the students to the Pacific nations from Jan. 30 to Feb. 10.

Indonesia and New Zealand are important partner countries for Taiwan, said Ou. She added that she looked forward to seeing the teen diplomatic envoys give good performances and show the host nations Taiwan’s “soft power” and values, such as freedom and democracy.

Ou also said she hoped the young envoys would boost their global insight through interactions with their fellow students in Indonesia and New Zealand.

The 12 teens were selected this year from more than 400 students from 109 high schools. According to Ou, over 200 students have served in the role over the past 18 years, traveling to Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania since the inception of the program in 2002.

Aimee Jephson, deputy head of New Zealand’s Representative Office in Taiwan, and Fajar Nuradi, a senior official at the Indonesian Representative Office in Taiwan, also attended the flag-presentation ceremony on Monday to show their support.

MOFA said the teen diplomatic envoys would meet with representatives from political, economic, and cultural fields in the host nations. They will also visit local NGOs, schools, and overseas Taiwanese communities.

Jephson expressed words of welcome to the students for their upcoming trip to New Zealand. She added that people-to-people ties between Taiwan and New Zealand had been tightened following the launch of direct flights between Taipei and Auckland in 2018.

Nuradi said he looked forward to seeing the teens have a fruitful trip to Indonesia. Taiwan and Indonesia have had a substantive relationship over the years with increasing economic and social exchanges, he said.